Sunday, April 19, 2015

Creamy Chicken Broccoli and Quinoa Casserole Revamped

I really should have learned this lesson by now: ALWAYS USE THE LARGER CASSEROLE DISH. Especially when I plan on using about twice as much chicken as the recipe calls for because the meat is about to go bad and needs to be cooked now or never. I did heed my previous lesson "It always takes at least twice as long as it says it will" and prepared a few things in advance before heading into work so I'd save time when I got home, so good on me there.

Here is the recipe I followed and modified to suit my needs, which I will detail below.

First up, I didn't have poultry seasoning, which is a little unlike me. Since moving in with Greg over two years ago, a lot of my cooking habits have changed. Because Greg is allergic to chicken broth (one of my former staples also), we decided to substitute Herbes de Provence for the poultry seasoning. Naturally, this gave it a different flavor than the original recipe - a great one! It did require me to add some salt later, but that's no biggie. I also left out the bacon and used the last of a block of cheddar that was wanting to mold in the fridge.

Believe it or not, but nothing really went wrong with this recipe. I had exactly enough quinoa (the reason that I chose this recipe to begin with - that quinoa had been sitting in our cupboard far too long), nothing bubbled over or made a mess. I just had to switch to the larger casserole dish because there wasn't enough room for the broccoli, but since the chicken was already mostly cooked and the sauce had thickened, this really wasn't a mess and nothing went wrong. Broccoli was added, cheese was shredded over-top, and the whole thing was popped back in the oven for another ten minutes.

I loved this casserole. I see a lot of potential for additions and substitutions here, too. Instead of Herbes de Provence, we could use any of a number of herb collections in our cupboard, and trust me when I saw there are a lot. Red pepper flakes could add a kick, maybe some African smoke.

I love recipes that let me play! I just think of a list of ingredients as guidelines rather than Gospel. If I am ever feeling stuck in a recipe, or don't think I can afford to go out and buy a bunch of ingredients I may never use again, there is always another way. ADVENTURE!

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