Nani’s Chinese Casserole

Another one of Nani’s standard casseroles from my childhood. Nani’s Chinese Hamburger Casserole was always a staple during our deer and elk hunting trips. Like any good casserole from the ’60’s, it gets its flavor from Campbell’s soup, specifically the Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup. It also works well, because it can easily be prepared ahead of time, refrigerated for up to a week and then reheated. Years later when I made this for my graduate school friends, it was a huge hit. My friend Liz was especially a huge fan, referring to it simply as “China Cass” and even requested it for the last meal I cooked for us before I moved to Orlando. In an effort to make a healthier version of the recipe, I replaced the ground beef with ground turkey, added more vegetables, and removed the Chicken and Rice condensed soup. I am including both recipes, so feel free to try both and decide for yourself which you prefer. I still eat both versions, it just depends if I’m looking for “full fat” or “low-fat” casserole.

The King's Low-Fat Chinese Casserole
The King’s Low-Fat Chinese Casserole

Nani’s Chinese Hamburger Casserole

A staple for deer and elk hunting trips. This is a hearty casserole that will give you the energy for a day full of hunting. After I discovered Sriracha, it quickly became an essential condiment for this casserole. This recipe is usually doubled for a bigger group. If the recipe is doubled be sure to increase the baking time by about 30 minutes.

  • 2 pounds hamburger, browned
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 stalks celery, halved and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Chicken and Rice Soup, undiluted
  • 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup, undiluted
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 3 cups crunchy chow mein noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown hamburger in a large pot, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add celery and onion and continue cooking until tender. Add soups and broth; mix ingredients. Add chow mein noodles and stir together. Remove from heat. Pour mixture into a lightly oiled casserole dish (approximately 9×13 size) and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until lightly browned on top and bubbly.

The King’s Low-Fat Chinese Casserole

In order to make a healthier option for this recipe, I replaced the ground beef with ground turkey, added carrots, increased the amount of vegetables, and removed one of the cans of condensed soup. I think it is just as delicious as the original recipe. This is also easily doubled for a larger group. If the recipe is doubled be sure to increase the baking time by about 30 minutes.

  • 2 1/2 pounds ground turkey, browned
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 stalks celery, halved and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, quartered, and chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup, undiluted
  • 14.5-ounce can low-fat chicken broth
  • 3 cups crunchy chow mein noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground turkey in a large pot and season with salt and pepper. Add celery, carrots, garlic, and onion. Continue cooking until tender. Add soup and broth; mix ingredients together. Add chow mein noodles and stir together. Pour mixture into a lightly oiled casserole dish (approximately 9×13 size) and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until lightly browned on top and bubbly.

The King’s Low-Fat Chinese Casserole with Sriracha
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