I’m going to share with you my family’s favorite casserole, named appropriately enough, “Chicken Erika”. It got its name from a recipe that I originally took from All Recipes called Chicken Kathleen in 2003, but since then I’ve changed it up a little to suit us and my husband changed it to my name. And now we have a little 3-year old who also loves it, and eats it up by the heaping pile.
This is one of the million variations of “Chicken Divan” that you’ll easily find….. a casserole commonly concocted out of chicken, broccoli, cheese, a “sauce” of some kind, and a breadcrumb topping. I’ve made this recipe in all the different ways you can possibly imagine, and after years of tinkering with it, I think this is the best.
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
2 chicken breasts
1 10-oz box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 can fat free reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
1 can fat free reduced sodium cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk, any kind
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1. In a rice cooker, or your favorite method, cook the jasmine rice. Later, preheat oven to 375. Dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and cook until no longer pink.
2. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, and evenly spread the rice on the bottom. Next, layer the bite-sized chicken over the rice. Next, evenly layer the broccoli over the chicken.
3. In a small bowl, combine the 2 cans of soup with the milk, and stir until incorporated. Spread this mixture evenly over the broccoli. Layer the shredded cheese on top of this layer.
4. Melt butter in a bowl in the microwave. To this bowl add the breadcrumbs, stir until thoroughly mixed, and evenly layer in the casserole dish as your final layer (it will be quite full at this point). Cover with foil (to keep the top from browning too much) and bake at 375 for 1 hour.
**TIP! This casserole takes FOREVER to cool down, so allow a good 30-45 minutes before you plan to eat it. Also, it dries out quickly so keep a loose cover on it when it’s sitting out.
A few notes:
- I do jasmine rice because I LOVE the fragrance and taste of it. Heavenly.
- Soup: I’ve tried 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, and it’s nice, but a little too chicken-y. One can each of chicken and mushroom seems to be a nice balance.
- For the cheese, use GOOD cheese. I notice a huge difference between store brand shredded cheddar, and say, Sargento’s. I even like to buy a nice block of cheddar and shred it myself, and avoid all that cornstarch in the pre-bagged stuff.
- Breadcrumbs…… I have tried every single kind there is, and we like Plain, or maybe Seasoned as a distant second. Italian flavor is a big NO. Panko is kind of nice, but way too delicate for all that butter. We’ve also tried Ritz cracker crumbs but I find it waaaaayyyyy too salty and buttery (the husband liked it, though).