When you hear the word casserole, what comes to mind? For me, the memories aren’t great. I remember an old cookbook that used to sit on a shelf in the house I grew up in as a child, and it was one I always tossed aside in search of the big red Betty Crocker cookbook I always referenced for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. This particular cookbook got zero love because it was full of non-cookies. Specifically, it was all about casseroles.
I must have flicked through the pages at some point because this book helped to shape my beliefs about casseroles. Most of the recipes called for massive quantities of cheese – typically a larger quantity than any other ingredient in the list. I guess the recipe developers figured that cheese makes everything taste better, and that people would love the recipes as long as there was enough to disguise the other ingredients.
Other common ingredients in this book included ground beef, chopped hot dogs, pasta, rice, and cans of condensed soup. Don’t get me wrong – these things can be perfectly acceptable on their own (well, maybe not the hot dogs), but what was worse than the mound of cheese to glue it all together was the final photos that the cookbook’s publishers decided to feature next to the recipes. I’m not sure what the criteria was at the time. Perhaps they were in deep cheese comas and couldn’t think straight, but it’s these memories that make me hesitant to create casseroles on the blog because photographing them can be challenging.
Over the weekend, I made this Chicken and Root Vegetable Casserole. It was a rainy day, the lighting in my condo was terrible, and I knew I’d be relying on my camera lens and Adobe Lightroom for a bit of magic. The final result not only tasted ridiculously amazing, but actually looked really tasty too! And as you may have guessed by the shot of the ingredients above, there’s no trace of any cheese, ground beef, hot dogs, pasta, rice or condensed soup to be found.
This beauty has a whole bunch of fall’s best veggies jammed into one baking dish, and it’s perfect for a clean eating lifestyle. To create a nice creamy (but not calorie-dense) consistency, I mixed a little oat flour and unsweetened almond milk. This worked perfectly and the mix of fresh and dry herbs added to the mix gave the whole dish SO much flavour. I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think!Print
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups uncooked chicken breast, cubed
- 1 cup each chopped onion and celery
- 2 cups each chopped carrots and parsnips
- 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 ½ cups sliced raw mushrooms
- 2 tbsp oat flour (gluten free if necessary)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh sage, minced
- 1 cup shredded kale
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan for 1 minute. Stir fry the chicken with the garlic until almost cooked, about 4 minutes on high heat.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, soy sauce/tamari, black pepper, dried rosemary, and vegetable stock.
- Keeping heat on high, stir the vegetables with the chicken until they begin to soften. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, oat flour, almond milk and sage. After about 3 more minutes of cooking, the mixture will begin to thicken.
- Stir in the kale, then pour the entire contents of the pan into a baking dish that holds approximately 10 cups. Layer the sweet potato slices on top and spritz them with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, and a bit of dried rosemary.
- Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, broiling for the last 2-3 minutes.
[Tweet “So many fall flavours all in one dish: Chicken and Root Vegetable Casserole #recipe”]
Now it’s over to you. Tell me, what are your thoughts on casseroles? Do you have any horrible childhood memories to share?