#MakeItClean: Creamy Chicken Casserole

#MakeItClean: Creamy Chicken Casserole from eMeals

 

We gave eMeals writer Ashley Strickland Freeman a recipe challenge: Convert an eMeals classic favorite, Creamy Chicken Casserole, into a Clean Eating-approved recipe. Armed with a recipe and willing taste-testers, we sent her to the kitchen. Here’s the result!

We all have our favorite comfort foods, those that we have to have, whether for the holidays or to satisfy a craving. A common misconception about Clean Eating is that you have to deprive yourself of these yummy, “unclean” dishes. However, most of the time, it’s possible to do a “clean up” of the recipe and make it with Clean Eating-approved ingredients.

Related: Clean Eating Pantry List

My #MakeItClean challenge this week was to develop a clean version of a classic favorite: Creamy Chicken Casserole. Both recipes are below!

CLASSIC RECIPE

This family-friendly casserole uses convenience products with the addition of fresh celery, onion, and garlic, and is the perfect dish to bring to a friend who has just had a baby or to enjoy during the week when schedules are busy.

Classic Creamy Chicken Casserole
 
Conveniently, one rotisserie chicken from the deli department of the grocery store yields about 31/2 to 4 cups of shredded chicken. You may also use shredded leftover chicken or turkey if you have it on hand.
Recipe By:
eMeals Plan: Classic
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 (10¾-oz) can cream of chicken soup
  • 11/2 cups sour cream
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 (14-oz) pkg herb stuffing mix
  • 31/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic; sauté until tender. Add chicken broth; stir until blended, and remove from heat. Whisk soup and sour cream into onion mixture, and set aside.
  3. Pour butter over stuffing mix, and stir to combine. Pour half of stuffing mix on bottom of a greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with shredded chicken. Pour soup mixture over chicken; top with remaining stuffing mix. Bake 30 minutes.

 

#MakeItClean: Creamy Chicken Casserole from eMeals

CLEAN EATING RECIPE

And here’s the Clean Eating counterpart. Whole-wheat flour and breadcrumbs sub in for store-bought herb stuffing mix, and a homemade sauce replaces the traditional canned soup with equally creamy results!

Clean Eating Creamy Chicken Casserole
 
Some grocery stores carry organic rotisserie chickens. If yours does, pick one up and use it for the 31/2 cups shredded chicken called for in the recipe. You can also use shredded leftover chicken, or bake 3 small chicken breasts at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes and shred it once it has cooled slightly.
Recipe By:
eMeals Plan: Clean Eating
Ingredients
  • 5 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (about 10 oz from a 16-oz loaf of bread)
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage (or use 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or use 1 tsp dried)
  • ½ cup butter, divided
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 21/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped organic celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 11/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
  • 31/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp oil, sage and thyme on a greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once, until breadcrumbs are dry.
  2. Meanwhile, melt ¼ cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour. Slowly whisk in broth, stirring until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic; sauté until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken broth mixture and sour cream.
  4. Melt remaining butter; add to breadcrumbs. Pour half of breadcrumb mixture on bottom of a greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with shredded chicken. Pour chicken broth mixture over chicken; top with remaining breadcrumb mixture. Bake 30 minutes.

Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to see cleaned up? Let us know in the comments section!

– Text by Ashley Strickland Freeman

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