Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

I love making casseroles, because it usually means I only have to dirty 1 or 2 dishes, which makes for an easy clean up.  One of our favorite restaurants here in Hendersonville is Cheddars, which serves American food.  It can be compared with Chili’s or something like that.  Anyway, the have the most amazing broccoli cheese casserole side dish!  It is like heaven in your mouth!  So I attempted to recreate it, and in the process added some chicken so that we could eat it as a main dish.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 bag (8 oz) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 1 can of Campbell’s Condensed Broccoli Cheese Soup (I didn’t have any, so I used cream of chicken soup)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or more if you like)
  • 1 cup instant rice, uncooked (can also use 1 cup of regular cooked rice)
  • 1/3 cup crushed Ritz crackers (about 1 sleeve)
  • 2 tsp melted butter
  • salt & pepper

Start by dicing up some chicken and tossing it in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Season with salt and pepper. (You can also use shredded or rotisserie chicken)

Thaw your broccoli in the microwave (per package instructions) and place in a large bowl.

Add broccoli cheese soup, or in my case, cream of chicken.

Pour the milk into the bowl.

Next comes my favorite ingredient — freshly grated cheddar cheese.  Yum!  I can never grate this cheese without eating a handful.

Mix it all together, and then add the instant rice.  The rice shouldn’t be cooked at this point, because it will cook with everything else in the oven (unless you’re using regular rice, in which case it should be cooked first).

Stir until everything is thoroughly combined.

Next, add your cooked chicken and stir to combine.  It’s ok if the chicken isn’t completely cooked through since it will continue baking in the oven.

Place the mixture into a baking dish.  You can always double or triple the recipe depending on how many people you are feeding (wow, that is really stating the obvious, isn’t it?).

Next, take some Ritz crackers (I used whole wheat cuz I’m super healthy like that) and place them in a Ziploc bag.  You’ll want enough to cover the top of the casserole.

You can use a mallet to crush the crackers, but I found that using my fingers was just as easy.

Melt your butter and pour it into the bag with the crumbs.  Close the bag and mix the crumbs around with the butter so that all the crumbs are covered in butter.  This will help the top get nice and crispy and brown.

Scatter the crumbs on top of your casserole.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until the top is hot and bubbly.

Serve and enjoy!  Don’t those crunchy, crumbly bits look delish!?

Beef Bites and Broccoli


I was browsing through The Pioneer Woman’s blog….as usual, and I stumbled upon these delectable looking beef bites.  And let me tell you, they were as mouth-watering as they looked!  And so simple!  All you need is beef, butter, salt, and pepper.  I decided to pair it with some fresh broccoli…mostly because it was on sale at the grocery store, but it tasted great!  Here’s how I made it.


Start with some standard beef, top sirloin would work great.  I found these nifty beef strips in the butcher section, and I figured, the less chopping I had to do the better!


If you didn’t buy the beef already in strips, go ahead and cut them into strips yourself and line them up in a nice row.


Then cut the other way so that you create nice little bite sized pieces.


Season generously with salt and pepper, and then roll them around so every side gets an equal amount of seasoning.  Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty…that just adds to the fun!


Next heat a pan over medium-high heat.  You want the pan nice and hot to sear the meat pretty quickly so it’s nice and crisp on the outside and soft and wonderful on the inside.  Add the butter BEFORE THE PAN IS SCREAMING HOT!!!  I didn’t do this at first and completely burned my butter as you can see.  Had to wash the pan and start all over.  Oh well, you live and you learn!


Ahh, this is much better.  A nice slow melt.  You do want the butter to get a little brown, though.  The more butter the better in my opinion. 🙂


Next, when the pan is nice and hot, add the meat.  It should sizzle really loudly when it hits the pan.  You may want to turn on the fan and open the windows.


Let the meat sit for about 45 seconds without touching it.  You want it to get nice and brown and crispy on that side.  After 45 seconds has passed, take a spatula and flip the meat over to sear the other side.


You want to leave a little pink to give it a soft, wonderful texture with an amazing flavorful crispy outside.


Transfer to a plate and drizzle remaining butter from the pan onto the meat.  Next, use your fingers and pick up a piece of meat and insert it into your mouth.  Try not to eat the entire plate….it’ll be hard bu you can do it!!!


Now for the broccoli.  Chop broccoli into bite sized pieces, or maybe a little larger.  Boil some water and add broccoli.  Cook for about a minute or two.  You want to cook the broccoli all the way through but maintain it’s crunchy texture.




Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into the same pan you cooked the meat in.  You should still have a little butter on the pan, and that will add SO much flavor to the broccoli.


Toss in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for about a minute and transfer to your plate!


Once it’s on your plate, insert into your mouth and enjoy!!!!  Your taste buds will thank you for the butter!