Monday, February 15, 2016

Cheesy Broccoli & Chicken Quinoa Casserole

I have a deep love for casseroles.  It is really hard to cook a main dish and several sides when you have two young children.  A casserole means less cooking, less cleaning, and a less frazzled mama.  Plus, casseroles will always be the quintessential comfort food.  

This Cheesy Broccoli & Chicken Casserole was created with picky eaters in mind.  My daughter hates most vegetables and can only eat mild flavors.  My baby boy, however, loves vegetables and loves spice.  When I make this casserole, I add some Sriracha or tabasco on his serving and on mine and my husband's, leaving it unspicy for my pickiest eater.  Before becoming a parent, when I had more time to devote to cooking, I would use freshly minced garlic, and sauté up a onion to go in the casserole; now I rely on heavy shakes of the dried spices.  So if you have the time (and the kids who will eat it!), definitely go fresh.

My favorite thing about this recipe, hands down, is the fact that you don't have to cook the quinoa beforehand.  It cooks right in the casserole, which saves you so much work!  Enjoy!

Cheesy Broccoli & Chicken Quinoa Casserole
Serves 6

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Flour
1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
4 Cups Broccoli Florets
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
1 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
2 Cups Whole Milk
3/4 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
1 1/4 Cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar, divided
Salt & Pepper, to taste


1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.

2.  If using fresh broccoli, boil the broccoli for one minute in a pot of water and drain.  If using frozen, simply thaw.  Chop broccoli florets into small pieces.

3.  Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in the olive oil and then sauté the chicken pieces until no longer pink.  Stir in the broccoli, and sauté for another few minutes, until broccoli has softened. Season with garlic powder and poultry seasoning and then remove from heat.

4.  In a medium saucepan, heat up the chicken broth over medium heat until it simmers.  Stir in the flour, and whisk continuously for one minute.  Add in the milk and then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking frequently, until mixture has thickened.  Remove from heat, stir in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, and then pour over the broccoli-chicken mixture.

5.  Stir the uncooked quinoa into the broccoli-chicken mixture and then season with salt and pepper.  Spoon into the greased casserole dish.  Cover and bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.

6.  Remove cover, stir well, and check to make sure the quinoa is fully cooked.  If not, put it back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted.  Let cool for 5 minutes and then serve.

Serving Size:  1/6th of Casserole
Calories:  439
Fat:  20
Carbs:  31
Protein:  36
Sugar:  6

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