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Asparagus-Chicken Casserole (Makes 12 servings)

If asparagus and chicken sound like a wonderful combination and if you need an easy make-ahead entrée for a crowd, look no further. This recipe meets those qualifications and would be lovely served with assorted fresh fruit and attractive whole wheat rolls..

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen asparagus cuts or 2 pounds fresh asparagus, cut into inch long pieces or 1 quart home frozen asparagus cuts
2 cups dry egg noodles, cooked according to package directions, drain well
6 cups cooked, boned and diced chicken or turkey
1 (8-ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 (10 and 1/2-ounce) cans 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 cup light or regular mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Cook asparagus in boiling water just until tender. Drain well.

2. Arrange asparagus in 9x13-inch buttered casserole.

3. In large mixing bowl combine cooked noodles, chicken, mushrooms and water chestnuts.

4. In smaller mixing bowl, combine soup, mayonnaise and lemon juice.

5. Pour soup mixture over chicken mixture and thoroughly combine.

6. Carefully cover the asparagus with the chicken/soup mixture.

7. Toss together bread crumbs and shredded cheese Sprinkle over chicken.

8. Cover and refrigerate overnight, if you wish or bake immediately.

9. To bake, uncover and bake in preheated 350 degree oven 50-60 minutes until hot and bubbly. Garnish and serve.

Nutritional information per serving
343 calories, 13 grams fat, 26 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 78 milligrams cholesterol, 555 milligrams sodium