The same classic, comforting flavors in a much healthier meal.
Are you one of those people who loves food but also tries to eat healthy as often as possible? If so, you’ll love this recipe. It’s not the classic chicken and broccoli casserole you’ve eaten at grandma’s house. Unlike the original version, this recipe is made with healthier ingredients that make it low in fat and sodium. It also qualifies as gluten-free! Furthermore, it takes only an hour to prepare (and 75% of that time is spent in the oven!) So, whether you’re making this casserole as an easy weeknight meal for your family, or for dinner party guests, it’s guaranteed to impress! Not only due to it’s flavor, but also because of it’s health factor!
Swapping Classic Ingredients for Healthier Options
The recipes our mothers and grandmothers used to prepare used to have heavy ingredients and were cooked with excess fat. Today, we tend to be more health concious by eating balanced meals and exercising. Although those recipes of the past are high in calories, it doesn’t mean that they don’t taste delicious (or that we don’t like them). These days it’s just more common for people to recreate old recipes by substituting unhealthy ingredients for more natural and nutritious ones. And that’s exactly what we’ve done here! With ingredients like lean, white meat chicken breasts, high-protein greek yogurt, reduced-fat cheese, and healthy brown rice, we’ve cut down on calories while increasing nutrients!
Preparing this Nutritious Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
To start preparing this delicious recipe, you need to preheat the oven to 375º Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, grease a 9×9 casserole dish and set it aside for later. Note that this recipe uses cooked brown rice, so you can go ahead and do that while the chicken is cooking so it’s ready to go when you need it.
Place the chicken breasts in a sauce pan and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Then, add water to the pan and heat over medium-high, until boiling. Once boiling, reduce the heat to bring the water to a simmer and cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165º Fahrenheit. This should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the water and let it sit until it is cool enough to shred. You will get approximately 2 cups of shredded chicken.
Meanwhile, add the broccoli to the simmering water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until it turns bright green in color and feels tender and crisp. Remove the broccoli from the pot.
Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer, and save one and a half cups of it. Place the reserved cooking liquid back into the pot along with the cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, and celery salt. Cook over medium heat until thickened, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the thickened mixture from the heat and let it cool slightly for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the thickened liquid, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, half of the shredded cheddar cheese, and shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Now spread the cooked brown rice in an even layer in the bottom of the greased casserole dish. Add the broccoli in a second layer before pouring in the chicken mixture. Top the dish with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, until the chicken and broccoli casserole is hot and bubbling. Be sure to let it stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Casseroles are a great option for weeknight meals, easy leftover lunches, and even dinner parties! They make cooking for a large group incredibly simple. This chicken and broccoli casserole is ideal for those gatherings at home where you want to enjoy a tasty, comforting meal without sacrificing your good nutrition and fit life. Plus, you, your siblings, and your cousins can reminisce about the good old days at grandma’s house!
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper plus additional as needed
- 2 cups water
- 1 pound broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieices
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 cups brown rice cooked
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×9 casserole dish and set aside.
Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan with the salt and pepper. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat before reducing the heat to a simmer. Cook until the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the water and let it sit until it’s cool enough to shred. It should make about two cups of shredded chicken.
Meanwhile, add the broccoli to the simmering water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bright green and tender-crisp. Remove the broccoli from the pot.
Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving 1-1/2 cups. Place the reserved cooking liquid back in the pan along with the cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, and celery salt. Simmer over medium heat until thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the thickened liquid from the heat and let it cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the thickened liquid, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, half of the shredded cheddar cheese, and the shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Spread the cooked brown rice in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add the broccoli in a second layer before pouring on the chicken mixture. Top the dish with the remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5
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If you make this healthy casserole and love it, we think you might also like to try these cleaned-up classics: