Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole is a staple in Southern cooking. Not only is it creamy and delicious, but it just makes you dream of a time when life was much simpler and easy. The traditional version of this casserole is VERY un-good for you. With full fat mayo, creamy mushroom soup, loads of cheese and breadcrumbs and butter on top you can feel the hips getting larger with every bite (not that it doesn't feel worth it sometimes!) I have developed this version recently by blending together elements from many different recipes, including the one my mom has always used to make her Chicken Divine. I use the 98% fat free version of the cream of mushroom soup, because it is easier. However, because of this, I must include a disclaimer that this dish isn't PERFECTLY on Dr. Malone's diet. The soup has 10 grams of carbs, which comes from flour used as a thickening agent in the soup. There IS an alternative to using the soup. Instead of the soup, use a can of evaporated milk and a thickening agent of your choice (there are a variety of non-wheat flours available to those on Stage 3 of the diet, plus anything you have found that works for you. If you have a good non-flour, non-starch thickening agent, PLEASE SHARE!). You will need to thicken this up in a saucepan before adding it to the rest of the sauce ingredients.

This recipe also makes a big change in the cheese typically used in the chicken and broccoli casserole. Usually, there is full fat cheddar all through and on top of the casserole. I have replaced the cheddar within the white sauce with low-fat Parmesan cheese, and have retained a little orangey cheddar for the top to make it still seem like home.

As far as what to serve with this delicious casserole, a good green salad full of spinach and dark greens is perfect!

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 12oz package of broccoli florets (you can buy the cheaper broccoli crowns and chop yourself)
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup fat free mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 10.75oz can of 98% fat free, low sodium cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat cheddar cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. Bring water to boil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium high heat. Add broccoli. Cook 5 minutes, or until crisp tender. Transfer broccoli to colander with a slotted spoon. Leave water in the pot. Return water to a boil. Add bite sized chicken pieces to water. Cook until done, about 6 minutes. Remove chicken into same colander with broccoli with slotted spoon.
3. In another bowl, mix mayo, sour cream, mushroom soup,1/2 cup of Parmesan, salt, pepper and curry (if using) and lemon juice (if using).
4. Add broccoli and chicken to the mayo mixture, stirring until well coated.
5. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheddar.
6. Bake at 400° degrees until casserole bubbles around the edges and cheese begins to brown, about 45 minutes.

Carb options
Many people like to serve this over rice, or if you're in the Gilliland family, over a baked potato. Delicious.

Scotty and I are headed to Manhattan to celebrate his birthday and do a few other things. I won't be back until Tuesday. Enjoy your weekend, and hopefully I'll come back with some delicious new recipe ideas!!

No comments: