Casserole: improving the reputation

Newsletter - Oct15 zuchinni chicken casseroleGrowing up, we ate a lot of casserole in my family. To be honest, I never understood why until I was living on my own. Each week on Tuesday, my mother or father would plop the casserole dish on the table for us to guess what we’d be eating for the next few days. Sometimes we got lucky and it was tasty, other times it was a disaster which we found hard to choke down (seriously…spam and black beans?).

One of the favorites was always creamy chicken noodle casserole made with cans of cream of mushroom soup, a food additive that I don’t think anyone has ever used for soup. This meal was so popular, that I even had friends invite themselves for dinner when my mom made it. The chicken was always so tender and the topping was super crispy. Even thinking of it now it brings me right back to my childhood.

As an adult, I now understand the great gift of casserole. Everything in one dish so you don’t need to spend each night of the week cooking and shopping for food. Basically you put a whole bunch of stuff into a dish, stir, heat, and 45 minutes later you have yourself a meal. Of course without any cream of mushroom soup it seemed difficult to recreate. Instead, I updated my mom’s recipe. With a few slight modifications, it turned out to be a huge hit. This is the easiest dinner to make and pretty healthy, at least healthier than my mom’s.


 

Chicken casserole with zucchini

Ingredients

  • 2 large, grated zucchinis
  • 6-8 slices of bread (thick), cut into cubes
  • 800g boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or thighs (may substitute with cooked shredded chicken meat)
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 250g dry egg noodles (optional – if omitted use 250 less broth.)
  • 5g teaspoon dried thyme
  • 10g dried parsley
  • salt
  • 5g cayenne pepper (optional…but not in my house)
  • salt + pepper, taste
  • 200g gouda cheese, shredded
  • 750ml chicken broth
  • 125ml dry white wine (or more chicken broth)
  • 250g plain greek yogurt
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 handfuls of crushed cornflakes.

 

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease a 3L casserole dish
  • Grate zucchini onto clean towel lined plate and lightly salt. Let sit 10 min. After, gather towel up and gently squeeze liquid out and set remaining aside.
  • Cut chicken into large, thumb-sized pieces.
  • In a large bowl, loosely combine the following:
    • cubed bread
    • chicken
    • grated zucchini, cheese, onion, garlic, and carrot
    • dried noodles
    • herbs and spices
  • pour in broth and wine.
  • Mix greek yogurt and beaten eggs; add to dish.
  • With a clean hand, or spatula, gently mix everything together.
  • Pour into greased casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle the corn flakes over top the dish, cover with foil and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for 30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and the casserole is no longer jiggly. Remove and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Lastly

Sorry for two months of recipes with zucchini. I promise only one, maybe two more this year…