“Healthy-(Er)” Chicken & Broccoli Casserole…Maybe

Casseroles. If you are from the South, “almost” everyone loves them. And I mean loves ALL kinds of casseroles. They are easy, one pot, comfort foods, main meals, side dishes, desserts, breakfasts…ANYTHING you want them to be! In fact…we like to just turn ordinary, plain dishes into some sort of casserole. For no reason other than just adding that word to the end of it! Enchilada Casseroles, Hamburger Casseroles, Spaghetti Casseroles, RandomVegetableCansInOurPantry Casseroles. I mean…why not, right?!?!

Luck would have it that I…of all people…would have one of those “almost” everyone, best friends that I CLEARLY think something is wrong with (“Whitney”–Name may or may NOT be changed to protect her from the casserole backlash). “Whitney” dislikes anything followed by the word “casserole”. And. I. Just. Don’t. Understand. So a few years ago, I just started renaming everything when she came to dinner. “Enchilada Pie”, “Sauteed Ground Beef Bake”, “Baked Squash in a Cream Sauce”…you get the idea. But before I started doing that to avoid the “casserole’s stink” debate…I made her try my Chicken & Broccoli Casserole.

And guess what…She liked it. Duh. I mean it’s a casserole, “Whitney”! ūüôā

No Soup Broccoli & Chicken Casserole

Healthy-(Er) Broccoli & Chicken Casserole

I have been making different versions of Chicken & Broccoli Casserole since I was 18 years old (that was just a couple of years ago by the way…*wink, wink*). Mainly with those cans of “cream of whatever” soup. Loaded with salt & preservatives. (Don’t get me wrong…I still LOVE to use those…just now in moderation). This version is just a TEENSY bit healthier because there is none of that! Fresh broccoli, fresh grated cheese & homemade sauce. And most importantly…it’s still extremely easy to make! I originally found a similar version of this one at “Just Get Off Your Butt & Bake” if you want to check it out.

No Soup Broccoli & Chicken Casserole

Ingredients You’ll Need While the Chicken is Boiling

First you’ll need to boil your chicken in some salt & peppered water. You don’t want to overcook this chicken! And don’t undercook it either! No pressure. ūüôā Now, if you are using chicken breasts on the bone, then boil it for about 25-30 minutes. If you are using boneless, skinless breasts, then boil for about 20 minutes. Really easy. Personally…I always use chicken on the bone. 2 reasons…it’s cheaper and just simply has more flavor! There are more reasons, but I think these 2 are plenty. ūüôā

Once the chicken is done, set aside to cool and then shred or chop. Then cut up your broccoli and discard the stems. You’ll want to grab your casserole dish and spray it with Butter Flavored Pam. Then layer the chicken and broccoli mixture on the bottom.

Boiled Broccoli & Chicken

Boiled Broccoli & Chicken

Now you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get your sauce started. If you haven’t already…get your cheese grated, chop your shallot & dissolve your cornstarch in ice cold water. I use a cornstarch slurry here because sometimes a roux is intimidating for people. And because others want a gluten free way to thicken a soup or sauce. On to a very important ingredient…the cheese. My ALL time favorite cheddar is Cabot. Every. Single. Kind. of. Cabot. If you haven’t tried it…start now. For this recipe, I used Seriously Sharp Cheddar. I also used fresh grated Monterrey Jack. Sadly…I don’t have a preference. Maybe I should eat more to find one. ūüôā

In a saucepan, cook your shallot/onion in the melted butter on medium heat. Then add in the milk, dissolved cornstarch, chicken broth, dashes of hot sauce (optional), salt & pepper. Whisk this until it starts to thicken like a “creamy” soup. Once it is “creamy”, remove it from the heat, add in 2 cups of your cheese mixture & sour cream. Mix it well until the cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.

No Flour Cheese Sauce

Cheeeesssssseee Sauce

Once the sauce is mixed & cheese is melted, pour it over the chicken & broccoli. Then grate some fresh parmesan on top. Add the rest of the grated cheese, then finally add the crushed crackers on top to cover. (If you want to keep this dish Gluten Free…then top with Glutino Brand Crackers, crushed & mixed with a little salt & pepper). Spray the crackers with Butter Flavored Pam & garnish with poppy seeds. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown & bubbly!

**Here are 3 extra tips for this recipe! You can add chopped mushrooms, carrots, celery or any vegetable you need to cook when you are sauteing your shallot so that you have another veggie in the mixture. You can also add a cup of 10 minute boil in a bag Success Rice to the chicken & broccoli mixture before you bake it. Just follow the cooking instructions on the box. And if you don’t have time to boil some chicken, then buy & shred a rotisserie from the grocery store deli! It’s just as flavorful and saves some extra time.**

Can’t you tell that this is a very versatile casserole?!?!

No Soup Broccoli & Chicken Casserole

I Can’t Wait to Dig in!!!

Let this cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

I’m pretty confident that “Whitney” wouldn’t hesitate at all about trying a casserole made like this one!! Let me know what else you add or change! Enjoy!

‚ÄúHealthy-(Er)‚ÄĚChicken & Broccoli Casserole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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3 Heads of Fresh Broccoli, Chopped & Stems Discarded (Around 4 cups)
3-4 lbs Chicken, Shredded or Chopped (About 4 Chicken Breasts or 1 Rotisserie Chicken)
2 ¬Ĺ c. Fresh Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese & Monterrey Jack (Mixture of Both)
1/2 c. Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese for topping
2 Tubes of Ritz Crackers, Crushed (Can use Glutino, Gluten Free Original, Crushed up with Extra Salt)
Pam Butter Spray
Poppy Seeds for Garnish
1 tsp Hot Sauce or Tobasco (Optional)
1/2 Stick of Unsalted Butter
2 Shallots, Diced (or 1 small onion)
1/4 c. Cornstarch, Dissolved in 1/4 c. Ice Cold Water
1/2 c. Sour Cream
3/4 c. Chicken Broth
1 1/2 c. Whole Milk (Can use Lactose Free Milk or 1/2 Heavy Cream, 1/2 Milk)
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Boil chicken in salt & pepper water for about 30 minutes. (If boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then cut cooking time down to 20 minutes). Set aside to cool.
2. Chop broccoli & set aside, discarding stems.
3. When chicken is cool, shred or chop chicken, discarding bones & skin.
4. Layer chicken & broccoli mixture on the bottom of a lightly greased casserole dish.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. In a saucepan on medium high heat, melt butter and sauté shallot until translucent. About 3-4 minutes.
7. Whisk in milk, chicken stock, dissolved cornstarch, hot sauce (optional), salt & pepper. Cook until mixture begins to thicken whisking constantly so it doesn’t stick.
8. When mixture begins to thicken, remove from heat and add in 2 c. of grated cheese & the sour cream until sauce is smooth & cheese melted.
9. Pour mixture over chicken.
10. Top with parmesan cheese & then cheese blend.
11. Top the cheese layer with crushed Ritz Crackers.
12. Spray a light layer of Pam on top of crackers to brown.
13. Garnish with Poppy Seeds.
14. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly & brown.

Leftover Chicken? No problem! Buffalo Chicken Sliders, it is!

Being from the South…we shut the cities down for a single snowflake. ¬†But Ice Storms? ¬†Forget it. ¬†Especially ones named “Pax” or “Leon”. ¬†Where do they come up with these names anyway?!?! ¬†Leon stranded a lot of people on the roads for a few days. ¬†So no one was going to take any chances with Pax! ¬†The grocery stores were empty 2 days before “Pax” was set to strike!! ¬†Bread, Milk, Eggs, Beer, Wine, Sweets, Jerky (depending on your priorities, of course)…mostly gone. ¬†And I was no different! ¬†I bought lots of chicken and ground beef and bread. ¬†Made sense at the time with my gas oven. ¬†Plan for a blizzard. Or being snowed in until March. 3 feet of Ice. Stranded Cars. ¬†No Power for weeks. See…I think I’m convincing you of my logic.

So the dilemma once none of that happened. ¬†All of this food and little snow. ¬†Or Ice. ¬†I decided I could freeze most of it. ¬†Or just put it in my bunker (I kid, I kid). ¬†But what to do with that yummy, non-freezable Rotisserie chicken I purchased? ¬†Let’s make some sliders! ¬†Buffalo Sliders! ¬†Buffalo Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw and Swiss or Provolone! ¬†Score! Finally…my previous logic began to make sense. ¬†*wink, wink*

So here is what you need. A Rotisserie chicken, slider buns, your favorite buffalo sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce), blue cheese dressing, broccoli slaw, carrots, spray butter & swiss or provolone cheese. ¬†Very, Very simple!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients

Now…just shred up that Rotisserie. ¬†Every bit of it! ¬†Don’t waste a single shred of that chicken! And add a little salt & pepper to taste. ¬†Then heat up about half a bottle of your favorite wing sauce with a tbsp of butter until it’s well mixed. ¬†Or don’t add the butter. ¬†Your call. ¬†You don’t have to heat up the sauce if you don’t add the butter…one less step. Mix the chicken with the buffalo sauce, a couple of tablespoons at a time. ¬†Use as little or as much as you like to your taste and then set aside. ¬†Next for the broccoli slaw. I purchase¬†this in the produce section. It’s just like shredded cabbage slaw! I make homemade blue cheese (let me know and I’ll post the recipe). ¬†It’s too easy not to. ¬†But if you don’t have it and don’t want to make it, then just buy yourself a jar of GOOD blue cheese dressing like Naturally Fresh Blue Cheese. ¬†And just mix a couple of tablespoons to the broccoli & carrot mixture! ¬†Simple and Easy.

Now for your assembly line.

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Assembly Line, Ready!

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up later).  Put the bottom of your slider buns down first.  I always use Publix Deli Sliders.  You can use Hawaiian Rolls, Hamburger Buns or whatever you like. Next add the cheese.  I added half a slice of swiss on one half and provolone on the other half.

This is how they will come together….

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Coming Together!

Next spoon on the chicken, then the slaw and another small slice of cheese if you wish!  I totally wish for extra cheese!  Once you have each slider assembled, then spray the tops of each bun with a couple of dashes of no calorie spray butter.  Bake on 350 degrees until cheese is melted and buns are lightly browned!  About 10-15 minutes!

And that’s it. ¬†Use that leftover chicken you have from these snow days…or make these for your next tailgate…or your next picnic! ¬†Or just a fun night with the kids! ¬†These are sure to be a crowd pleaser for any occasion!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw

Take THAT Winter Storm Pax!!!

Let me know what you think!  Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Broccoli, Carrot, Blue Cheese Slaw

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Credit: Simple Southern Living

1 Rotisserie Chicken
1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw
1 Bag of Shredded Carrots
1 Bottle of Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
12 Slider Buns
6 Provolone Cheese & Swiss Cheese Slices
Blue Cheese Dressing
Spray Butter

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
2. Shred the Rotisserie Chicken into pieces then salt & pepper to taste.
3. Mix the Wing Sauce into the chicken until coated & set aside.
4. Mix half of the Broccoli Slaw with 1/4 of the Shredded Carrots.
5. Add a couple of tablespoons of the blue cheese dressing into the slaw mixture.  Set aside.
6. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and align the bottoms of the slider buns evenly.
7. Layer half a slice of cheese, then chicken, slaw & more cheese if desired.
8. Place the tops of the buns on each and spray a couple of times with no calorie butter spray.
9. Bake for 10-15 minutes until heated through, cheese is melted and buns are golden brown.