Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Broccoli Cheese Bake

I'm bringing casseroles back like it's 1969!
...when one thinks of a casserole, one usually envisions a steaming pile of mystery meat ever so lovingly presented by an elderly woman but that's not always the case, casseroles can be cool! In fact, I think they're making a comeback!
I have been a casserole making fiend lately because with work at such odd hours all during the week, I am usually forced to dedicate one day to prepping all our meals, which, as you can imagine is a pretty daunting task in itself (I don't even wanna look at my kitchen right now). I try to keep most entrees simple in order to prevent said messiness and this recipe is one of those meals! Casseroles especially come in handy when you have a fridge full of leftovers (such as le shredded chicken, veggies, and rice). Another thing that makes this so gosh darn easy to prepare is the sauce, I got the idea from a recipe on foodnetwork - instead of making a roux, you simply heat chicken stock and flour together, stir it until it thickens, and use that for your sauce base! This is not only 1,000 easier but it also tastes significantly more delicious than a roux based cheese sauce, which prompts the question, why the heck didn't I think of this sooner?

Chicken Parmesan Broccoli Cheese Bake

serves 2-3

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
1 heaping cup medium broccoli florets
Cooking spray
2 cups frozen brown rice, thawed
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (about 4 cups)

For topping...
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 TBS melted butter

Directions:

1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the flour and broth into a large saucepan and whisk until the flour is dissolved. Place the saucepan over medium heat and whisk continuously until the mixture comes to a boil; continue to whisk until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the Cheddar and whisk until melted. Add the broccoli florets and stir to coat.

2.Spray a 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Toss the brown rice and chicken in a large bowl. Pour the broccoli-cheese sauce on top and mix well. Spread the mixture in the casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake until bubbling and hot, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and mix the melted butter, breadcrumbs, and cheese then sprinkle on top and bake until the breadcrumbs are nicely browned, about 2 to 5 minutes Serve hot.

Make-Ahead Tip: Freeze the baked casserole for up to 2 weeks. Cover in foil and reheat at 350 degrees F until hot, 35 to 45 minutes.

*Recipe adapted from Foodnetwork.com

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