Thursday, June 3, 2010

One of my two favorite recipes of all time - Chicken Divan

For the longest time, this was my absolute FAVORITE food, bar none. Now, I have to say it is a tie between this recipe and braised oxtail (I will post that recipe tomorrow).

My Mom started making this when I was in Jr. High. It quickly became a family favorite. Every year on my birthday, my mother would ask what I wanted for dinner, and this was ALWAYS my choice! She usually only made the recipe once or twice a year, so it was definitely a special treat.

The recipe is kind of decadent, as are a lot of casseroles, but you do not have to eat a lot to be satisfied. It would make a perfect addition to a potluck dinner, as the recipe makes a really big pan full of creamy, cheesy goodness.

My Mom was not big on casseroles when we were growing up. In fact, I didn't even really know what a casserole was until I was in college, when I was asked by a friend if I could make her my "chicken casserole" recipe again (referring to my chicken divan)

As for me, I am a casserole queen. I love the convenience of a one dish meal. Plus, with the availability of healthier alternatives to most of the ingredients, I can lighten up the recipe when I want to.

This recipe is now a favorite of several of my friends who I have cooked it for, and I make it at least once every other month. I hope you enjoy this delicious, comforting casserole as much as I do!

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (depending on size)
2 10 oz boxes frozen chopped broccoli thawed
1 10 3/4 oz can cream of celery soup
2 10 3/4 oz cans cream of mushroom soup
1 canful of milk
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Black pepper
8 oz. Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put chicken in a large saute pan with lid. Cover with water, bring to a boil. Add lid, lower heat and simmer 15 minutes. Let cool enough to work with, then cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.

Spread the broccoli on the bottom of a large glass casserole dish. Spread chicken pieces evenly over the broccoli.

In a bowl, mix the cream of celery, cream of mushroom, milk, pepper and garlic powder until mostly smooth. Pour evenly over the chicken, and spread across the whole dish.

Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top. Cover with aluminum foil. Cook in 350 degree, preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Serve over white rice, or halved biscuits.