Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicken Divine

Chicken Divine (pronounced Chicken 'Divan'), is a casserole made with chicken and brocoli, and it is a great and super easy weeknight meal! In fact, this time that I made it, I worked a 9 hour day, then picked up my car from the mechanic shop, and STILL had time to make this easy and delicious dinner.

This time, I tried something new-- I actually replaced some of the original ingredients with healthier options and the end result tasted EXACTLY THE SAME as the original recipe!! Though it sounds healthy, being a chicken and broccoli dinner, some of the ingredients in the sauce could be made healthier. I was nervous because it makes a large casserole dish worth of food and if this healthy makeover didn't turn out well.... it would have been a loooong week of forcing leftovers :) But you would never know that some of the original calorie and fat laden ingredients had been omitted! Peter wanted it again for dinner the next night AND he wanted me to pack it for lunch to take to work with him! This was a successful healthy makeover. 

I have underlined just a couple of the BIG changes in the recipes below so you can have both the original recipe as well as the healthier version so that you can be able see where some of the ingredients were altered:

Serves 6-8:

Healthy-Makeover Recipe:
2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, cooked & cubed
2 lbs fresh Broccoli, chopped (or 2 bags frozen broccoli)
1 cup shredded Swiss Cheese
1 cup shredded Longhorn Cheese (or a mild white cheddar)
1/4 tsp Curry Powder
One 8oz. container of Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
2/3 cup light Mayonnaise
1 can low sodium Cream of Celery Soup
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 Tbsps Butter, melted (I know this part isn't healthy, but it is optional... necessary in my opinion though :)

Original Recipe:
2 lbs Chicken, cooked & cubed
2 packages frozen Broccoli
1 cup shredded Swiss Cheese
1 cup shredded Longhorn Cheese
1/4 tsp Curry Powder
One 8oz. container of Sour Cream
2/3 cup Mayonnaise
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
2-3 cups bread crumbs
4 Tbsps Butter 

Just by switching...
  1. sour cream to nonfat plain greek yogurt you will save: 334 calories, 45 g fat, & 26 g saturated fat
  2. regular mayo to light mayo you will save: 534 calories, 64 g. fat, & 6 g. saturated fat
  3. 2 tbsps of butter less for the crumb topping, you will save: 200 calories, 22 g. fat, & 14 g. sat. fat

...Cutting a grand total of 1,068 calories, 131 grams of fat, & 46 grams of saturated fat

Okay, now down to business... Start by making the sauce; mix the cheeses, cream of celery soup, greek yogurt, light mayo, and curry powder. 

 In a large casserole dish lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray, layer the chopped broccoli...
 ...then the cooked/chopped chicken...
 ...then top with the sauce mixture.

 Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes until the top just starts to turn golden...
While the casserole is baking in the oven, make the bread crumb mixing the bread crumbs (I pulsed together some seasoned bread cubes and panko) and the melted butter.

After the casserole has been cooking for about 25-30 minutes and the top just starts to turn golden...
 Pull it out of the oven, top it with the buttered bread crumbs, and return it to the oven for just enough time to allow the bread crumbs to turn golden brown (about 10 minutes)

After about 10 minutes: 

It is HOT, so let it sit for a few minutes to cool down, and also to let it set up or else it will run all over your plate if you try to serve it before it has set.

It doesn't exactly serve in a typical, perfect, casserole-like square serving size... In fact it is easier to scoop servings with a large serving spoon rather than a spatula.

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