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Chicken-Broccoli Bake

I confess that our family does love a good casserole, and this one was no exception. The kiddos the Sweetie Pie husband all agreed that it was delicious, and I’m thrilled to have two more in the freezer! It seems like a pretty predictable casserole recipe, but the cream sauce is homemade, not from a can, and it’s spiced up a bit with curry powder. The dinner table in our house gave it a big thumbs up.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I wanted to be sure to invite everyone back next Wednesday to participate in the Big Giveaway! Lindsay has kindly sent me an (autographed!) copy of Fix, Freeze, Feast to be given away to a lucky reader! I’m so excited. I hope you are, too. We’ll open the comments for entries next Wednesday and you’ll have a week to enter. We’ll announce the lucky winner the following Wednesday.

Until then, on with the yumminess….

Chicken-Broccoli Bake

Source: Fix, Freeze, Feast by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik

Grocery List

  • 6 pounds boneless, skinless chicken half-breasts
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 pound fresh white mushrooms cleaned and sliced
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 6 cups broccoli pieces (about 1 1/4 pounds) washed
  • 6 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • one-gallon freezer bags label 3
  • one-quart freezer bags

1. Rinse and trim chicken as desired. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Divide cooled chicken evenly among the three unlabeled 1-gallon freezer bags.

Our local natural grocer sells 3 pound bags of naturally raised chicken breast. It’s expensive so I don’t use it very often. But I picked up two bags to try out this recipe. I’m thinking that next time I might try the recipe with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or a mixture of breasts and thighs, just to make it a little bit cheaper. I don’t think the integrity of the dish would be compromised one little bit.

I finally got wise this time, and labelled my bags before beginning the cooking. I usually run out of steam by the end of the cooking and just throw the bags in the freezer. But I so love having them labelled, so that if the Sweetie Pie is cooking dinner one night the instructions are right on the bag. No need to go hunting down the recipe. Labeling them beforehand was a smart move, and now I do it that way every time.

2. While chicken cools, melt butter in a separate large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir. Mixture will be lumpy. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add bouillon, curry powder, and pepper; stir. Gradually add water and milk; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Whisk to make a smooth sauce. Add lemon juice only after sauce has thickened. Cool sauce.

I love that the recipe doesn’t use canned condensed soup for the cream sauce. I so love a good homemade cream sauce! This one is super simple, so don’t be intimidated.

I substituted our fresh-ground whole wheat flour for the all-purpose, which tends to make the sauce just a little less thick, but still thick enough for our taste. I also substituted chicken broth for the chicken bouillon and water. This worked great, except that I forgot to add in some salt and the end result came out a little bland. If you decide to use chicken broth, be sure to season it before putting it into the bags.

When you’re making a cream sauce, if you add your liquid too quickly you’ll end up with big lumps that are hard to get rid of. The technique here is to add a small amount, and whisk it in completely. Then add a bit more, and whisk it in completely. I added the chicken broth and milk in 3-4 slow additions, whisking the whole time.

You can certainly used jarred lemon juice, but I always prefer the brightness of fresh lemon juice so chose to use that. I like to squeeze my lemons through a sieve over the pot to catch any stray seeds.

3. Divide cooled sauce evenly over the chicken. Measure 2 cups of broccoli pieces into each bag of chicken and sauce. Seal bags.

I used a 2 pound bag of frozen broccoli and divided it evenly among the bags. You can certainly use fresh broccoli, but I was willing to sacrifice some flavor and texture for ease of preparation.

4. Measure 2 cups cheese and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs into each o the three 1-quart freezer bags. Seal bags.

I tend to keep fresh breadcrumbs on hand, whizzing stale bread in the food processor whenever it’s laying around. For whatever reason, I didn’t have any in the fridge this time. Most breadcrumbs are full of all kinds of weird preservatives and flavor enhancers. I found a nice variety at our local natural grocers that contains only bread and some herbs.

I also was running a little short on the cheddar cheese, so I ended up with about one cup of cheese in each bag. It seemed to be enough, but of course more cheese is always merrier.

5. Place one bag of chicken/broccoli and one bag of cheese/breadcrumb mixture into each labeled 1-gallon bag. Seal and freeze.

TO COOK:

1. Completely thaw one entree in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Place chicken and broccoli mixture in an ungreased baking dish and sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.

A regular old 9×13 baking dish worked well for me. Though a smaller, deep-dish casserole would also be delicious.

Oh, and guess what? I also found time to make that frittata recipe again (this time I really used asparagus, too). So now I have two bags of frittata in the freezer. Hooray!

Freezer Tally:

  • 3 bags of Red Sauce
  • 2 bags of Spanish Rice
  • 2 bags of Asparagus and Potato Frittata (hooray!)
  • 1 bag of Ginger Beef
  • 1 bag of Oatmeal, Coconut, and Mango Cookies
  • 2 bags of Chicken-Broccoli Bake

Print Recipe

Chicken-Broccoli Bake

Makes 3 entrees, 4-6 servings each.

Source: Fix, Freeze, Feast by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds boneless, skinless chicken half-breasts
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 pound fresh white mushrooms cleaned and sliced
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 6 cups broccoli pieces (about 1 1/4 pounds) washed
  • 6 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 6 one-gallon freezer bags label 3
  • 3 one-quart freezer bags

Directions

  1. Rinse and trim chicken as desired. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Divide cooled chicken evenly among the three unlabeled 1-gallon freezer bags.
  2. While chicken cools, melt butter in a separate large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir. Mixture will be lumpy. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add bouillon, curry powder, and pepper; stir. Gradually add water and milk; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Whisk to make a smooth sauce. Add lemon juice only after sauce has thickened. Cool sauce.
  3. Divide cooled sauce evenly over the chicken. Measure 2 cups of broccoli pieces into each bag of chicken and sauce. Seal bags.
  4. Measure 2 cups cheese and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs into each o the three 1-quart freezer bags. Seal bags.
  5. Place one bag of chicken/broccoli and one bag of cheese/breadcrumb mixture into each labeled 1-gallon bag. Seal and freeze.

TO COOK:

  1. Completely thaw one entree in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. Place chicken and broccoli mixture in an ungreased baking dish and sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.

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  Leave a Reply

 
  • I made this ahead and found that while everything else is good, my broccoli had a bitter taste to it, giving the dish a very unappetizing smell and slightly off taste. I’ve read up on freezing fresh broccoli, and the sites suggest blanching broccoli before you freeze it to avoid this problem. I’d suggest altering this recipe to add that step, or better yet, just call for already frozen broccoli. I wish I would have had some when I made it! Sadly I have to throw out 3 bags of this as I can’t see eating this again.

    Reply
    Katherina January 29, 2017 AT 6:04 pm
     
  • Just baked this up for the first time and it is fantastic! Looking forward to baking the other bag I have in the freezer! Thank you!

    Reply
    Andria January 14, 2017 AT 2:54 pm
     
  • Wow! I made this tonight, and it was delicious! Even my picky child and my mom, who doesn’t love curry flavor, gobbled it up. Can’t wait to thaw another one in a few weeks!

    Reply
    Amy March 24, 2014 AT 7:26 pm
     
  • We’ve made this recipe several times and absolutely love it. I used my own homemade curry powder, since it’s favors are adjusted so my children eat it, and I substitute panko crumbs for bread crumbs. DELICIOUS!

    Reply
    Kim V. August 4, 2012 AT 4:03 pm
     
  • mmmmm…thank you

    Reply
    Debra Kapellakis April 21, 2012 AT 3:37 am
     
  • Why do you freeze all the ingredients separately instead of just assembling the a casserole dish or an aluminum pan and freeing it ready? Wouldn’t it be easier to take it out of freezer and put the casserole into the oven??

    just wondering…

    thanks
    tereza

    Reply
    tereza crump aka MyTreasuredCreations April 18, 2012 AT 6:14 pm
     
    • Tereza,
      I can’t say for sure, but I can say that for me and my freezer the ziploc bags are easier to freeze, take up less room in my freezer, and less likely to get freezer burned. Plus it’s much easier to come up with several ziploc bags as opposed to several casserole dishes. I would guess that if freezing it in the dish is your preference that that could work, too. Let us know if you try it. :)

      Reply
      Erin April 18, 2012 AT 7:10 pm
       
  • I love Fix, Freeze and Feast! It’s one of my very favorite cookbooks. I love that you are featuring their recipes. I recommend the basil balsamic pork chops and the cherry skillet chicken as well. The breakfast burritos have been a long time hit in my home, and my best friend raves about them as the perfect food to bring to a new mom.

    Reply
    Demanda April 18, 2012 AT 7:42 am
     


 

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