During the winter months, I have to admit that comfort food ranks higher on my list than healthy food. This year especially, since I’ve been struggling with severe morning sickness, I’m just aiming for getting dinner on the table that taste goods and my kids won’t complain about.
This recipe for chicken broccoli casserole was a staple when I was growing up, and today it’s a tried and true favorite that I know my kids will eat. It does use canned creamed soup, which I tend to try and stay away from, but it’s a great source of protein and it gets my kids to eat piles of vegetables.
- 2 Chicken Breast, cooked and shredded
- 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1 Tsp. Curry Powder
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 2-3 Cups of Broccoli, fresh or frozen
- Panko Bread Crumbs, optional
This dish can be prepared ahead of time and pulled out to heat just before dinner, or frozen so it’s available for a quick weeknight dinner. To cook the chicken, I like to either cook it in a crock pot with some broth and diced onion or bake it in a covered casserole at 350° for 60 minutes or until tender.
SHORT CUT: To save time, I like to use the freeze dried onion you can get from Shelf Reliance because you don’t have to mess with having an onion on hand or chopping and the quality is so great that, in baked dishes especially, you can’t tell the difference at all.
Once your chicken is cooked and shredded (you can dice it too if you want but I find my kids will eat more chicken if I shred it), you’re ready to make your sauce. Mix together the cans of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup. Add the 1 cup of mayonnaise and stir well. Add in the curry powder and lemon juice and stir until mixed.
SHORT CUT: Another great shortcut ingredient I’ve found is True Lemon. I actually discovered this by accident. It was on sale on Amazon so I loaded up thinking I’d use it to flavor my water. When it arrived though, I discovered that there were instructions on the box for substituting packets of the crystallized lemon for lemon wedges in recipes. I rarely have lemons on hand in the winter and when I do, they often go bad before I use them so this is a great way to make sure I have lemons on hand for recipes.
Mix the shredded chicken in with your sauce mixture and set aside.
If you are using fresh broccoli (which I much prefer in this recipe, although frozen will work in a pinch), boil or steam it for 2-3 minutes, or until you can just stick a fork in it. This dish is going to bake in the oven for a while so you don’t want to overdo it or you’ll end up with soggy broccoli.
Layer the ingredients in a 9 x 13 casserole dish, starting with the lightly cooked broccoli on the bottom, followed by the chicken mixture, and topped with shredded cheese. You can sprinkle a few panko bread crumbs on top to give the dish some extra crunch if you want.
Optional: If you want to make this a one dish meal, mix some cooked rice into your chicken mixture or spread a layer of cooked rice beneath the broccoli. We do this to change things up sometimes and my kids love it.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. If you notice that the cheese is getting too crispy, you can cover the casserole dish with foil for the remainder of the baking time.