Last night our church had the Relief Society (the women's organization in our church) Christmas Party. I'm on the committee that plans these activities, so was privy to the menu. The main dish was a chicken cordon bleu casserole, which was both easy and delicious. It involves none of the cutting, filling, and wrapping that a traditional chicken cordon bleu entails, but still encompasses all the flavor and texture of the original. We served it with rice pilaf, steamed baby carrots and parsley, and dinner rolls. Give it a try!
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Chicken Tenders (enough to cover the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan, about 10)
Ham, sliced to 1/8", about 4-6 slices
Swiss or Muenster cheese, sliced 1/8" thick
1/2 cup cream or half-n-half
Thyme (fresh is best, leaves picked)
In a low flat dish (like a pie plate) crack 2 or 3 of the eggs and whisk until the whites and yolks are mixed. In another low flat dish put the breadcrumbs, reserving 1/4 cup for the topping. Grease a 9" x 13" pan.
Dip chicken tenders first into the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumb mixture. Place coated chicken in a single layer to cover the bottom of the pan. On top of the chicken place a layer of ham, covering chicken completely. On top of the ham make a layer of the cheese.
In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg and the cream or half-n-half. Pour the mixture over the chicken, ham, and cheese, letting it seep down to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs over top of the cheese, then sprinkle with fresh thyme. (Can be covered and refrigerated at this point until you are ready to bake it, up to 24 hours.)
Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F. Then turn on the broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly bubbly and the breadcrumbs are browned.