Make It Yourself Monday!
|Basil Chicken Casserole|
This super quick mid-week dinner recipe is a much healthier adaptation of your typical casserole. The low fat mushroom soup and low fat milk help to cut out a lot of the unnecessary fat typically coming from heavy cream sauces; while the veggies also add fibre. I used “No Yolks” pasta because it has a higher percentage of protein than regular pasta. The egg noodle yields a nicer texture for casseroles, but you can use whatever noodle you have around really. The heaps of basil and other spices help to add a bit more flavour to an otherwise bland sauce. Warning: This recipe will surely fill your comfort food void leaving you debating whether to eat the entire top off this casserole before anyone else gets their hands on it.
You could even go so far as to add the entire bag of frozen veggies if you are looking to add more to your veggie quota for the day. I used the japanese mix mostly because I love water chestnuts, but broccoli or cauliflower would also work really well with the basil and oregano. As well you could also sub in ground turkey, chicken, or pork for a difference in texture. For you veggies out there; you could also substitute the chicken for some marinated firm tofu in this recipe, and it would work quiet well. If you wanted to go completely veggie you could use low fat cream of broccoli soup, and use frozen broccoli and cauliflower for a creamy broccoli casserole. Quick snap before going into the oven!!
3 Heaping cups of egg noodles (used ‘no yolks’)
1 Can of cream of mushroom soup (low fat)
1/2- 1 Can of milk (for thinning of the sauce)
1/2 Bag of frozen veggies (your choice experiment)
1/2 Dozen Crackers (used wheat germ)
1-2 chicken breasts cooked and cubed
1 Cup of Shredded cheese (used Kraft 4 cheese Italiano).
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Spices (feel free to adapt to taste):
Basil ( I use A LOT of basil)
Chili flakes (just a pinch, two at most)
Fresh Ground Pepper
Cook chicken, and set aside. I used left over chicken in my the fridge from the day before, but you can easily cook some chicken breast and either cube it or cut into thin strips; it’s really your preference.
Heat a large pot of water on over high heat and bring to a roaring boil, and cook pasta according to directions. I use the “No Yolks” pasta for added protein.
While your noodle cook combine your spices, for the topping of your casserole. In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon each of basil, parsley, oregano. Add 1/2 tablespoon of garlic, and a pinch of chilli flakes to add some kick, and some ground pepper to taste. Now add your crushed up crackers, I used low fat wheat germ crackers (PC brand) because that’s what I had in the cupboard , but you can use anything really it’s just for crunch. I just put the crackers in a ziploc bag and slammed them with my metal measuring cup until they were in teeny tiny pieces; therapeutic and functional who knew?
When your noodles are finished (cook until el dente because they will soften further in the oven), drain and toss lightly in olive oil.
Using your big pot, toss noodles with veggies (I rinse them under cold water first just to thaw them out a bit), add can of mushroom soup, and 1/2 cup of skim milk or fat free soy and adjust to your preference; if sauce is too thick add some more milk, if too thin add parm cheese. Then add about a tablespoon of basil (or more it’s yummy), and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir all ingredients until everything is coated. Add about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese I used Kraft 4 Cheese Italiano, and about a tablespoon of parm cheese.
Pour all ingredients into a casserole dish, and add remaining cheese and spice/cracker topping. Try to cover as much of the top as possible.
Bake on 350 for 30-40 minutes. For the last 3-5 minutes broil on high to get the top crispy.
Happy casserole baking foodies!