So it’s Friday afternoon. I went to the gym this morning for my third work out this week (I’ve been really bad about only going on Mondays for my appointment with my personal trainer, but then not doing anything else for the rest of the week). So I’m working on building better habits and going three days a week. Anyway, it’s Friday afternoon, I’m finished with work for the week, I’ve taken a shower, and I’ve got Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. running on autoplay on Netflix, while checking email and reading blogs. Then, all of a sudden, my stomach starts growling, reminding me that the salad and fruit that I had for lunch was a long time ago. But what to fix? I don’t feel like standing in the kitchen over the stove. I want something with ingredients that are easy to pull together and don’t take much preparation.
And it hits me.
No, literally. As soon as I opened the freezer door, the bag of frozen quartered artichoke hearts falls out and hits me in the chest. And right behind that was a bag of chicken breasts. Perfect. Time to start Googling recipes. I found several, and this is a combination of a couple of different ones. When you look at a recipe and you love all the ingredients separately, you know it’s got to be even yummier once it’s all combined (you know, that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” thing).
Creamy Chicken and Artichoke Casserole
- 12 to 14 ounces artichoke hearts (frozen or canned, not marinated)
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup grated cheese (Swiss, Havarti, or other of your choice)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed if from frozen
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
Tools and Utensils:
- Butter or cooking spray
- Baking dish or casserole large enough to hold 4 chicken breasts with a little room between (I used my vintage 10×10 Corningware “skillet”—a baking dish with about 2.5″ to 3″ sides)
- Large bowl
- Large spoon for mixing, slotted serving spoon
- 1/4-cup measuring cup
- 1-teaspoon measuring spoon
- Cutting board and knife
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 375°F.
If artichoke hearts are frozen, thaw thoroughly (with this steam-in-bag brand, I ran it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Some pieces were still slightly frozen, but it was mostly all thawed). Drain and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine artichokes, cheeses, mayonnaise, sour cream, nutmeg, and garlic. Add black pepper (but not salt—the parmesan adds a lot of salt) and stir until well combined. Grease baking dish and lay chicken breasts in bottom of the dish, ensuring there’s a little space around each one (though they can be slightly touching—but they’ll cook faster/more evenly if there’s some breathing room in the dish). Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spoon artichoke mixture over chicken breasts and spread until distributed evenly.
Bake uncovered 30 to 35 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If desired, sprinkle top with additional parmesan before serving.
You’ll want a slotted spoon for dishing this up—because chicken releases a lot of liquid when it cooks, there is a lot of it in the bottom of the pan.
All of the ingredients are either naturally no- or low-carb. The entire recipe (4 servings) only has 16.4 grams net carbs (32.4 total carbs). So one serving has 4.1 grams net carbs.
When I make this in the future—because this is totally becoming part of my regular repertoire—other ingredients I might try adding (all together or not, depending on my mood): spinach, green chile, chopped water chestnuts, bacon (mmmm . . . bacon), hearts of palm (because I have a couple of jars of them and don’t know what else to do with them), and maybe try different cheeses. Using chopped or canned chicken (or leaving the chicken out) and adding the spinach and water chestnuts would make this a perfect artichoke-spinach dip, too.