I am officially 1/6 of the way through goal #51 on my Day Zero Project list with this fifth recipe: French Chicken Broccoli Supreme. I have to say, I’m really enjoying #51, trying to make 30 new recipes that I’ve never made before. I have a lot of recipes that I’ve made over and over again in the past, that I’m very comfortable with, so it’s good to challenge myself and start learning new things.
Plus, thanks to my new obsession with Pinterest, all of these new recipes so far have been fantastic – and this one is no exception!
What first drew my eye to this recipe was that it has chicken and broccoli in it – one of my favorite combinations. The second thing was that the Pinterest pin advertised it as a casserole which does not use a “cream-of-soup” for the sauce. That really interested me, because those soups tend to be fairly unhealthy, full of salt and (other than the salt) rather bland. Looking at the recipe and seeing that the sauce is a cheese sauce was an added bonus.
Mmmmm cheese. I was intrigued. Hopeful. Tantalized.
French Chicken Broccoli Supreme
1 lb fresh broccoli – break into pieces and steam for two minutes.
3 cups cooked chicken breast – break into small pieces (I used 3 medium sized chicken breasts and cut them into smaller pieces and sautéed them in olive oil.
Once they were cookied - and slightly cooled - I started breaking them into even small pieces, kind of shredding them, with my hands until Chef Hubby took them away from me and used a knife to chop/shred them)
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 tubes Ritz crackers (I used a sprinkling of breadcrumbs)
1 stick melted butter (If you use breadcrumbs like me, you don’t need this)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (If you use breadcrumbs like me, you don’t need this)
1/3 cup butter – melted
¼ cup cornstarch – dissolved in ½ cup COLD water
1/3 cup chicken broth
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 cups Milk
1 ½ cups Cheddar cheese (Cheese in everything! Hooray!)
----à Before step #1 I recommend starting the cornstarch dissolving – see my comments on step #2
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In greased 13x9 pan, layer the broccoli and chicken and then set aside. Make sure you cook the broccoli long enough, but not so long that it’s limp. You want it to have some crispness to it because it’s also going to be cooking in the oven.
2. In saucepan over medium heat, combine the melted butter, cornstarch dissolved in water, chicken broth, seasonings, and milk. I had some momentary trouble here when I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to dissolve the cornstarch, so I had to do it kinda last second as everything was being combined and I’m pretty sure it didn’t dissolve all the way.
3. Stir well and continue stirring until sauce has thickened. It really will thicken too, I waited until it had gotten somewhat creamy until moving on to the next step. This part didn’t take long at all, it thickens fairly quickly.
4. Turn heat down to low and add 1 ½ cups of grated cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Pour over the chicken and broccoli and then top with the other 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese.
Om nom nom nom CHEESE!
5. Melt the butter and add the poppy seeds and stir well. Crush Ritz crackers in large ziplock bag with a rolling pin. Don’t crush too small. Add crumbs to the melted butter. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the grated cheese. I skipped this step and just sprinkled herb bread crumbs on top. There’s just so much unhealthiness to the crackers and butter… I’m sure it adds texture and flavor, but it was very tasty without it and much healthier. I didn’t sprinkle a lot of breadcrumbs on, maybe about half a handful.
6. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until hot & bubbly.
I got lots of compliments on this dish, which I served at a party. It was tasty, cheesy goodness, and I felt pretty healthy eating it (especially without the Ritz crackers and butter). I really enjoyed that the sauce was something I made, and I think that it made the entire dish taste fresher. I enjoyed leftovers for the rest of the week too, it re-heated very nicely.
Personally I could have done with just a tad more zip to the cheese sauce, so I think the next time I make this I’m going to use some sharp cheddar cheese instead of mild. Yum!