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Lightened Chicken Divan With Quinoa

Quinoa is totally the cool kid in school right now. The topic of every conversation. Exotic. Mysterious. You aren’t sure exactly how to pronounce their name. Ok, ok…you totally do know how. But I didn’t. I had an entire conversation calling it “qwi-no-ah”. Then my sister set me straight. She’s been all over this stuff for years. Keen-wah? Seriously? Ok then. Did you know that once you tell a 5-year-old how something is pronounced, there’s practically no earthly way to convince them otherwise? Apparently “Mommy was wrong” doesn’t hold mustard with my kids. I’ll have to be careful what I tell them as fact lest they sprout off totally false information and give me all the credit.

One of the greatest meals ever is chicken divan. At least the way my mom makes it. By “greatest” I mean absolutely-delicious-but-beyond-bad-for-you. I decided to try a cheater/light version of one of my favorite childhood dishes. I had a total hankerin’ for curry and broccoli and rice in a rich sauce, but am trying to make better food choices these days. By better I just mean less mayonnaise. And cheese. My standards for “healthy” foods are not that high. I will not give up butter or baked goods. I just can’t do it.

I swapped out mayo and subbed in some low-fat cream of chicken soup. Way lightened up on the cheese in the dish and kept all the spice and zest of curry and lemon. Then I served it with quinoa instead of rice. Ah-mazing! All the deliciousness of my mom’s original and no “I feel so terrible for taking thirds of this” feeling.

Lightened Chicken Divan With Quinoa
a Bakerlady original

3 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cubed and cooked until no longer pink (About 3 cups…my breasts were huge. Tee-hee)
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup (I used the practically fat-free version)
1/4 cup non-fat milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place broccoli in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with the chicken.
  3. In a small bowl, blend the cream of chicken soup, milk, lemon juice and curry. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Top with Cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned.
  5. While casserole is baking, make the quinoa.

For the Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt (if desired)

  1. You’ll need a 2 quart pot with a tight-fitting lid, and a fine mesh strainer
  2. Optional: Soak the quinoa for 5 min in the cooking pot. Soaking helps quinoa to cook evenly, and loosens up any residue of saponin (usually removed in processing), which can give a bitter taste.
  3. To Rinse: Stir the quinoa with your hand, and carefully pour off the rinsing water, using a fine mesh strainer at the end.
  4. Drain quinoa well in the strainer, transfer to the cooking pot, add 1 1/2 cups water & 1/4 tsp salt if desired. No salt will make quinoa softer and fluffier, a little salt will make it firmer and it may take a couple extra minutes to cook.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes
  6. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on.
  7. Fluff quinoa gently with a fork and serve with the divan.
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