No Can Casserole

With a new year right around the corner, some of you might be considering resolutions and better habits. I thought I'd step in a bit early with one that's actually fairly simple and ends up giving you comfort food dishes like this:

I'm talking about saying goodbye to canned soups in casseroles (or at least finding ways to rely on them less often!). Sure, they tend to simplify recipes and make tossing together a casserole a snap. But when you consider the steps they save against the added calories, fat, and salt your meals end up putting on your plate, just a little more effort can get you more flavor without all of that!

The recipe below features a creamy curry sauce that takes about 10 minutes to prepare. If you start it while you are cooking the chicken and broccoli, you actually don't add extra time to your meal prep and you get to be in charge of what's going into your casserole. Even using ingredients like milk and mayonnaise in your homemade sauce still leave you with a lower fat, calorie, and salt sauce than you would if you grabbed a can of creamy soup from the pantry. So consider what you are putting in your recipes and bringing to the table. Sometimes little changes give you a chance to be wiser and healthier without sacrificing flavor at all. Enjoy!

Curried Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 large broccoli crowns, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. curry powder — choose your favorite variety
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 350° F and spray a large round casserole dish lightly with cooking spray.

Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet. Brown the chicken. When the chicken is lightly-browned, add the broccoli and sauté until it is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Carefully add the chicken and broccoli to the prepared casserole dish and set aside.

To prepare the sauce, heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix the cornstarch with a little cold water. When the milk begins to simmer, add the cornstarch, whisk briskly and constantly, and cook until slightly thickened. Remove the pot from the stove, then add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until smooth.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and broccoli in the casserole dish and sprinkle the top of the casserole dish with the grated cheese. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve hot over rice or noodles.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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