12 ounces egg noodles
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups half and half
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
4 ounces American cheese, chopped
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
25 Ritz crackers, crushed coarse
1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add noodles and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until just al dente, about 3-4 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water until cool, about 2 minutes. Drain again and set aside.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside. In now-empty pot, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in half and half and broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425*F. Remove pot from heat and stir American and cheddar cheeses into sauce until smooth. Stir noodles, bell pepper mixture, peas, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/4 teaspoons pepper into cheese sauce.
4. Top mixture with crushed crackers. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving.
This recipe is from Cook’s Country 2013. I admit, I didn’t actually get a chance to eat it since I noticed Ritz crackers have HFCS in them while I was making it and then I ran off to play trivia. I opted out of the leftovers due to the HFCS thing. Art and Lance both seemed to enjoy this dish, though, and all of the leftovers were eaten. I'm not sure it's worth it to find an HFCS-free cracker just to be able to make this again.