Investigative Cooking
Anna's chicken casserole recipe from 'The Woman in the House' is the perfect comfort food.

I Made Anna's Woman In The House Casserole And I Get The Obsession

No dishes were harmed in the making of this recipe.


In Elite Daily's I Tried series, we put celebrities’ favorite products, recipes, and routines to the test to show you what living like your fave star is really like. In this piece, we try making Anna’s casserole recipe from The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.

Kristen Bell doesn’t only serve absurdist murder mystery realness in The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window. Her character, Anna, is obsessed with making one dish in particular, and it only becomes more and more surreal to watch the shut-in subsist on a diet of exclusively chicken casseroles (and red wine, of course). After watching her and everyone around her rave over these casseroles for eight episodes straight, I finally gave in and decided to see what all the hype was about. I may not have had to ponder a mysterious murder when I made Anna’s The Woman in the House casserole recipe, but I do feel like I got a better understanding of why she can’t get enough of the warm, comforting dish.

Although The Woman in the House is clearly meant to be a joke, I couldn’t help but try to read into the show’s choice of casseroles as a motif. (Blame my English major!) The dish is a classic comfort food, perfect for the show’s chilly New England setting and Anna’s insistence on staying home following her hardships. But it’s also a meal that’s meant to be shared, made in large quantities for family get-togethers and holiday celebrations. On the surface, that’s, like, the opposite of Anna’s loner situation. But upon second look, these casseroles become her way of opening herself up to others again... even if they usually end up as a mess on the ground.

To get into Anna’s mindset, I decided it was time for me to try a hand at her signature recipe. After actually learning what a casserole even is (apparently, it’s just anything you cook in a casserole dish), I zeroed in on Anna’s technique and gave it a try.

The Ingredients

It’s not difficult at all to determine the ingredients Anna uses in her casserole recipe: It’s all in the opening scene of the show! The first scene of The Woman in the House shows Anna combining chicken breasts, egg noodles, cream of mushroom soup, cheese, and breadcrumbs in a casserole dish. The prominence of Anna’s specific choice of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup led me to follow the chicken and noodle casserole recipe on Campbell’s website. In the true, fast-and-loose spirit of casseroles, though, I also used elements of a similar Betty Crocker recipe that included breadcrumbs and yielded more food, since Anna is shown specifically using the “family size” can of cream of mushroom soup.

All in all, the ingredients I used were:

  • 2 1/2 cups shredded chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 cups egg noodles
  • 1 family size can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup (22.6 oz.)
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Courtesy of Dylan Kickham

The Recipe

As you’d probably expect for someone like Anna, a casserole recipe is one of the easiest things in the world — you basically just chuck everything into a big pan and mix it up. After cooking my egg noodles, I poured them into a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish and added the chicken and cream of mushroom soup. Then, I added the vegetables, cheese, and milk, and stirred everything together. Honestly, much respect to Anna’s arm strength, because it’s a thick mixture to stir!

Courtesy of Dylan Kickham

The last step before putting the casserole in the oven was to cover my mixture with breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, I combined the panko breadcrumbs with some melted butter, then sprinkled them on top.

After 35 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, the breadcrumbs were looking golden brown and little pockets of the casserole were bubbling in the corners, so it was time to take the dish out and impatiently wait for it to cool down. Don’t worry, though: Unlike Anna, I remembered to wear oven mitts.

Courtesy of Dylan Kickham

The Taste Test

As expected, the chicken and noodle casserole was like a big, warm hug. It’s no wonder Anna won over everyone she brought one to — it’s the perfect thing to dig into on a cold day. The breadcrumbs are very important here, because it seems like there wouldn’t be much texture in this casserole without them, given all the soft, mushy ingredients.

Courtesy of Dylan Kickham

Probably the biggest highlight is the casserole’s size. It’s very filling, and there’s a lot of it. I ended up having leftovers for a full week after making it. Thankfully, it’s very easy to store in the fridge and it tastes perfectly fine microwaved, if you don’t want to spend the time reheating it in the oven.

Final Thoughts

The whole process left me even more convinced the casserole was the perfect food choice for Anna in The Woman in the House. It may seem like a chaotic mishmash of slop, but it’s full of warmth, and it tends to stick around for the long haul.