This simple casserole is a quick preparation, and it makes a fabulous family dinner. Serve it with a salad or sliced tomatoes, or add rice or pasta to your menu. If you're cooking for a larger group, double the recipe and bake it in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan.
I topped the casserole with soft bread crumbs I pulsed in the food processor, but it could be topped with fine dry bread crumbs or panko crumbs tossed with melted butter.
To make it ahead, layer the spinach and chicken with sauce and then cover the dish and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you're ready to bake it, preheat the oven, top with the buttered bread crumbs, and bake!
See the tips and variations below the recipe for more serving suggestions, shortcuts, and substitutions.
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, cooked
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, light cream, or half-and-half
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups cooked diced chicken
- 1 cup fine soft bread crumbs
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish.
- Drain the cooked spinach in a colander, squeezing or pressing to get as much of the water out as possible. Spread the spinach in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and seasoned salt to the butter and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and cream. Cook, stirring, until the cheese has melted. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Add the chicken to the sauce and stir to blend.
- Pour the chicken and sauce mixture over the spinach layer in the baking dish.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop. Toss the butter with the soft bread crumbs. Spread the crumbs over the casserole.
- Bake the casserole for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is nicely browned. To brown the topping a little more, turn the broiler on and broil for a minute or two before you take it out of the oven.
Tips and Variations
- Substitute 12 to 14 ounces of packaged cooked chicken breast strips for the cooked chicken (thawed if frozen). Dice the chicken and proceed with the recipe.
- Saute 4 to 6 ounces of sliced mushrooms in a little butter and add them to the sauce with the chicken.
- Replace the chicken with diced turkey for a turkey and spinach casserole.
- Add a few tablespoons of drained chopped pimiento along with the chicken for extra color and flavor.
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