"It tastes healthy," he said.
My heart sank. Healthy is just a euphemism for bland. Right?
"No, not bland. Healthy - like fresh. It's a good thing," he said.
Whew. It's easy for me to misunderstand and mistake healthy for a backhanded compliment, because, let's face it, oftentimes my cooking is on the buttery side. I like to keep things all-natural, but even so, pies generally don't land on any nutritionist's list of superfoods.
But after a week of seemingly endless take-out (Indian food one night, pizza the next, culminating in a feast of A&W burgers with onion rings) my body was craving something light and something green.
I cobbled together this casserole using basic ingredients that I already had on hand - chicken breast, fresh broccoli, frozen peas, and cream cheese. It hit the spot, tasting fresh & clean but still homey & incredibly filling.
After so many days of fatty, fried foods, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious healthy can be.
Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Casserole
This is something of a base recipe for chicken & veggie casseroles. If you're not a
broccoli or pea fan, you can substitute veggies you enjoy more, like corn, zucchini
or caramelized onions. Serve over rice or potatoes.
Yields: 4 servings
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 4 good-sized fillets)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic salt
2 cups fresh broccoli
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup water
8-oz package cream cheese
1 & 1/4 cup whole milk (you can use a less fatty milk, however the sauce will be less creamy and more watery)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Stir the black pepper, paprika and garlic salt together in a small bowl. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the spice mixture.
In a skillet or on the grill, cook the chicken until fully cooked through. (I used the grill and it produced incredibly flavorful & juicy chicken.) Allow to cool for a few moments, then dice into bite-sized pieces.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a saucepan, add the broccoli, peas and 1/2 cup water, then cover. Simmer for about 5 - 7. The broccoli should be softer but still have a slight crunch. Drain any excess water and place the vegetables in a 9x13 baking dish.
In a saucepan, heat the cream cheese, milk and parmesan cheese over medium-low heat, stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth.
Pour half of the sauce over the broccoli. Add the chicken to the baking dish and add the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella cheese and panko crumbs.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs turn golden brown (you can also use the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the top right before serving). Serve over rice or potatoes.
Welcome! I'm a pie-baking, dog-loving, antique-hunting patriot. I'm a fan of rustic home cooking, the Yankees and scenic drives through the mountains.