We had so many sweets during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays that we were ready for some “real” food; i.e., something substantial and savory.
This recipe has been lurking in my to-make file and I had all of the ingredients, so it was the perfect time to make it. The sound of down-to-earth chicken, noodles and vegetables in a creamy sauce was music to our ears. What’s more comforting than a casserole covered with melted cheese?
I made quite a few changes to the original Creative Cook’s Kitchen recipe and it came out as a hearty, fairly easy weeknight casserole that took about 35 minutes to prepare. I had some large wide egg noodles I’ve been wanting to use and they worked perfectly as the base to this dish. They ended up providing a sort of soft pasta crust to the casserole, almost like a one-layer white sauce lasagna.
Bret suggested substituting mushrooms and fresh spinach for the chicken and broccoli, making a substantial vegetable-friendly option. That would be really good with the from-scratch creamy white sauce. It’s not easy finding a good casserole recipe that doesn’t use canned soup.
- 1 lb skinless , boneless chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme (or basil)
- 1 1/2 C chicken broth
- 3/4 C milk
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 oz wide egg noodles
- 1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen broccoli
- 2 C shredded cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 7x11 inch glass baking dish and set aside.
Place the chicken breasts on a microwave-safe plate and microwave until cooked all the way through (5-7 minutes on each side at half power if frozen). Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, melt the butter in a large sauce pan and stir in onion powder; stir for about one minute to combine. Add the flour and thyme (or basil) and stir, then add the broth, milk, salt and pepper. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes, until it thickens.
Boil the noodles in a large saucepan for 6 minutes. Drain the noodles well. Chop the cooled chicken in 1/2" chunks. Spread the noodles evenly in the baking disk and top with chopped chicken and broccoli. Pour the thickened sauce over the top and sprinkle the cheese on as the top layer. Bake until cheese melts and is lightly browned - about 20 minutes.
Tips and Stuff:
The original recipe called for 1 chopped onion to be sauteed with the butter; I substituted onion powder, but real onion would be good in it.
Next time I will use basil - I just like it better than thyme.
I used cheddar-Monterrey Jack blend cheese, but regular shredded cheddar or muenster would be good. Use what you have (except blue cheese - don't use blue cheese - ewww).