Taking inspiration from an old favorite casserole my mom used to make, and turning it into this healthier chicken broccoli cheddar quinoa casserole.
This casserole is honestly this simplest dish ever. It’s one of those recipes you crave on nights when you need something hearty, but want something healthy too. I hate to chat weather, but over here our nights have been turning colder with each passing day. Come morning we’ll have frost on the ground. Now, I know it’s totally still summer and all, and we’ve been having gorgeous mid 70 degree days, but I’m feeling as though we are slowly starting to ease our way into fall. After all, September is just days away, meaning fall is literally right around the corner…and practically knocking at the door…
A little too wordy there? Probably, but I dunno, I think it sounds kind of catchy.
Moving right along…my point here is that this is the perfect recipe to transition us from summer to autumn. It’s totally healthy, but yet feels totally cozy at the same time. It’s good on a warm night, but also awesome for those first few crisp nights that will slowly be creeping in.
Speaking of which, does the start of crisp nights excite you guys like they excite me? For as much as I love summer, I am also so excited for fall. Fall is without a doubt my favorite season. And with the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook being a fall release, I am especially excited for this coming autumn. So much to be thankful for and to be looking forward to. Now, I just need to keep saying this twenty times over in my head to block out all those other anxious feelings. Still so excited though!
You guys, this book is out exactly TWO WEEKS from today! This book has been almost three years in the making, I cannot wait. If you have yet to pre-oder a copy, you can do so here. Just sayin’.
Okay. Sorry. Back to this healthy casserole!
Typically when I think of casseroles, I think of them as a cozy, but probably not that healthy of a meal. With this casserole I really wanted to create a casserole that was both cozy and healthy.
Enter this cheesy chicken broccoli quinoa casserole.
Instead of using a bunch of canned ingredients, I decided to keep the recipe simple and straight forward by using boneless chicken breasts, a little milk, chicken broth, quinoa, mushrooms, and plenty of broccoli. I used thyme as my flavor enhancer and just a pinch of garlic. I finished everything off with a sprinkle of cheddar (because I love the combo of broccoli and cheddar so much) and done.
All (mostly) good for you ingredients, and all ingredients you may even have on hand right this second. <–hello pantry staples!
One of my favorite parts about this recipe though?
ONE SKILLET. Yesssss! Truly nothing better than an entire dinner all made in one skillet. Just makes life, especially busy weeknight life, so much easier.
And lastly? This is the perfect comfort meal to make just about any day better. The real reason I made this was for my sweet mom. Since my grandma’s passing, I have been making a conscious effort to make her some of her personal favorites. Chicken and rice, and broccoli and cheddar, are two of her all time favorites, so this casserole was really for her.
Verdict? She LOVED it.
Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups roughly chopped broccoli
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus more for topping
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the broiler to high.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
3. To the skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is fragrant and the mushrooms have caramelized, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute.
4. Slowly pour in the milk and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the quinoa, broccoli, thyme, and garlic powder. Stir back in the chicken. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Transfer to the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
5. Top with fresh thyme and EAT!
The perfect balance of healthy…and cheesey.