Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chicken-Broccoli Casserole

Every once in a while, I come across a recipe from my early years of cooking (when I was cooking for kids) that catches my eye and makes my mouth water to remember. Such was the case when I was visiting with Mom in June. My sister-in-law and I were looking at Mom's cookbooks, which of course, hold many memories, not only because of the foods she made, but for the occasions and people that she made them*. One of the cookbooks was put together by a local community group, and had several of my own early recipes in it, notably my favorite Bacon-Spinach Salad, a recipe for Spanokopita that I remember being given by a friend in Calgary about 35 years ago and which became such a family favorite that my sons continue to make for their families for all special dinners .... and this recipe for Chicken-Broccoli Casserole. I was so excited to have those early recipes again, that my sister-in-law and I drove all the way to the Shoppers in the mall to get photocopies of those particular recipes. I had brought them home and filed them in with my "to make soon" pile (which seems to grow by the day) and then didn't get around to putting them on the menu until this last week. Beginning with this super-easy and super delicious (at least I remembered it that way) dish of baked chicken and broccoli.

Chicken-Broccoli Casserole


1. Since there are only two of us, I halved the recipe and it made enough for 4 good sized servings (for us it made 6 perfect servings ... I froze the extra servings for fast meals later)
2. I baked a whole chicken, and used half of the meat for this recipe and saved half for another.
3. I used the drippings from the chicken to make the cream of chicken soup. (As an aside, I can't help but wonder what it says about the diet of a small jungle community and the effectiveness of global advertising, that the only two types of canned soup that you can buy here are Campbell's Chicken Broth and Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup ... both used, as it seems they are all over the world, as ingredients for cooking, and not as soup)


3 lbs. frying chicken
2 fresh bunches of broccoli
1 cup mayonaise
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. melted butter


1. Cook or boil chicken ... cool ... debone

2. Steam broccoli until desired doneness ... drain

3. Grease 11 X 7 inch casserole dish

4. Place a layer of chicken on bottom of casserole dish.

5. Place the broccoli in a layer over the chicken.

6. Combine mayonaise, soup, curry and lemon juice.

7. Pour sauce mixture over the broccoli layer.

8. Combine crumbs with cheese and melted butter and sprinkle over the top. ( I took a bit of a shortcut here, and just put pats of butter on top of the crumb/cheese mixture).

9. Bake at 350' F for 30 minutes.


It was just as good as I remembered it! As a matter of fact, E. loved it too and has asked that it become one of our regular meals (the highest recommendation!).

Its fast and easy to prepare (even faster and easier if you go the canned soup route), freezes well and tastes even better when re-heated. Its pure homey comfort food!!

* I've been noticing lately how many of my memories are based around food and how often the sight, smell or thought of food will trigger a memory of some long ago event. In fact, its hard to even think of a memory that I have that doesn't revolve in some way around food. I wonder if food is a trigger of memories for all of us?

An Addendum: What are the chances that two bloggers would pick the same recipe from the past to cook/blog in the same week? I just discovered that Drew at How to Cook Like Your Grandmother, has just posted the same dish! Which I also discover is called Chicken Divan (I've heard of Chicken Divan before, but had never realized that it is the same as my Chicken-Broccoli Casserole).


Anne, it looks like your version had much more soup for the amount of chicken and bread crumbs than mine did. Which is probably a good thing. (Actually I think our problem was that the pan was too doggone big, so everything settled too much and wasn't thick enough.)

As for the memories of food, I've seen studies confirming that smell is more directly tied to memory than our other senses. They figure we evolved that way so that we would remember what foods were good to eat and which ones weren't. Now that we (mostly) aren't worried about food safety, it just means we are hard-wired to remember pleasant food events more than non-food events.

In Andorra I could get Cream of Chicken (yes, Campbells) made with white wine - it was fantastic!
And your casserole looks fantastic, too.

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