Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole

Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole is real food meets comfort food. From scratch, quick and easy, and a big gentle hug loaded with good-for-you ingredients.

You guessed it… another easy chicken weeknight meal. That’s what happens when you buy a pack of chicken breasts from Costco. And right now, when it is so cold outside and literally on the verge of snow, nothing sounds more prefect that a bowl of creamy comfort food. So what happens when you have lots of chicken and craving comfort food? Creamy chicken, broccoli and quinoa casserole. Or in other words, the best casserole ever.


Well don’t cha know. This is soo tummy-rumbly-I’m-goonna-eat-the-whoole-thing good, ya shure you betcha.

Being from Minnesota, I feel the need to represent my Midwestern culture here on the blog with things like casseroles. Or more accurately: express my undying love. Which actually probably promotes the incorrect stereotype that all Minnesotans cover their doors and windows with plastic, bundle up in their warmest reindeer-patterned sweaters, walk around muttering “yeah shure you betcha” while proceeding to bake cozy casseroles and hot dishes all winter long. Oh wait. That’s, um, my life.


This casserole is made with fresh, healthy ingredients. I know what you are thinking, how is it healthy if it has cheese? Well a little cheese never hurt no one! This casserole is healthy because it uses real, wholesome ingredients from scratch. That means no canned goop soup full of preservatives and ingredients that you have never heard of. Juicy chicken, fresh broccoli and superfood quinoa, how can you can say no to that? Seriously… how?


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And so I proudly bring you today the food of my Midwestern upbringing… The Casserole. But it’s sort of a mashup of my past life and current, because, you know, QUINOA and everything.

Growing up Persian, I am no stranger to a stewy dish. However, baked casseroles weren’t really on the menu. I cannot believe how much I was missing out. If you are like me, and are kind of new to the casserole game, there is no better place to start than with a classic chicken and broccoli casserole. And why not make it healthy with real ingredients while you are it?

Ingredients
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk, 2 percent
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning, like Emeril's Original Essence
  • 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 6 cups fresh broccoli florets, separated
Preparation
To make the sauce:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Be generous because this casserole really sticks to the sides.
  2. Bring the chicken broth and 1/2 cup milk to a low boil in a saucepan.
  3. Whisk the other 1/2 cup milk with the poultry seasoning and flour; add the mixture to the boiling liquid and whisk until a smooth, creamy sauce forms.
To assemble the casserole:
  1. In a large bowl, mix the sauce from step 1 with 1 cup water, quinoa and bacon. Then stir to combine.
  2. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips and lay the chicken strips over the top of the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with the seasoning. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
  3. While the casserole is in the oven, place 6 cups of broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute until the florets turn bright green and then run them under cold water. Set aside. Save the rest of the broccoli in the refrigerator to use in this quiche recipe. 
  4. Remove the casserole from the oven, check the mixture by stirring it around in the pan and, if needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to get the right consistency.
  5. When the quinoa and chicken are cooked, and the sauce is thickened, add the 3 cups of broccoli and a little bit of water (up to one cup) until the consistency is creamy and smooth and you can stir it up easily in the pan.
  6. Top with the cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or just long enough to melt the cheese.

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