Cheesy Chicken Casserole: Real Food Meets Reality {Freezer Meal}


Cheesy Chicken Casserole

This casserole won my husband’s heart over when we were dating. Well, I think our relationship was a little more complicated than that…but he did love Cheesy Chicken Casserole then and still asks for it today 14 happily-married years later!

Cheesy Chicken Casserole is just one of those simple, comfort food casseroles that delivers every time. The question I had, though, is could I make this traditionally processed food-laden dish a bit healthier without sacrificing taste or convenience? Can “real food meet reality”, as our Recipe Index tagline says?

Cheesy Chicken Casserole

Well, yes, I think so! In this Cheesy Chicken Casserole recipe, I simply made a few swaps to clean up the junk in the original recipe I made 14 years ago.

Cheesy Chicken CasseroleChicken breasts: Buy Bare Chicken or organic chicken, to avoid added antibiotics and preservatives.

Canned Cream of Mushroom Soup: Campbell’s or other standard canned “cream of” soups are one of the worst convenience items you can buy. Read the ingredient label sometime and see if you can determine what most of the items listed are. It’s not real food, that’s for sure. So, I always spend a little more and substitute with an organic soup, preferably in a box or BPA-free can. You can also certainly make your own, too!

Stuffing: Store-bought stuffing mix is also filled with processed ingredients, preservatives, and additives. To avoid those, spend a little more and purchase an organic (and preferably whole wheat) stuffing in the health food section. Or, again, make your own! I also add in a little ground flaxseed or chia seed to up the nutrition.

Butter: I love real butter, especially organic, grass-fed butter. But, I did cut back on how much is used in this recipe. You could also substitute olive oil instead, if you want.

I feel like a broken record, but be sure to divide this in half and freeze one for later. (Freezer cooking changes the way I think about every meal nowadays.) Or double and freeze several for later! Freezer meal instructions are included below.

BONUS: Use up leftover turkey and stuffing from Thanksgiving in this simple casserole.

Did I mention it’s easy to make? Check out these simple steps and be sure to pin this image for later use.

Cheesey Chicken Casserole recipe

 

Cheesy Chicken Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A healthier version of the simple, comfort food classic that delivers every time!
Author:
Serves: one 9x13 casserole or two 8x8 casseroles (8 servings)
Ingredients
  • 6 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 can/small box (15 ounces) organic cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 ounces stuffing mix
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed or ground chia seeds
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 casserole pan with cooking spray.
  2. Spread diced chicken over the bottom of the pan.
  3. Top chicken with cream soup evenly.
  4. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the casserole.
  5. In a bowl, mix stuffing, flax/chia, water, and butter. Spread over the top of the casserole.
  6. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until chicken is done (white throughout) and corners are bubbly.
Notes
Freezer Meal Instructions:
Put casserole together and freeze it before baking. When you're ready to cook it, let thaw in the fridge over night. If it's still slightly frozen in the middle, you'll just have to cook it longer than the recipe calls for or defrost a bit in the microwave before baking. Cover it with foil if the top gets too brown in the oven.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  



Comments

  1. Carrie says

    I may be overlooking them, but I’m not seeing freezer directions.
    Thanks!

    • Rachel says

      Thanks, I’ll get this recipe updated!

  2. Nancy Tran says

    Rachel and/or Polly,

    What container do you use to freeze your meals? I used to buy Gladware 8 x 8 containers, but now I can only find them in 9 x 13 size. The 9 x 13 is too big for most of what I freeze. I have been watching the internet for several months and they are “out of stock” everywhere. I really like these containers, and would like to find more. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Nancy Tran

  3. Kerri says

    Do you eat this on it’s own or served with something? What can it be served with?

    • Rachel says

      The great thing about this casserole is that it’s a pretty complete meal–meat, grain, vegetables, cheese. But, I usually serve it with a few other sides like a simple baguette, green salad, and cut up fruit.

  4. Courtney says

    Hi,

    This sounds delicious but I was wondering if you have a recommendation to replace the cream of mushroom. I can’t eat them but would love to make this!

    Thanks!

    • Rachel says

      If mushrooms are the problem, you can definitely use Cream of Chicken or Cream of Celery soups.

  5. Carney says

    Can I use black chia seeds instead of ground chia seeds? I think black chia seeds are considered “whole” chia seeds. Would this work?

    • Rachel says

      Hmmm, I don’t think I use chia seeds in this one. But, hey, good idea. Why not? 🙂

  6. Molly says

    Is the chicken raw when you put it in?

    • Polly says

      Yep! I just updated the recipe to clarify that. Thanks!