Chicken and Kale Casserole

by Michelle on February 6, 2013

Have I mentioned that I’ve been really into casseroles lately? It’s been a snowy, frigid winter so far and the idea of a warm, hearty casserole—preferably with a fair amount of cheese—sounds really appetizing. Plus, it’s the kind of meal I can prep easily and then just pop in the oven before Johnny gets home, which helps streamline our nighttime routine. This particular casserole, from Martha Stewart, caught my eye several months back when I was looking for kale recipes. I wanted to try it, but alas, I promptly forgot about it. This time I was searching for chicken casserole recipes that are on the healthier side, and this one turned up yet again. I had almost all of the ingredients—and was able to pick up the missing ones easily—so the time had come to try this recipe.

Despite the many reviewers who said this casserole was bland and dry, I did not find this to be the case. I halved the recipe, and seasoned to taste. I think that’s key. Since all of the ingredients are cooked before the casserole goes into the oven, you have to taste it to make sure it’s to your liking. Add more lemon zest or salt and pepper accordingly. You could probably add red pepper flakes too for a spicier kick. I thought the dish was really flavorful and the onions, garlic, kale and lemon blend together really nicely. If you do reheat the dish for later devouring, add a bit of chicken broth or olive oil to keep it from drying out. But definitely try it either way. It’s a great way to use up kale and it won’t make you feel totally unhealthy, despite the cheese.

Chicken and Kale Casserole (from MarthaStewart.com)

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3/4 pound large pasta shells

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, diced medium

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 bunches kale (1 1/2 pounds), tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped

2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken (from 1/2 rotisserie chicken)

1 container (48 ounces) part-skim ricotta

3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

3/4 cup Parmigiano, grated (2 1/4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain; return to pot. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is beginning to soften, 4 minutes. Add kale, cover, and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to pot with pasta.

Stir in chicken, ricotta, lemon zest, and 1/2 cup parmiggiano; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; top with 1/4 cup parmigiano. Bake until top is golden, 30 minutes.

This post is part of Food Network’s Comfort Food Series, a weekly collection of delicious, hearty recipes. For more ways to cook with chicken, check out the blogs below!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Chinese Braised Chicken With Chestnuts

The Cultural Dish: Chicken Marsala

Thursday Night Dinner: Girls’ Night Chicken and Artichoke Pasta

Feed Me Phoebe: Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

Devour: Fried Chicken, 5 Ways

Virtually Homemade: Tortilla Chip Chicken Tenders With Creamy BBQ Sauce

Cooking With Elise: Chicken Pastry

FN Dish: The New Face of Comforting Chicken Dishes

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