One of my favorite meals growing up was a chicken and broccoli casserole that my Dad claims to have concocted. I have seen variations of this casserole on numerous recipe sites so I’m not sure if Dad can completely claim that this is an original creation. Coincidentally my Mom also claims to be its inventor and has told me that it is based on some dish a friend in Germany once served them. I don’t really care who came up with it first. All I know is that it’s darn yummy.
The downside to this recipe is that it can be labor intensive. That’s why it was saved for special occasions like holidays and birthdays. You can cheat and make short cuts but it just doesn’t taste the same. If cheating is something you enjoy, I’m sure you can Google similar recipes that use cheese-whiz and frozen broccoli.
|Okay, I guess Velveeta is cheating a smidge...|
There usually isn’t around my Parent’s house. Mr. Penguin and Mr. Foo-foo Cuddly Poops have to pick out the mushrooms first so it’s not worth making if they are the only ones around to help me consume it. They think mushrooms are evil. They’re fungus, how much evil intent can one mushroom have?
2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
3 cups cooked rice
1 bunch broccoli steamed and finely chopped
½ a large sweet onion finely chopped
2 stalks celery finely chopped
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup mayonnaise
8 oz fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1/3LB Velveeta cheese product, cubed
1 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste
1. Cook the chicken breast if you haven’t already done so and shred it.
This can be done ahead or if you want to cheat a little go buy a rotisserie chicken and pick the chicken off the bone. I always use chicken breast but that isn’t a must it’s just easier to shred. I also always bake my chicken for more flavor rather than boil. Use whatever method is easier for you.
2. Cook up enough rice to make 3 cups. I use jasmine rice because that is what I always have on hand. Again, use whatever is easier for you. My parents always used the boil-in-bag stuff.
3. Cut the broccoli florets away from the broccoli stalk. You can save the stalk for soup later if you want. Steam broccoli over a pot of boiling water in a colander or if you have a steamer use that. I’ll sometimes just throw it in a pot with a little water covered with saran wrap in the microwave. You want the broccoli to still have shape and not be mushy. Remember, its going to cook some more in the oven!
4. Sauté your onions and celery in the butter until softened.
5. In large casserole dish, combine rice, onion, celery, and broccoli. Salt & pepper to taste.
6. In small sauce pan over med-low heat combine milk and Velveeta.
Stirring often, cook till Velveeta is fully melted and in corporate into milk. Be careful not to burn cheese sauce! If you walk away, IT WILL BURN. Trust me. I don't lie.
7. Pour cheese sauce over rice mixture in casserole dish.
8. Spread shredded chicken evenly over rice & cheese mixture.
9. In small bowl combine fresh mushrooms, soup and mayonnaise. Salt & pepper to taste.
10. Spread mushroom mixture evenly over chicken.
11. Cook in preheated 350 degree oven for one hour or until casserole is bubbly and mushroom mixture has started to brown on edges.
My casserole came out a bit dark this time. This is because I stored it in the fridge to cook later in the week. The sauce oxidized a little and the mushrooms got dark. Still tasted good though. Our family has tried to freeze this casserole without success. Sadly. It was a watery mess. Not pretty. Not pretty at all.