I love casseroles, but (at least for me) they are always a guilty pleasure type of meal. Usually casseroles are so creamy, cheesy, and delicious, but also so unhealthy. My favorite GF casserole is seriously irresistible, but it doesn’t really have much nutritional value. This casserole is like magic. It tastes so bad, but is really so good!
The major components in this casserole are whole foods: just some pan seared chicken, quinoa, and steamed broccoli. Sounds boring, but then it’s all topped with a creamy cheesy topping. And, get this, rather than just dumping on some sour cream or cream cheese, this sauce is made from scratch from milk and parmesan. All together = yum!
Obviously, we thoroughly enjoyed this casserole because at the end of the meal this was all that was left:
There’s a got bit of prep work involved in this casserole because everything is fully cooked before it is combined and put in the oven. This makes for a great make ahead of freezer meal. My instructions here are for prep immediately followed by baking. If you do prepare this ahead of time, or freeze it, just increase the bake time until the casserole is heated through. If you have questions about the cooking process let me know and I’ll help you out!
Happy healthy eating! And happy beginning of October!
Chicken, Broccoli & Quinoa CasseroleIngredients
- 3/4c dry quinoa
- 1 1/4c water
- 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into florets
- 3 large chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbs salted butter
- 2 small shallots, minced
- 1 Tbs all purpose GF flour
- 3/4c milk (I’ve used almond milk and skim milk)
- 3/4c chicken stock
- 3/4c shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4c basil, finely chopped
Quinoa & Broccoli
- Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. When the water, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes.
- While quinoa is cooking, steam the broccoli florets. (My steaming method: Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water. Place a steamer basket in the pan and fill it with the broccoli. Cover, and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling (which will happen in just a couple of minutes), reduce heat to a simmer. When broccoli is soft, after about 5 minutes, depending on how large the florets are, remove from heat and drain it).
- Roughly chop the cooked broccoli and combine with the cooked quinoa
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces to the pan.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
- In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the shallots to the melted butter and cook for a few minutes, until shallots have softened.
- Stir the flour into the butter/shallot mix.
- Very slowly, add the milk and chicken stock into the pan while stirring. Start with just a tablespoon of liquid at a time, making sure it is entirely absorbed before you add more. As the mixture looks more liquid-y than solid you can add more and more liquid.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. It probably take between 5 and 10 minutes. When the mixture is thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese, garlic powder, and basil
- Preheat oven to 400° F
- Place chicken in the bottom of a large casserole dish (or use several smaller dishes – great for freezing). Top with quinoa and broccoli, and finally with the cheese sauce.
- Cook for about 10 minutes to let everything heat through (or longer, if baking from refrigerator or oven. In this case, put the baking dish in the oven while it is preheating, also).