Warm, comforting and totally satisfying, chicken and mushroom casserole gets a healthy twist with whole wheat pasta, lean chicken breast, and creamy plain yogurt.
Compared to the average family Midwestern family, we didn’t eat a ton of casseroles growing up. However, there are two casseroles my mom makes quite frequently that I inevitably crave when temperatures plummet: tuna noodle and chicken mushroom. To give this casserole a nutritional face-lift I’ve made a few changes.
How to make a healthier casserole:
- Swap Egg Noodles for Whole Wheat Bow-Ties: Egg noodles are totally delicious but essentially they are pure sugar. Whole wheat bow-ties are fun to eat and give the dish added protein, fiber, and other minerals. These added nutrients help stabilize your blood sugar and helps prevent a post-casserole energy crash.
- Skip the Canned Cream Soups: God bless Cream of Mushroom/Chicken/Celery soups but friends, making your own takes less than 10 minutes and is SO much more flavorful. Plus, you get to control the quality of ingredients when you make your own. I know those cans are cute and make you feel warm and fuzzy but don’t let clever marketing trick you into thinking you can’t make your own cream soups.
- Use Plain Low Fat Yogurt: Technically, this isn’t a change from my mom’s recipe. She has always added plain yogurt to her casseroles for adding creaminess and a subtle tanginess that adds tons of flavor to the dish. Low-fat plain yogurt is also high in protein, low in sugar and packed with calcium and other vitamins.
The end result? Ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness that takes nothing like healthy food. Jacob had 3 servings himself which is always a good sign.
Chicken and Mushroom Casserole
- 1 pound whole wheat bow-ties or short pasta of choice
- 1 tablespoon butter unsalted
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 3 cups cooked chicken - diced rotisserie works well!
- 32 ounces plain low fat yogurt
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat until melted. Stir in onion, celery and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until softened, 3-4 minutes before adding garlic and mushrooms. Continue cooking until mushrooms are soft, 3-4 additional minutes.
- Sprinkle flour into the pan and stir for 30-60 seconds or until flour is absorbed into the pan. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens, 7-9 minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss together cooked pasta with diced chicken, plain yogurt, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, half of the cheese (1 cup), lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Add in reduced mushroom sauce to the bowl and stir again.
- Pour pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer.
- In a small bowl, mix together remaining 1 cup cheese with panko and olive oil. Sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the casserole.
- Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 45-50 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving to let the casserole settle.