If you're following the meal plan and were just dying to see how I make oxtail soup, then tune in tomorrow! I traded this meal for the soup tonight so that the soup can have a chance to chill in the fridge for optimal fat-skimming tomorrow. Don't be disappointed for long...just feast your eyes on this creamy, Parmesan-crusted Artichoke Chicken Bake!
At first bite, I was thinking, "Yeah, this is pretty good." I liked it more with each bite. But my husband and kids were easy...they loved it right away. All I heard as dinner progressed were compliments. Not a single complaint! In my book, this constitutes a winner!
I actually pulled this dish out of the freezer to thaw this afternoon. It's a product of my 2 day chicken processing adventure last month. Check it out HERE! All I needed to do tonight was pop this in the oven. But you can read about how it all came together below.
First of all, I poached approximately 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can see how I did that HERE.
Then I melted half a stick of butter in a skillet over medium heat. I sauteed a cup of onion and a couple of cloves of garlic until tender.
Once the onions were tender, I stirred in 2 tablespoons of flour and some salt until smooth. After a minute or so more of cooking, I stirred in 2-1/4 cups of chicken broth. The original recipe called for a cup of broth AND 1-1/4 cups of dry white wine or apple juice. I just went with broth for the whole deal. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened and bubbly.
Add in half a block of cream cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Then, remove the skillet from heat and set aside.
Place the chicken breasts in a 2 quart casserole dish.
Arrange a can of drained artichoke hearts (I chopped mine up a bit) over the chicken.
Pour on the cream cheese sauce and spread it evenly over the chicken breasts.
This is where I called it quits. I put a piece of wax paper right on the top of the casserole, then covered it with foil that I had labelled with baking and garnishing instructions. I cooled the casserole to room temperature, then stuck it in my freezer until today.
Today, I thawed the casserole on my counter top for a few hours (you could also thaw it in your fridge while you go to work or about your day). Then I popped it into the oven and baked according to the directions...except I left mine covered. At the end of the suggested 35 minutes, mine was still cold in the center. Probably because it was still a little frozen when I put it in. I stirred it around a bit and pulled off the foil, then put it back in for another 10-15 minutes, increasing the oven temp to 400 degrees. When it was ready, I pulled the casserole out of the oven. Rather than top with sliced almonds or parsley as instructed by the recipe, I sprinkled it with a generous layer of Parmesan cheese. I knew my family would go for a nice Parmesan crust. I wasn't so sure about almonds...or even parsley. Plus, I was thinking about the artichoke dip that I might order at my favorite restaurant. I'm pretty sure they use parmesan on top. It seemed to me that Parmesan was the way to go!
I put the casserole back into the oven to broil until the Parmesan turned a nice, crispy, golden brown. Definitely not a mistake. I personally think the Parmesan crust made this dish.
Creamy, delicious, and a big hit!
Artichoke Chicken Bake adapted from Frozen Assets Lite and Easy: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month by Deborah Taylor-Hough
1/4 cup butter
6 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup dry white wine (can substitute apple juice or chicken broth...I used broth)
1 cup chicken broth
4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut up (not marinated artichoke hearts)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Melt butter in a skillet over medium to medium high heat. Saute onion and garlic until tender. Stir in flour and salt until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine (or juice, or broth); cook over medium heat , stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat; set aside. Place cooked chicken breasts in a 2-quart casserole dish. Arrange artichoke hearts over chicken. Pour cream cheese mixture over chicken and artichokes. Spread to cover. Cover, label, and freeze.
Thaw. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. (I kept mine covered for most of the baking process). Sprinkle with Parmesan. Broil until Parmesan is golden brown.
Per serving (if using fat free cream cheese and omitting Parmesan cheese): 382.3 calories, 14.7 g fat, 41.3 g protein, 15.5 g carbohydrates, 82 mg cholesterol