This old Chicken Casserole recipe is made with Catalina dressing and canned fruit. This recipe, or something similar, seems to show up in a lot of my old church cookbooks. Especially from the 80s and 90s. The unholy marriage of salad dressing, cranberry sauce, and canned pineapple seems to have originated from Kraft Foods. Kraft is the trademark holder for Catalina dressing, a close cousin to French and Russian dressing. It probably came to life as part of a magazine ad or back-of-the-bottle recipe. The ingredient list is as follows:
- 16 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup Catalina salad dressing (or French dressing)
- 1 16 oz can pineapple bits (with juice)
- 1 16 oz can whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1 packet onion soup mix (such as Lipton brand)
Chicken Casserole is a lot better than it sounds. The ingredient list is indeed unnerving, but the dressing and fruits blend with the chicken juices to make a satisfying sticky-sweet sauce. Serve it with rice or noodles and the starch drinks it right up. It’s also got some real curb appeal, with nicely browned chicken and deep violet cranberries. I can see why it was popular in the potluck circuit.
But what does AI think about it? I plugged the ingredient list into DALL-E, an AI image generator, and came up with some scrumptious looking results. Can you tell the AI versions from the real thing?
Link here to the original recipe to find out.