HEALTHY CHICKEN, BROCCOLI, AND QUINOA CASSEROLE
Do you have fond memories of those deliciously rich and creamy casseroles your mom used to make when you were growing up? You know…..the ones with the cans of Cream of Chicken from Campbell’s? haha. Yeah me too!
Although delicious, they’re not the healthiest dishes for you. So, what I love to do now is take delicious recipes and make some substitutions to make it a yummier and healthier version.
Last night, I made this casserole for my husband and I and we loved the way it turned out! I even ate a couple spoonfuls for lunch today – zapped it in the microwave for 45-60 seconds and it was just as good as last night!
Here’s the recipe I adapted so you can try it out for yourself. Let me know what you think.
PS. My husband (who has never liked quinoa) even went back for seconds on this dish! That’s a winner in my book!
This recipe serves around 6 people.
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk (I used Organic 1% but you could also use Unsweetened regular Almond Milk too)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ cup flour (I used gluten free flour)
2 cups water, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (I used the mixed ones)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons seasoning (I used an all-purpose seasoning)
¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (Parmesan and a little feta is actually great too!)
3 cups fresh broccoli florets
SAUCE: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously grease a 9×13 baking dish (the stuff tends to stick so be real friendly with it). Bring the chicken broth and ½ cup milk to a low boil in a saucepan. Whisk the other ½ cup milk with the poultry seasoning and flour; add the mixture to the boiling liquid and whisk until a smooth creamy sauce forms.
ASSEMBLE THE DISH: In a medium bowl, mix the sauce from step one, one cup water, quinoa, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips and lay the chicken breasts strips over the top of the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with the seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bake uncovered for about 35 minutes.
BROCCOLI: While the casserole is in the oven baking, place the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute until it turns bright green and then run under cold water. Set aside until ready to bake with the rest of the casserole.
FINAL BAKE: Remove the casserole from the oven, and check the mixture by stirring it around in the pan, and if needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to get the right consistency. When the quinoa and chicken are cooked and the sauce is thickened, add the broccoli and a little bit of water (up to one cup) until the consistency is creamy and smooth and you can stir it up easily in the pan. Then, top with the cheese and bake for 5-7 minutes, or just long enough to melt and barely brown the cheese.
A few notes….
If the quinoa looks soft and like it has popped open, that means it is done! You will see a little spiral. If your mixture is not absorbed enough, just bake a little longer until all that liquid is gone. No harm there!
Okay, now go enjoy baking a delicious dinner for your family!