Smothered Chicken & Cheesy Potato Casserole
4-5 medium russet potatoes
1 10.75-oz. can condensed cheddar cheese soup* (such as Campbell’s)
1 1/4 cups milk
8-10 slices of bacon
8 chicken breast tenderloins (about 1.25-1.5 pounds)
4 ounces cheese**, shredded (about 1 cup)
Salt & pepper
Combine cheese soup and milk then whisk until smooth. Reserve 1 cup of cheese soup mixture and set aside to use later.
Wash and peel potatoes then cut into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick). Spray the bottom and sides of a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon 1/4 of the cheese soup mixture into the bottom of the dish. Add a single layer of potato slices. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. Spoon another 1/4 of soup mixture over potatoes. Repeat this process two more times so that you have three layers of potatoes topped with soup mixture. Don't forget to salt and pepper each layer of potatoes. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice bacon into 1/2-inch strips and cook in a skillet over medium-high heat until bacon is browned and crispy. Remove bacon pieces from skillet with a slotted spoon; set aside.
Season chicken tenderloins with salt and pepper (I actually used my Chicken Scratch seasoning) then sauté in bacon drippings over medium-high heat until lightly browned (we’re not trying to cook them through, just get a nice sear on each side); set aside.
Remove dish from oven and uncover. Arrange chicken tenderloins on top of potatoes and pour reserved cheese soup mixture over chicken. Cover tightly again and continue cooking for 30 more minutes.
Remove dish from oven and uncover. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over chicken and potatoes then top with bacon pieces. Return dish to oven and continue cooking, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
*NOTE FOR CANADIANS... Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup is totally different in Canada than it is in the US. I used it last week on vacation and was shocked at the difference. The colour (you like I spelled it like you do, right?), texture and flavour (and again) are different but it should still work. I just can't promise it will be as delicious. Boo. Yo, Campbell's, what's up with that??
**I used Monterrey Jack because I thought the white cheese would be a nice contrast to the cheddar soup mixture but feel free to use whatever's handy!
Stacey’s recipe calls for thinly sliced onions and I almost layered them with the potatoes but I let Brutus talk me out of it. Consider adding thinly slices onions to yours – I think it would be great!