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Nondairy Chicken and Vegetable Dinner Casserole

This delicious dairy-free dish is great for dinner — bursting with color, fiber, and a little sweetness because of grated carrots and bits of red bell pepper. Vegetarians can leave out the chicken or substitute soy-based veggie chicken.

Other vegetables work well in this dish too, including green peas, cauliflower, yellow squash, asparagus, and black olives-experiment with your favorites.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Chive Cream Sauce

4 tablespoons nondairy, trans-fat-free margarine

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups plain almond milk (or your choice of plain nondairy milk or soy creamer)

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine and then whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes and then remove from the heat.

  2. Gradually add the nondairy milk, stirring until smooth. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in chives and remove from the heat. Set aside.

Casserole Topping

2 tablespoons nondairy, trans-fat-free margarine

1 cup crushed stuffing mix (check ingredient list for dairy byproducts) or croutons

2 cups grated soy-based cheddar-style cheese

  1. Combine margarine, stuffing mix, and soy cheese. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture for the topping and spread the remainder on the bottom of an oiled, oven-safe 2-quart casserole dish.

Casserole Filling

2 cups grated carrots

1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini

1 cup chopped broccoli

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

1/3 cup chopped yellow or white onion

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

6 ounces cooked, diced chicken or soy-based alternative

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place vegetables in a bowl. Pour the Chive Cream Sauce over the vegetables, add the chicken or soy substitute, and toss well to coat.

  2. Spoon the filling into the prepared casserole dish, and then sprinkle with reserved topping. Casserole can be covered and refrigerated until ready to be baked. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes (10 minutes or longer if the dish is taken from the refrigerator). Remove the cover for the last 10 minutes of baking. Casserole will be golden brown on top when done.

Per serving: Calories 363 (178 from Fat); Fat 20g (Saturated 6g); Cholesterol 26mg; Sodium 1,026mg; Carbohydrate 29g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 20g.

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