Friday, November 9, 2007

Casserole-ing With it: Bruschetta Chicken Bake

I realized recently, after four full months of blogging, that I’ve managed to make my Ma look like the culinary equivalent of the Miami Dolphins (painful to watch, drops the ball a lot, etc.). Really, she’s a pretty good cook. None of us were nutritionally deficient growing up, AND she managed to stay under budget, which was super-important for a young family of five in the lean times of 1981. (Stupid Reagan.) Somehow though, to the shock and awe of my friends and neighbors, she did this without ever cooking a casserole.

I’m not sure how it happened. The ‘80s were rife with casseroles. As is my understanding, every American mom with a can of Campbells and 8x8 Pyrex dish was Constitutionally required to make them. They decorated rec rooms and hung from ceilings like gooey chandeliers. I think my friends might have worn casseroles to school.

But, yeah - I never had one.

The Boyfriend looks at me funny when I mention my casserole deficiency, as if no child should grow up deprived of Congealed Cream of Mushroom Broccoli Bake. Subsequently, I’m working on developing a taste for them. Y'know, to expand my mind.

While I continue to be fairly weary of Green Bean Casserole and (*shudder*) Frito Pie, today's recipe, Bruschetta Chicken Bake, is pretty darn good. It hits the four major food groups (tomatoes, chicken, mozzarella, stuffing) and uses a pre-packaged Stove Top mix without being too preservative-laden. Plus, while I don’t think it’s an official Weight Watchers recipe, it’s a super-popular one on their message boards. Folks dig the flavor and the ease of preparation (15 minutes, tops, plus cooking time).

Since I’m still easing into Casserole World (veeeery different from Disney World), I’ll put the question out there: does anyone know of a healthy, relatively inexpensive casserole I could make, eat, and feature on this blog? Winner gets, um … something. Something awesome (which I will think of soon.)

Bruschetta Chicken Bake
6 good-sized servings
Adapted from Weight Watchers boards and/or Kraft Foods.

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup KRAFT part-skim Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2) In a medium mixing bowl, stir together tomatoes (with liquid), garlic, stuffing mix, and water until stuffing mix is juuuuuust moist. Set aside.

3) Arrange chicken in a single layer in a 13x9 baking dish. Top evenly with basil and cheese. Top again with stuffing mixture. Bake about 30 minutes, until stuffing is browned and chicken is fully cooked. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
310.5 calories, 7 g fat, $0.98

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained: 75 calories, 0 g fat, $0.89
2 cloves garlic: 10 calories, 0 g fat, $0.10
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken: 668 calories, 6.1 g fat, $1.99
1/2 cup water: negligible fat and calories, $0.00
1lb. boneless skinless chicken breast: 750 calories, 16.2 g fat, $1.79
1 tsp. dried basil leaves: negligible fat and calories, $0.02
1 cup KRAFT part-skim Shredded Mozzarella Cheese: 360 calories, 20 g fat, $1.09
TOTAL: 1863 calories, 42.3 g fat, $5.88
PER SERVING (TOTAL/6): 310.5 calories, 7 g fat, $0.98

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Krista said...

I also grew up in a casserole deficiency. I am going to have to try the Bruschetta Chicken Bake, hough. It looks good.

I like the Universal Casserole recipe from The Tightwad Gazette. You can make it as healthy - or unhealthy - as you like.

Universal Casserole
1 cup main ingredient
1 cup second ingredient
1-2 cups starch ingredient
1 1/2 cups binder
1/4 cup goodies - optional

Mix all ingredient choices thoroughly. If too dry, add 1/4-1/2 cup milk or stock. Place in lightly sprayed casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-40 minutes. Top with desired topping, and bake an additional 5 minutes or so. (You want to toast the bread crumbs, or melt the cheese, etc.)

Main ingredient suggestions: tuna, cubed chicken, turkey, ham, seafood

Second ingredient suggestions: thinly sliced celery, mushrooms, peas, chopped hard-cooked eggs

Starchy ingredient suggestions: thinly sliced potatoes, cooked noodles, cooked rice

Binder suggestions: cream sauce, sour cream, can of soup

"Goodie" suggestions: pimiento, olives, almonds, water chestnuts

Topping suggestions: potato chips, cheese, bread crumbs

Meg said...

My favorite casserole:

2 cups white sauce (buy the packet and make it with low-fat milk if you don't know how to make your own)
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup ham
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 green pepper, diced fairly small

Combine everything. Put it in an 8x8" greased casserole dish. Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes.

(If you don't want it sort of crispy on top, you can microwave it, or, add a little more milk and heat it in a pan on top of the stove and have it right away.)

Freezes well.

Amy said...

Hmm, "healthy" and "casserole" are two things that I have never seen together.

I think the closest I've gotten is making my chicken tetruzzini as

whole wheat spaghetti
can of healthy request condensed cream of mushroom
cooked chicken breast
skim milk
topped with slices of american cheese.

Not as unhealthy as it could be, but I would not call it healthy.

Kris said...

Ladies, these are awesome! Thank you so much for the suggestions.

Krista, the master recipe is a great idea. I just reserved the Gazette from the library, too. Coincidence or psyhcic phenomena?

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend LOVED this recipe. He asked for it to be added to the regular rotation of meals. I really enjoy reading your blog.

Fecundity said...

This looks pretty good. I'll add Stove Top to my grocery list for next week and give it a try. Thanks.

Rob in Madrid said...

guess what I actually happend to have a box of stovetop stuffing that I had no idea what I was going to with.

Unfortunalty it's the only one I have (and can get)

Kate said...

I just tried this one last night from KRAFT foods and it was pretty good. It is a somewhat similar idea to the chicken bruschetta. I used 2%cheese, light soy milk, and Italian style turkey meatballs to make it a bit healthier.

Layered Meatball Bake
Prep : 5 min/ Total: 30 mins

1 pkg stuffing mix for chicken
1 can reduced sodium cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
1 pkg (1 lb) frozen meatballs
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

PREHEAT oven to 400ºF. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package for Light Preparation; set aside.

COMBINE soup and milk in 13x9-inch baking dish. Stir in meatballs and peas; sprinkle with cheese. Top with the prepared stuffing.

BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until heated through.

Hops said...

I've been hesitant to try any of the recipes you posted because they look kinda hard.

This one was easy! And good! The bf loved it! Except for the hair that somehow got baked in, causing him to rename it: Chicken Surprise.

I was liberal with the basil and added oregano, as is my wont. I love cheap, healthy, good and easy!

len said...

tried it tonight... it was a huge hit! i love both the content and style of your blog. keep up the good work!

Kris said...

Hops and len: sweet! I'm so glad you guys liked it.

Bridget Reed Photography said...

this was very good!

Christine said...

Glad I happened across this blog, it's super! Anywho, while reading the comments here, a recipe I threw together one day on a whim came to mind. I took 1 box of Hamburger Helper (lasagna type) and made it according to directions, except I added one small bag of frozen meatballs (turkey would work, and is a lower fat option). After cooking for the time the box stated + an additional 5 min to compinsate for the frozen meatballs, I added 1 can of diced tomatoes and topped with italian cheese (any type would work, and lowfat would be a better option). Tasted pretty darn good for minimal effort, and one skillet!


Britches said...

Holy mother this is DELICIOUS! I literally just made it for the first time, and I'll definitely be making it again. It was super cheap, easy, and tasty. I want to eat the whole thing (but I won't hehe).

Thanks a ton for all your recipes! :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds delish!
Gotta correct you on one thing, though... those "lean times of 1981" were actually Jimmy Carter's fault. (stupid Carter.)Reagan and his conservative economic policies actually improved the economy. I'm just saying... ;-)

Anonymous said...

I would like to know where I can get a pound of chicken for 1.79 :)

Stephanie said...

This recipe is a regular at our house. Super easy and tasty! And cheap!

SAHDcook said...

I just made Bruschetta Chicken Bake substituting two fresh tomatoes and a splash more water for the can of diced tomatoes and it handled the substitution wonderfully!

It was a hit with the wife & kids.

Thanks a million for the recipe; this is a definite bookmark.