Sunday, February 10, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Popeye Chicken Casserole

Okay, I’ll grant that most of you are too young to remember Popeye the Sailor Man (toot, toot). Still that icon of a spinach-eating sweet-but-tough guy made its way into the popular culture, popularizing what I would guess is not a popular veggie.

Now, I happen to love spinach--now. But as a child, when all I ever was served was home-canned spinach--not so much. It was slimy and slick and an odd green. We grew spinach, but never ate it fresh. It was for canning for the cold winter months.

As an adult, I had spinach fresh in a salad. Whoa! This was spinach? Then I lightly steamed it, and I not only loved the fresh green color, but the taste was amazing. Same with a light sauté.

These days we eat a lot of spinach. Served under a slab of salmon, in my quiche, on pizza, tossed in a salad, tucked in a casserole. Love it! Today I share an easy busy-day recipe that is beautiful with its colors and its flavors.

Popeye Chicken Casserole (serves 6)

½ c mayo
½ c Greek yogurt, plain
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 grinds of the pepper mill
½ c Asiago cheese, grated
¼ c Fontina cheese, shredded
2 c chicken, leftovers, diced
2 c fresh spinach (or 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained)

Preheat oven to 350º. Pam an 8” or 9” baking dish.

Mix mayo, yogurt, garlic, pepper, Asiago, and Fontina in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, combine 1/3 of the sauce with the chicken and spinach. Spread in the baking dish. Pour the rest of the sauce over the mixture and smooth across the surface evenly.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up. This man loves casseroles, especially casseroles that feel and look health-conscious. And as casseroles go, you get a filling meal with relatively few calories.

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