Sweet Potato and Chicken Casserole

This is a good dish to make if you have any leftover chicken (be sure to shred it off the bone if not boneless). Or, if you want to start from scratch, then stir fry chopped boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, depending on which part of the chicken you prefer. In either case, you will need at least a pound of chicken, and not more than two, depending on how meaty you want your casserole to be.

Before cooking the chicken, prepare the sweet potatoes. Wash 8 to 10 small to medium sized ones. Peel and slice them into medium sized chunks, so they will cook faster. Put them in a pot. Pour enough water to cover the bottom but not quite covering the top of the potatoes. You will be mashing the potato with either a fork or potato masher in the same pot when the potatoes are cooked.

Cover the pot, put it over medium heat and time for 30 minutes. The potatoes should be tender by then, although check in after 20 minutes to make sure there is still enough liquid. You can poke them with a fork to check their tenderness–if the water level is very low, you can pour a little more in.

While you’re waiting for the sweet potatoes to be ready, chop an onion and set aside. Then, cook the chicken in a big skillet that has a lid for later use, or use a Dutch oven. Start with 1-2 tbsp. of olive or coconut oil in a skillet and sauté the chicken over medium heat. Sprinkle it with garlic and onion powder. (I rarely add any salt to anything I make, but that’s because everything contains a certain amount of its own natural sodium.)

After the chicken is fully cooked,  add 11 ounces of cream of mushroom soup to the chicken and stir. While the container may look empty, it isn’t. Swish a few drops of water in the container. Pour the resulting liquid into the skillet and stir. Turn down the heat to a little less than medium; if medium is 5, then adjust down to 4 or 3. When boiling, stir in the chopped onion and 16 ounces of frozen vegetables—Mediterranean Blend: zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, green beans, red peppers, onions (I get the 365 brand from Whole Foods). Cover the skillet or Dutch oven and time it for six minutes over low-medium heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take an 8” x 13” glass casserole dish and spray olive or coconut oil inside it. Get your mashed sweet potato. Use a rubber spatula to spread a thin layer of mashed sweet potato on the bottom and sides of the casserole dish. When your chicken mix is ready, gently pour it inside the casserole dish. Cover the chicken mix with evenly spread mashed sweet potato. Then evenly top the casserole with French fried onions (I use Trader Joes’ brand). Place in preheat oven and time it for 20-25 minutes. When ready, take it out of the oven, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Serve and savor.

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