This recipe has been inducted into the “special-occasion” Hall of Fame. Yep. It is so creamy, cheesy, flavorful, and absolutely divine that my husband dubbed it a “special-occasion food.” It joins his other favorites: ribs, beef with snow peas, creamy chicken, and French dip. It is easy, but fancy!! For the record, we like mozzarella cheese better than Swiss at our house, so we used that in this recipe. Feel free to use whatever cheese suits you. I think it is the homemade cheese sauce that really takes this recipe from “normal everyday ho-hum dinner” to “Hall of Fame food.” I could eat the cheese sauce plain. In a bowl. With a spoon. No, wait! In a glass. Yep, I’d drink it. You get the idea . . . .
6 T butter, divided
1/4 frozen onion, grated (or 1/4 c chopped onion)
6 T flour
2 c chicken broth
3/4 c heavy cream
1/4 t ground mustard
2 c grated mozzarella or Swiss cheese
1/4 t salt
1/4 t fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 lbs. uncooked chicken tenders, pounded flat
10 oz. deli ham slices
4 slices bread, crumbed
Make cheese sauce by melting 4 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and continue to stir for 1 minute until golden. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and cream. Cook until thick and bubbly, 5 minutes or so, stirring often. Remove from heat. Add mustard and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Stir in salt and pepper.
Pour half of the cheese sauce into buttered 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with a single layer of chicken followed by a layer of ham slices. Pour remaining sauce over ham. Mix bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle on top of sauce. Bake at 400°F for 35-40 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown and sauce is bubbly.
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe