Monday, January 30, 2012

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

I am really impressed with this recipe, not gonna lie. I told you all that I was going to keep eating things I love- in this case, chicken, gravy and cheese; and that I would just be incorporating more veggies- insert mushrooms and broccoli. I reeeeally love mushrooms and Jon reeeeally does not. I don't hate broccoli but it is definitely not my first choice.

I had leftover rotisserie chicken I wanted to use up and a Costco sized bag of broccoli. My mom also got me a rice cooker for a housewarming gift last year and I was excited to use the steamer for the broccoli. It is the easiest thing ever. Thank you Black and Decker for taking the excuse that it's too much work to steam veggies out of my life.

I researched chicken broccoli casseroles online and was really disappointed that, as usual, everyone calls for cream of _____ soup. Most of the cream soups have MSG and I don't understand how they can label a recipe "from scratch" when they're using processed foods? I completely understand the added benefit of saved time so when you make this, feel free to substitute my gravy for cream o (insert your preference here) soup. I always have homemade gravy from when I get those rotisserie chickens so it was just as simple for me to use that.

This was relatively simple to throw together, probably took me 20 minutes to prep and the total cook time including steaming the broccoli was no more than 30-35 minutes. It also tasted amaaaazing, which, let's be honest, is the most important part. Jon ate his entire plate and as I mentioned, he finds no ally in mushrooms or broccoli. I know this would be super delish served over rice or egg noodles, but we are keeping our carb intake during the day, so we ate it alone and I honestly didn't miss any starches.

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups mushroom, chopped
1 1/2 tsp Lawry's season salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup gravy
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup 2% milk
2 cup broccoli, steamed and chopped
3 cup chicken, cooked and chopped
1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella, reserve some for topping
2 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray casserole dish with cooking spray. In a medium skillet, cook sautée garlic and mushrooms in butter. After mushrooms have softened and Browne a little, season with season salt and pepper. Whisk in gravy, chicken stock and milk. Reduce heat and allow to thicken.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine broccoli, chicken and mozzarella. (Remember to reserve some mozzarella to sprinkle on top)

Once gravy mix has thickened, combine with chicken mixture. Pour into casserole dish. Top with extra mozzarella, Panko and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes to heat through.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I'm baaaaaack! The craziness of the holiday season is FINALLY over, so I will hopefully start getting back on track with a lot of the things that fell by the wayside in October through December. This post is going to help with a couple of those things. 1) It's a post on my blog for the first time in close to forever. 2) It's going to help me plan out my meals to make sure I don't spend unnecessary money and calories on eating out.

I decided to go majorly cliche with my 2012 resolutions. My friends took me on my very first hike a few weeks ago and I loved it! I decided one of my resolutions this year would be to do one hike per month.

Makapu'u Lighthouse Hike 12/26/11
 I am also NOT going to eat any fast food whatsoever this entire year. I will also be going to the gym 4-5 days per week. That one should be easy enough because I did that the majority of 2011 besides my two weeks of pneumonia and when I got kidney stones. Let's hope no ailments prevent me this year!

Jon and I have also committed to planning out and cooking our meals ahead of time. I am going to continue cooking and eating foods I love, just cut down on portions and increase our veggies intake.

So, I decided I would make my first pot of homemade chicken stock. I know you're probably sick of me declaring my love for Costco's rotisserie chickens, but I can't help it. For $5, you get 3 lbs worth of chicken, which can be turned into so many meals. This time, I picked up 2 of those bad larry's. I used the drippings to make homemade gravy. I have the chicken meat saved for a soup, some chicken soft tacos and chicken salad for sandwiches. Then I took the carcasses (worst word ever by the way) and am doctoring up some chicken stock. That's $10 worth of awesomeness if you ask me.

So here's what I used to make the homemade chicken stock. It's really one of those "a little bit of this, a little bit of that" recipes so don't be scare to increase or decrease with your favorite flavors.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and wish you all a happy and healthy 2012!

Chicken stock

2 3 lb chicken carcasses
7-8 carrots, not peeled, cut into large chunks
5-6 celery, cut into large chunks, including leaves
1 1/2 large onion, cut into large chunks
1 head garlic, chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp whole peppercorns
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried dill weed

Fill a 16 qt stockpot with 7-8 quarts of water. Add all ingredients, cover and bring to boil. Once boiling, uncover, reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours. Strain the stock and chill overnight in refrigerator. Remove surface fat. Use immediately or freeze for up to 3 months.


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