On a busy weeknight a quick casserole is a healthy, easy, and filling dinner. I made this dish originally by combining fresh vegetables with sliced chicken and a can of cream of chicken soup. The result was good, but I felt guilty about using a can of processed cream of chicken soup. The next time I decided to use some of my homemade chicken broth to make my own creamy soup. After doing some research I found a few recipes that used corn starch and a lot of butter to thicken and flavor a seasoned broth. Then I found the good stuff, using vegetables to thicken seasoned broth. Cauliflower was a popular choice, but I turned to mushrooms to add more flavor depth to the casserole.
Ingredients for cream of mushroom puree:
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 Tbsp of butter or oil of choice
-3 sprigs of thyme, center stem removed
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 tsp celery powder
-1 clove of garlic, minced
-1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms (I used baby portabella, but you can use any fresh mushroom)
-1/4 cup of chicken stock (I used a homemade version)
-1/4 cup of coconut milk (whole fat from a can). If you eat dairy, you can use heavy cream.
Ingredients for casserole:
-2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, diced
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms
-3 cups of diced zucchini
-1 handful of kale, sliced into manageable pieces
-Fresh thyme to taste, center stem removed
-salt and pepper to taste
1. To make the mushroom soup/puree start by browning the diced onion in butter or oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until softened.
2. Add thyme, red pepper flakes, garlic, and celery powder. Stir for 1 minute until fragrant.
3. Add chicken stock and coconut milk, heat through but do not boil.
4. Pour mushroom mixture into the vitamix or another high power blender and blend until smooth.
5. In a casserole pan mix together vegetables, diced chicken, and mushroom puree. Season with salt and pepper lightly.
6. Place in oven at 375 for 35-45 minutes until chicken is baked through and browned.
6. Serve over brown rice or mashed potatoes.
You can use any vegetables of choice in the casserole such as carrots, celery, cauliflower, potatoes, brussel sprouts, or spinach. To make this vegetarian, skip the chicken and substitute vegetable broth in the puree. If you aren’t too into mushrooms, try steamed cauliflower in place of the mushrooms in the puree.