Monday, November 4, 2013

Cheesy Chicken

You know those go-to meals.  Those nights when you don't know what to make and don't have the energy to do much.  Or, those nights when you realize all your meat is frozen and you don't know what to do. This is the meal for you.  We have been having this meal for years, it has become almost comfort-food for us. It's a meal that's great for kids because the yummy cheese sauce can mask the healthiness of the broccoli. The creamy sauce also perfectly compliments the chicken and the rice.  And, there's so many ways to make this meal easier or more complex depending on what you're in the mood for. It started out as a can-meal type of recipe that I wanted to make a little more fresh. At the end of the recipe and description I will include tips on making this even quicker, although it's a pretty quick meal. Definitely an under-30 type of meal. Love that!

Cheesy Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen or fresh/thawed)
2 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1/2 c milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c chicken stock
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp curry powder
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 c broccoli florets
paprika (for color)

Heat your oven to 375F. Place your chicken pieces (they can be frozen, yeah!) in a 9 x 12 glass pan and place that in the oven once it reaches the proper temperature. As the chicken begins to bake, melt the butter in a pan.  Once melted, add the flour to make a paste, and then add the milk and chicken stock. Bring that to a boil and allow it to thicken a bit (you want a soup consistency).  Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat, Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile gather all of the other ingredients.

Once the chicken is no longer pink on the outside, pull it out of the oven.  Add the juices in the dish to the sauce you made in the pan. In the same pan, add the mayonnaise, the lemon juice, the curry powder, and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Place the broccoli in the glass dish around the chicken, and pour the completed sauce all over the chicken and the broccoli. Sprinkle the other 1/2 cup of cheese on top and finish it with a sprinkle of paprika.  Place it back in the oven and cook for another 30 minutes, or until your chicken is no longer pink.

This goes well with white rice, but it also tastes great with brown rice. I have used minute rice, bag-o-rice and wild grain rice.  They all taste great! I have also used frozen broccoli, which I usually heat separately rather than pouring into the chicken dish.

If you want to make this recipe even simpler, use a can of cream of chicken soup instead of the butter/flour/milk/stock in the pan step. I admit that I often use pre-shredded cheese and it turns out great, but you can also use freshly shredded cheese. Oh the possibilities; this meal is so flexible and friendly!  Hope you enjoy!