I imagine most families in America have some version of this soup-mix classic in their recipe rotation, or at least in their distant memory. Casseroles did not originate in the U.S., but the method of using canned cream soups to bind a hodgepodge of ingredients together in one vessel, is certainly on us. In the 1930s, The Campbell Soup Company began producing Cream of Mushroom soup, leading to a host of new, quick-fix family meals for home cooks.
Campbell’s® Ready To Serve Cream Of Mushroom Soup: water, mushrooms, cream (milk), vegetable oil (corn, cottonseed, canola and/or soybean), modified food starch, contains less than 2 % of: bleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), salt, monosodium glutamate, soy protein concentrate, yeast extract, spice extract, dehydrated garlic, oleoresin paprika.
Thanksgiving green beans, canned tuna, chicken, rice, tortillas, has all been subject to the cream sauce short cut of creamed soups. Throw French’s Fried Onions on top and dinner is served all across the country. I remember my mom serving it over cooked rice as a side dish and trust me, she knew how to make good gravy, but it was quick and easy. When schedules are maxed, we have all turned to convenience items like this to get something on the table.
The pity is, generations raised on convenience foods lose the knowledge, skill, and taste for preparing real, whole foods. Butter, cream, homemade stock is abandoned for processed alternatives with sugar, MSG, bad oils, and preservatives. A couple of years ago, I discovered Emeril’s Green Bean Casserole with a homemade mushroom sauce and I was ruined, never to return to the recipe on the can of French’s onions again.
With resolve to eliminate processed foods from our diet and accommodate our daughter’s sensitivity to gluten, I was determined to make Chicken Broccoli Casserole from scratch. That’s right, no canned soup or pre-made onions, just fresh ingredients creating a satisfying dinner from a single dish. Our original recipe includes Paul Prudhomme Poultry Magic to season the chicken, which is a great line of seasonings. However, it is not available in all stores, so part of the remake includes a mix of spices common in most kitchens.
Oh, and the fried onions … be sure to make a few extra for snacking, and (confession) don’t start hungry or you’ll eat too many before you can get them on the casserole. So here it is, Chicken Broccoli Casserole with Fried Onion Topping, also gluten-free—a warm, savory, crispy, creamy, and satisfying, one-dish meal; perfect for fall and winter evenings.
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