Nixon Chicken: The Fuss-Free Casserole That's Deliciously Creamy

President Richard Nixon has an extensive legacy, from his days as a congressman and vice president to the Watergate scandal that brought down his presidency. Nixon himself was known to enjoy the somewhat questionable combination of cottage cheese and ketchup, but another member of his family made their culinary mark on the U.S., too — and it's a deliciously creamy mark, at that.

It comes in the form of Nixon Chicken, a casserole attributed in name to the former president and likely created by his daughter, Julie Nixon Eisenhower — at least, according to the book "Nixon Volume II: The Triumph of a Politician 1962-1972." This fuss-free dish is a chicken and broccoli casserole unified by creamy cheese and cream of mushroom soup. Although the reason this casserole rose to popularity is unclear, it's no surprise that the menu choices of presidential families can influence others.

Tricia Nixon — the other daughter in the family — enjoyed a similar dish, chicken divan, which may have inspired Julie's Nixon Chicken. Some sources point to this casserole's popularity rising after Julie Nixon Eisenhower introduced the recipe on "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1974, when she was co-host for a week.  "The Mike Douglas Show" was a wildly popular daytime talk show in the '60s through the '80s with an average of 6 million viewers per episode. This would have been a lot of exposure for Julie's recipe.

Nixon Chicken is surprisingly straightforward

Mashed recipe developer Christina Musgrave worked up an easy and delicious version of Nixon Chicken. Like most good casseroles, it's a well-balanced meal on its own. As Musgrave says, "I love how simple and easy this dish is. It's great for the whole family and would be great as a main dish or meal-prepped lunches for the week." Most cooks can have this retro dish ready to go in just 45 minutes, with about 10 minutes of prep time. (The hardest thing you'll have to do is steam broccoli.)

The chicken can be any pre-cooked, shredded chicken. "I recommend using rotisserie chicken or leftover pulled chicken to make this recipe even easier," Musgrave explains. An ideal way to avoid food waste is by using up a supermarket rotisserie chicken or leftovers from another meal. Other common pantry staples, like cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, and shredded cheese, bind the dish together and impart creaminess. There's a fresh and nutritious element in the form of broccoli, as well.

Simple sides like green salad for extra veggies or crusty bread to mop up all of the cheese make for great casserole accompaniments. Nixon Chicken is best enjoyed hot and fresh out of the oven, but leftovers can be refrigerated for several days or frozen for up to three months. So, the next time you need a weeknight meal that's as easy as it is tasty, think of the 37th President and his daughter's go-to recipe.