Easy Freezer Meals: Potato, Broccoli and Chicken Casserole

Sometimes, life is just a little too busy to spend much time in the kitchen. Between a long family weekend away, work, the end of the semester (data collection and coding, yay! #gradschoolife), and other everyday tasks and commitments, I haven’t been in the kitchen much lately.

So this recipe has the double bonus of making great leftovers and easily portionable into freezer meals! I came across this recipe on Pinterest from Kylee Cooks when looking for meals for a friend having surgery. Hear meal train request mentioned her family likes chicken, broccoli and cheese, and this recipe has all three, with the added bonus of being freezer-friendly. Score!

The original plan was to make half and freeze half for her, but she has such an amazing group of friends and family that she asked people to stop making freezer portions. I was able to portion it into one meal for my friend and keep the rest back for my family. Hooray!

For my family’s portion, I didn’t add the chicken or bacon before baking so it was vegetarian for me. We grilled the chicken and bacon separately and served them on the side for the meat-eaters. We also skipped the butter on top.

Casserole ready to go. When making a dish for someone post-surgery or going through a hard time I invest in a foil pan to save them the hassle of cleanup and worrying about returning my dish. (If you’re wondering about the paint, spheres, and brushes in the background, they’re pieces of the DIY solar system we painted for my son’s “big boy room.”)

Ingredients

  • cups red potatoes, diced small (Mine were a bit large, so make sure you cut them smaller than shown! #learnfromme)
  • cups boneless skinless chicken breast 
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/3 cup bacon, cooked (optional if vegetarian, or serve on the side)
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion
  • cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped finely (the original recipe calls for garlic powder but I prefer fresh- either will work)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs butter (this is in the original recipe, but I would say it’s optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. (I used one 9×13 for the large dish and one smaller casserole pan for the smaller dish, but cooked both for the same amount of time.)
  2. Wash and dice your potatoes, and chop the broccoli and onion into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Combine all in a large mixing bowl with the salt, pepper, garlic and cheese. (The original recipe calls for layering, but I just mixed everything together. If you try one or the other let us know in the comments!)
  5. Pour heavy cream over ingredients and if using the butter cut it into small pieces all over the top.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for one hour or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of cheese and bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes until cheese is bubbly.
As I was chopping I couldn’t help doing my best Dana Carvey impression. Chopping broccolahhhh-eahhhhh!

if I’m being honest here, I didn’t think I was going to like this dish. I wouldn’t have thought to pair broccoli and chicken with cheese, butter and heavy cream. I normally just use heavy cream desserts and generally keep our meals a bit lighter but that’s the great thing about cooking for friends- you get outside of your normal habits and try something new!

What’s your favorite dish to share with friends?

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