Million Dollar Chicken Casserole

This recipe is an ode to my favorite southern staple: pimento cheese. Much like the beloved dip, each bite of the casserole combines the creaminess, cheesiness, spice, peppers, and even the crackers you eat it with.

Million Dollar Chicken Casserole
  • 4 ounces bacon (4 to 5 slices)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup large-curd cottage cheese
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Secret Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped jarred pimento peppers or roasted red peppers
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • A few grinds fresh black pepper
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
    1. Gather the ingredients. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F.
    2. Place the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until crisp, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve 1/4 cup of the bacon drippings, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for the baking dish.
    3. Combine the cream cheese, cottage cheese, cream of chicken soup, Secret Sauce, red pepper flakes, and pimento peppers in a large bowl. Mix well until combined.
    4. Stir the chicken into the mixture. Brush a 9-inch square baking dish with the reserved 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings.
    5. Place the crackers and cooled bacon in a large bowl, then use the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup to crush together into small pieces. Stir in the shredded cheese, a few grinds of black pepper, and the reserved 1/4 cup bacon drippings to combine.
    6. Sprinkle the cracker-bacon topping evenly over the chicken mixture in the baking dish. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
    7. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve garnished with scallions.
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