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Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole and Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

We get it, holiday cooking isn’t the easiest. Heck, cooking on a regular Tuesday isn’t the easiest but that’s where we come in. These two holiday recipes (a dinner and dessert, of course) will make your time in the kitchen a whole lot better. First up is a foolproof Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. Instead of wrapping the meat around the cheese in typical fashion, we layered all the ingredient in a Pyrex Deep baking dish to make the ultimate comfort casserole. And satisfy your sweet tooth with this Instant Pot Peppermint Bark Cheesecake for dessert. The homemade chocolate cookie crust is our favorite part, but the entire thing is truly *chef’s kiss*.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1½ cups whole milk

One 12-ounce can evaporated milk

8 ounces Swiss cheese, coarsely shredded

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ pound ham, diced

1 pound frozen broccoli florets

¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs

1 pound frozen chicken nuggets

Instant Pot Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

Prep: 30 min Cook: 25 min Total: 55 min

Crust

Cooking spray, as needed

15 mint flavored chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Filling

16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

½ teaspoon red gel food coloring

Topping

½ cup sour cream

½ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Peppermint bark, chopped, to garnish

Peppermint candies, crushed, to garnish

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

1. With a rack in the center position, preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the whole milk and evaporated milk and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Whisk until smooth.

4. Add the onion powder, mustard, garlic powder, black pepper, ham and broccoli to the cheese sauce and mix to combine. Transfer the ham and cheese mixture to a Pyrex Deep dish.

5. Scatter the breadcrumbs over the mixture, then arrange the frozen chicken nuggets on top. Bake until the nuggets are cooked through, golden brown and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes.

Instant Pot Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

1. Line the bottom of a 7.5-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray.

2. Make the Crust: Mix the crushed cookies, butter and salt in a small bowl until it’s the texture of wet sand. Transfer to the prepared pan and press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan. Chill the crust while making the filling.

3. Make the Filling: Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt in a large bowl until smooth.

4. Add the eggs and beat until combined, taking care not to overmix. Transfer a third of the mixture to another bowl or measuring cup and stir in the peppermint extract and red food coloring.

5. Pour a third of the plain cheesecake mixture into the pan with the crust. Pour half of the red cheesecake mixture directly on top, aiming for the center. Repeat, alternating mixtures and always pouring in the center. The mixture should look like concentric rings in the pan.

6. Pour 1 cup cold water into a 6-quart Instant Pot. Place the cheesecake on a trivet or sling and carefully lower into the pot. Close and lock the lid. Select Pressure Cook or Manual at High Pressure and set the timer for 25 minutes.

7. Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then vent to release any remaining pressure. Open the lid and use a paper towel to blot any water from the surface of the cheesecake. Carefully remove the pan and cool the cheesecake to room temperature. When completely cool, cover with a plate or lid and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.

8. Make the Topping: Immediately before serving, use a hand mixer to whip the heavy cream, sour cream and powdered sugar to medium peaks. Unclip the sides of the pan and transfer the cold cheesecake to a plate. Spread the whipped sour cream on top and sprinkle with the chopped peppermint bark and crushed candies.

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