Sometimes the ole casserole recipe file just needs a little inspiration. I was happy to find this new idea, which used 4 cups of healthy chopped broccoli and turned out just delicious.
The addition of chopped red bell pepper, plus the spinach tortellini, made this dish oh-so-colorful. Chopped pecans in the topping, along with crushed crackers, gave some additional crunch.
This was designed to be baked in a long oblong baking dish, but I divided it into two smaller ones, so we had one to eat and one to freeze for later.
The recipe billed it as kid-friendly—an added plus. We look forward to pulling the next round from the freezer. This dish was truly yummy.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth (I used the lower-sodium variety)
1 1/2 cups half-and-half (I used skim milk)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup (4 ounces) freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (20-ounce) package refrigerated cheese-and-spinach tortellini
4 cups chopped broccoli
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 round buttery crackers, crushed (I used Ritz hint-of-salt)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion and next 2 ingredients. Sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Add flour and stir until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in broth, half-and-half, and white wine. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; add 1 cup cheese and next 2 ingredients. Stir until cheese melts. Stir in tortellini and next 2 ingredients. Spoon into a lightly greased 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. Stir together 1/2 cup grated cheese and next 3 ingredients. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 6 to 8 servings. (Source: Southern Living, December 2012)