A homey and healthful take on an old classic. An old school chicken broccoli casserole gets a makeover using quinoa instead of rice and there are no canned soups in sight. Only lots of fresh broccoli, a homemade white sauce, a little bit of cheese and pan seared chicken. This Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Casserole is my kind of comfort food.
Fact: casseroles are the original one pot wonder.
Fact: casseroles are ugly.
Fact: BUT casseroles are the ultimate comfort food.
Fact: casseroles make awesome leftovers.
Fact: casseroles can be made ahead and are easy to put together. (That’s two…)
Fact: and lastly, casseroles are hard to photograph.
I have a weird obsession with casseroles. I want to hate them but I secretly love them. I want to hate them because unfortunately they’re usually filled with less than fresh ingredients- hello frozen vegetables and canned soups- and the amount of cheese in the average casserole makes my arteries cringe. But, they’re homey and comforting. They feed a crowd! They’re easy to put together and I’m so into make ahead meals these days and casseroles pretty much set the bar. So you see my dilemma here? While I want to bash the casserole, I find myself pinning casserole recipes to my Pinterest dinner board. It’s a true love hate relationship.
So here we are today and I’m giving you a casserole recipe! I guess the make ahead and comfort food factors won out after all! But make no mistake, this isn’t your mama’s casserole. I opted for quinoa instead of rice, used a ton of fresh broccoli and seared some organic chicken cutlets for added protein. Instead of canned soup, I made a roux and white sauce and only added a minimal amount of cheese. Well at least by casserole standards anyway. It’s all the things I love about a casserole without the junky ingredients. The only down fall was this was a bugger to photograph. I just couldn’t get it to look as good as it really is. But after 10 minutes I was hungry, the pics weren’t getting any better and I ran out of patience. I sat down and dug into one of the bowls you see here and said a silent screw it. So you’ll have to trust me that this casserole tastes much better than it looks.
The hubby loved it and my kids didn’t. They’re loss I say as it made great leftovers the next day! Have a great day everyone! xo, Kelley
- 4 cups broccoli chopped broccoli florets (about 3/4 of a medium head of broccoli)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 lb chicken cutlets
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon season salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon season salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 5 oz your favorite cheese (I had havarti on hand so that's what I used)
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Fill a medium size sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and simmer for 2 minutes until bright green and slightly al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Bring chicken stock to a boil and add quinoa. Turn heat down and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes until stock is evaporated and quinoa is cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Season chicken with garlic powder and season salt. Cook about 3-4 minutes each side until chicken is nicely browned and is cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and set aside to cool. Cut into a small 1/4-inch dice.
- In the same pan you cooked chicken, add butter and flour. Stir 1-2 minutes until nice and brown. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly until sauce thickens up about 5 minutes. Add parmesan cheese, season salt, pepper, reserved quinoa, cooked chicken and broccoli. Give it a good stir to evenly coat everything. Top it with cheese and pop in oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.
This makes great leftovers and can be made earlier in the day and baked just before serving.