If you like the taste of having broccoli in a casserole, you'll like this. If you don't, ... just substitute another colorful vegetable.
From 'farmer days' when I'd have to figure out what things I could combine, put them into the oven (or, slow cookin' crock pot) and leave the house, we often had casseroles. After looking at any casserole recipe for a few minutes, I found there are plenty of ways to cut down the 'CREAMiness' by using lower fat ingredients. You can do the same with the recipe in this post-- look at the ingredients list and do what you want with it."I like that casserole where they leave some slices of raw crunchy potatoes in it." Glad you liked it, guy, but...those 'raw potatoes' just happend to be... water chestnuts! (Cute!)
Today's casserole ended up being more of a 'Whatever's Within Reach' casserole. It's a combination of things I wasn't so sure would go together-- hashbrown potatoes, celery, onions, broccoli, chicken, water chestnuts, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, milk, seasonings, a topping of more cheese and crushed potato chips. My biggest 'wonder' about this was in the combination of vegetables. It came together just fine.
When I had all the ingredients combined in a really large mixing bowl, I knew this wasn't going to fit into a 9x13 baking dish, so..................................I brought out the 'bigger one' (10x15-inch) and, as Goldilocks said about Baby Bear's porridge, "This one is JUST right!".
- 2 lb. frozen hashbrown potatoes (any style), thawed in refrigerator.
- 2-3 cups cooked chicken, cut into 1" pieces.
- 1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese (mild cheddar is a 'gooier' kind of cheese, and makes a better 'glue')
- 2 cups celery, finely chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 small can sliced water chestnuts (size ?-- it was a tad bit bigger than the 5 oz. cans of tuna). These aren't necessary. I just happen to like the extra bit of c-r-u-n-c-h they add here and there when included.
- 2 cans (10 and 3/4 oz.) cream of chicken soup (1 of the larger 26 oz.cans is more economical and, even if that is 'more in ounces', it works just as well)
- 1 and 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup sour cream (or, you could use same amount of low-fat mayonnaise)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt (because the potatoes aren't salted)
- 2 medium heads broccoli (separated into smaller florets and pre-steamed for about 5 minutes)
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (medium or sharp works well)
- 1-2 cups crushed potato chips, optional. (Since we pretty much swore off of potato chips in early 2011, they usually don't make it out of the store with me!) Today, though, I saw that I still had an unopened bag of Lay's Wavy's left from Christmas Eve, so... I used them on top of this casserole.)
- Combine the potatoes, chicken, first 1 and 1/2 cups grated cheese, celery, onion, water chestnuts in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine evenly.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the cream of chicken soup, milk, sour cream, pepper and salt until smooth.
- Pour the soup mixture over the combination in the large mixing bowl (potatoes, etc.). Stir to cover all.
- Add the pre-steamed broccoli florets and stir in gently.
- Put into a sprayed 10x15-inch baking dish*.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350-degrees for 1 hour** Then,...
- Uncover and top with remaining grated cheese and crushed potato chips IF you have some around.
- Return to oven for 15-20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
*Rather than use such a large baking dish, you could easily use two 'smallers' and put one in freezer for another time.
** I needed to put this casserole into the oven this morning and then leave home for a neighbor's funeral held in this very beautiful 'country style' church, about three miles from here...
Before I left home, I put this casserole (tightly covered) into a 295-degree oven and guessed it should be okay like that for the two hours I expected to be gone. When I got back home, I took it out, uncovered it and put the last grated cheese on the top-- and, the crushed chips on top of that. Turned the oven up to 375-degrees, put it back into the oven for maybe another 15 minutes, OR until top was showing tinges of being golden brown. Done!
I am happy to report that my 'official taste tester' (not my hubby) really liked this!