Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Chicken and Broccoli 7_1

Sunday dinners are the one time most families have a chance to sit down together and enjoy each others company. Growing up, my family was no different. Every Sunday my aunt and uncle, Doll and Johnnie, would come over to our house for dinner. My mom and aunt would take turns making the Sunday meal and since both are great at cooking I looked forward to those dinners. During the summer there was one particular meal my mom and aunt Doll liked to make that was easy and refreshing. Chicken and broccoli casserole topped with bread crumbs and paired with a green jello mold with fruit cocktail.

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I never knew how they came up with the combination of a casserole and green jello but for some reason it worked. I think it was the whipped cream and fruit cocktail in the jello that won me over. What kid doesn’t like fruit cocktail and whipped cream? Plus, the jello was cool and refreshing in contrast to the hot bubbly chicken and broccoli.

chicken and broccoli casserole 8_1

My version of their chicken and broccoli casserole has a little less fat but still has lots of flavor. There are simple substitutions you can make to cut down on the calories. Instead of using mayonnaise in the sauce I use cream of mushroom soup along with cream of chicken soup. Don’t let the word “creamed” scare you. You can always find a reduced fat or fat free version of the creamed soups. Also, leave off the bread crumbs (they were browned in lots of melted butter) and use a light shredded cheese as the topping. To add more flavor to the dish I stir in sauteed mixed mushrooms (button, shiitake and portobello).

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This may not be my mamma’s chicken and broccoli but it is a wonderful way to make your next Sunday dinner memorable.

 Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

4 boneless/ skinless chicken thighs
1 pkg chicken tenders
1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
4 cups egg noodles
1 12 oz bag fresh cut broccoli
1 stalk of celery chopped
1 small onion sliced
½ cup shredded monterey jack cheese
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¾ cup 2% milk
½ cup ½ and ½ milk
1 pkg mixed mushrooms (button, shiitake, portobello)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add a pinch of salt to 4 quarts of water and bring it to a boil. Add bag of broccoli to boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain broccoli after it cools and set aside.

Bring water to a boil again. Add egg noodles and cook according to package. Drain and set aside.

Rinse chicken and place in 6 cups of water with salt, pepper, celery and onions. Cook until done. Let chicken cool then cut into bite size pieces.

Saute mushrooms in 1 tbsp of melted butter until browned. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl whip together soups, parsley and milk until smooth.  Add additional milk if sauce is too thick.  Soups should be slightly loose for pouring.

Spray a rectangular casserole dish with cooking spray. Place egg noodles in dish and then layer with broccoli chicken, mushrooms and ½ of the monterey jack cheese and ½ of the cheddar cheese. The remaining cheese will be used for the topping. Pour soup over the layers and gently mix. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes until cheese has melted and top is slightly browned.


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