Chicken and Broccoli

Alrighty.  I have returned to the land of the living.  It has been a bumpy two weeks trying to get over that wickedly awful germ that I caught on vacation.  There’s nothing quite like illnesses that you get in another country…or on a cruise ship.

Anyway, as soon as I started feeling a little better I started thinking about homesy kinds of foods.  Some of it was comfort food like fried chicken or biscuits, but some of it was food that mother figures in my life have made.  You know, the kind of food that says, “The earth beneath your feet is solid because the woman who taught you to cook this food loves you.”  That’s the way things are with this chicken and broccoli.  I first had it at my mother in-law’s house before I was married.  She used left-over Thanksgiving turkey instead of chicken in it.  I later made it for my own mom and it has become one of her favorite meals.  Mom often asks me to make it for her when I invite her over for dinner.  It makes her happy.

I am twice blessed to have a mother in-law who shared this recipe with me and to have a mother for whom I can make this meal.  Yesterday was my first real meal since I got home from vacation, cooked in my own home, in my own kitchen, by me.  I chose it because it says there are mothers who love me and whom I love in return.  Afterall, when we are sick we often think about how nice it was when we were little and sick and Momma would take care of us.  At least that’s the way I feel when I am sick.

Chicken and Broccoli
Recipe adapted from my mother in-law, Mavis

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat diced into smallish bite-sized pieces or about 4 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 3 heads fresh broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces or 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen broccoli spears

The sauce

  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup (undiluted) (I used the low sodium/less fat)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used fresh, but bottled is fine)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheese (can use more or less depending on personal preference–I used more!)

Topping

  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko, but in the past I have also used Italian and plain–I liked panko the best)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
  2. If using fresh broccoli, steam until crisp tender.  If using frozen broccoli, cook according to package directions.
  3. Lightly spray 9″ x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray such as Pam.
  4. Place broccoli in bottom of baking dish.  Lightly season broccoli with salt, to taste.
  5. Scatter chicken dices evenly over top of broccoli.
  6. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the soups, mayonnaise, and lemon juice.  Stir in the cheese.
  7. Spread sauce mixture evenly over the chicken.
  8. For the topping: Mix together the breadcrumbs and melted butter.  Sprinkle evenly over the sauce.
  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes in a 375-degree oven until hot and bubbly.

Serve with a salad and rolls.

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