I have very fond memories of my mom making Chicken Divan casserole throughout my childhood. The recipe she used was based on one from Aunt Treva, my grandfather’s sister, and had lots of “cream of” soups included to make the sauce. It was always yummy, but I decided that I wanted to create a healthier version.
When searching for a similar recipe as the one from my childhood, I found a fabulous one created by Natasha Bull of http://www.saltandlavendar.com. Her original recipe can be found here: https://www.saltandlavender.com/chicken-divan/ but I needed to adjust the flavors to match what I was trying to recreate. If you’re looking for a cheesy, creamy chicken and broccoli casserole, look no further… this one is terrific.
For me, simply adding curry powder to the recipe above wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I played around with it until I created something that made sense for me. I also trimmed everything down to make an easy meal for two + 1 leftover serving. This recipe will make 3 servings in a 9×9 baking dish.
- Broccoli florets – I used a small bag from the local store
- Chicken Breast – I shredded two breasts from a rotisserie chicken but you can also use leftover chicken or even turkey
- 2 T butter
- 2 T flour
- 3/4 c almond milk – you can use a mixture of almond milk and half & half if you prefer
- 2 T whipped cream cheese
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp white wine – use what you have available/open but I also use this wine to thin the sauce before adding the cheese
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese – separate in half
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 10 Ritz crackers (approximate)
Preheat your oven to 375*F.
Prepare your broccoli for the casserole. After trimming down the broccoli into bite-size pieces, put all the florets in the bottom of the 9×9 baking dish. Lay a piece of paper towel over the broccoli and lightly dampen it with some white wine. Microwave the broccoli on HIGH for 2-3 minutes or until the broccoli is lightly cooked and still crisp. NOTE: if you’re using a metal dish, you can microwave the broccoli in the original bag and layer the cooked broccoli onto the bottom of the baking dish.
Layer your shredded chicken on top of the broccoli.
Make your sauce. Start by melting the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk until combined and the mixture starts to bubble. Let the butter/flour mixture cook until it begins to get slightly toasty. Slowly add your milk and whisk to combine, then cook this mixture until it begins to thicken. Add the cream cheese (I like the whipped version b/c it’s light and combines fairly easily – if you use a block of cream cheese, I would decrease to 1T), whisking to combine. Add in your spices (mustard, Worcestershire, wine, curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder) and taste the sauce, adjusting as needed. Add salt and pepper if desired. NOTE: if sauce is too thick, add a splash of wine or almond milk. I have been known to add 1/4c-1/2 cup of wine to thin the sauce. Be aware that the sauce will thicken when you add the cheese. Remove the sauce from stove top and stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
Pour sauce over the chicken/broccoli mixture in your baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese then crush Ritz crackers over the entire casserole.
Bake casserole, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes. Cheese should be melted, crackers should be browned, and the sauce should be bubbling. Let casserole sit for 5 minutes before portioning out and serving.