Chicken and Kale Casserole

 As I read through this Try It Tuesday’s recipe, I realized that I could do all the prep for the Chicken and Kale Casserole during nap time. I love when that happens. That’s also why I am in love with my slow cooker. Advanced-prep meals relieve so much stress at dinner. 

Anyway… I must say that I am glad that I read the comments for this recipe; I usually don’t. A number of people described the resulting dish as bland. They also suggested simple fixes like adding salt and herbs. So, you’ll find my additions and other notes below and the original recipe here: http://www.marthastewart.com/862208/chicken-and-kale-casserole

I halved the recipe, but used the same amount of onion, garlic, and lemon zest as the full version (remember, fight blandness!). I also used canned, chunked chicken, which I’ve never used before. I had it in my pantry from our move to our current location and wanted to use it up. It was actually flavorful and worked well. The can said it was rib meat and it already has some salt in it thanks to the canning process. To up the flavor subtly, I added 

  • a good deal of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander 
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

These additions gave a background of spice notes to the star flavors of the dish: lemon and chicken. The way in which the lemon shone through pleasantly surprised my palate. I appreciated how it’s brightness lightened what could have otherwise felt like a lot of ricotta cheese. If you have less picky/more adventurous eaters than I do, you could probably even double the coriander and nutmeg.

Sadly, my family’s reaction was less pleased than my own, so I don’t know if it’s worth making again for our household. That said, my son ate his required three bites without complaining or fussing and I can think of a number of extended family members who would enjoy this casserole. If you like lemon-pepper seasoning for fish and chicken, you’d probably like this casserole as well.

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