Lightened-up Chicken Divan!

This is yet another recipe that I’m shocked I haven’t posted, since it’s easy and delicious and a favorite of mine. It’s actually the first recipe my friend Laura taught me to make when I moved out on my own (and now I live with her!) She taught me to make it, from start to finish, and it was awesome. Over time I have tweaked it a bit to make it healthier and even easier; I love a meal that I can make quickly when I get home and am starving and in need of something in my belly RIGHT NOW. I also love a good combo of chicken, cheese, and broccoli (better get it out of my system before I start eating Paleo…) I make this whole thing in my Dutch oven so I can go right  from stove top to oven with much less clean up!

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Lightened-up Chicken Divan

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1 bag frozen, steamable broccoli (about 12 oz.)
  • 4 cups brown rice
  • about 2 cups shredded cheese (any kind! I used Mozzarella and Pepper Jack)
  • about 1 cup milk (I use almond)
  • about 2 tbsp. organic butter
  • about 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make a roux by melting the butter over medium heat on the stove top, then start adding flour until it gets to a cookie dough-like consistency.

2.) Add a little of the milk and cheese, stirring. Keep adding milk and cheese until you have your desired amount of sauce, making sure to crush up the “clumps” of flour/butter from the roux. The sauce should be sort of thick, because it will thin a bit when you bake. Make as much sauce as you’d like by adding more milk and cheese (I always say you can’t have too much sauce!) Take off heat.

2.) While you’re making the cheese sauce, put the bag of broccoli in the microwave and steam per package instructions. If you are using fresh broccoli, steam until soft.

3.) Add the broccoli and raw chicken to the cheese sauce and stir together. Add salt and pepper to season. Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken is done and sauce is bubbly.

4.) While the dish is baking, cook four cups of brown rice according to package directions. Serve the cheesy chicken and broccoli mixture over the rice and enjoy!

**Note: I realize that this is still a very cheesy dish, so it may not be the most lightened-up, healthiest recipe that I’ve ever made. However, it’s a good “indulgence” meal that I have lightened-up significantly from the original version. I’m sure it can be toned down even more, but this version I have found to taste great while still being somewhat good for your waistline. But tips for making it even better are welcome!

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