This cheesy broccoli chicken casserole is gluten-free, dairy-free, and high in protein! It’s a perfect family and kid-friendly dinner for a busy weeknight. You can make it in advance, heat, and eat.
Let’s just open the clouds and hear the angels sing:
I made a dinner that my children ate.
We’ve been in a serious dinner rut over here. I’ve been making *real dinners* pretty much every night, and I never know what the girls will actually eat. I’ll plate up something that was once their favorite, and they’ll groan as I set it on the table. Or even better, P will be like, “I just wanna go to a restaurant.”
Me too, P.
So, they currently hate things they used to love and sometimes will clean their plates when I make something new or exotic. So basically, I have no clue what to do. Nothing like having young kiddos to give you a true kitchen skills reality check. I went from feeling pretty confident in my abilities to feeling like I suck.
Last week, I was on a mission to make dinners that were as kid-friendly as possible. Sloppy joes: check. The girls ate two bites, didn’t like them, and guess who had sloppy joes leftovers for lunch the next couple of days?
The next night, I made them mac and cheese with fruit and roasted broccoli (always a hit) and heated up an Eat Fit Go meal for myself.
The night after that, I was determined to make something they’d actually want to eat. I thought of the creamy chicken and rice casserole my mom used to make growing up, and created something kinda similar, using the ingredients I had on hand.
Some major changes:
– I used Banza pasta (from Thrive Market) since we all love it
– I used So Delicious coconut milk mozzarella to keep it dairy-free (I don’t eat a ton of dairy, and found that when P eats a lot of it, her stomach gets really upset)
– Added some cooked chicken, spices, and broccoli, and it ended up being a seriously comforting and delicious dinner casserole
Macros (8 servings): 354 kcal // 19g fat // 31g carbs // 16g protein
I highly recommend it if you have picky kiddos, or if you’re just looking for an easy make-ahead weeknight meal. The leftovers were amazing, too!
Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a whirl:
Dairy-free cheesy broccoli chicken casserole
20 minutes prep // makes 8 generous servings
– 1/2 sweet onion, diced
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon butter (dairy free: avocado oil)
– 1 cup almond milk
– 1 tablespoon flour of choice (I used brown rice)
– 8oz mozzarella (I used the So Delicious brand)
– 8 oz pasta, cooked almost all the way (I used Banza)
– 6 oz steamed broccoli (drain and pat dry)
– 9 oz cooked chicken breast, diced (hack: use rotisserie chicken!)
– 1/4 cup grated parmesan (or more dairy-free cheese of choice)
Preheat the oven to 375.
In a large pot on medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt.
Stir in the onion and garlic, season well with salt and pepper, and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant and soft.
Add the flour and stir well, and then the milk. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow to thicken slightly (1-2 minutes) before stirring in the mozzarella. Stir well until creamy.
Remove from heat, and add the pasta, chicken, broccoli, and season well with salt and pepper.
Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle with the parmesan on top.
Bake, covered, for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. If desired, pop the casserole dish until the broiler for a minute or two to brown the cheese on top.
Note: The casserole is totally customizable depending on the veggies you have on hand! The sauce is what makes it.
So, tell me, friends: what was your favorite thing your parents cooked for dinner when you were growing up? My mom’s enchiladas will always be #1.
Today’s Summer Shape Up workout: This leg workout + steady state. Can’t wait to do this at the gym later today!