Okay, Okay, so as I mentioned,  not everything on here is going to be vegan or plant-based because in recovery for a multi-decade (or really any) eating disorder, its REALLY bad to discriminate certain foods. Therefore, I’m making an effort to eat openly, but provide recipes with options for those of you who are able and trying to eat plant-based. Someday I’ll be recovered and be able to go back to eating plant-based, which is my moral passion, but a couple weeks ago I realized that I can’t help any animals (or other people) until I help myself.

This recipe fulfills your need for good-ole Midwest comfort food and casseroles. It’s relatively easy to make, put together and in the oven in about 15 minutes, and on the table in less than 45 after. it reheats like a champ and even my picky kids liked it. I hope you enjoy it too!

Ingredients

3 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (you can sub Gardein Chicken Scallopini or the breaded without sauce see note below)

1/4 C butter (I use Smart Balance or Earth Balance)

3 tsp minced garlic

1/2 small-medium onion diced (I use sweet yellow)

1 can 22.6 oz. of Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 packet of Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Mix

1 C Almond Milk (you can sub heavy cream if that’s your jam)

3/4 of a bag of fresh baby spinach ~ 8 oz.

1 pkg 8 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

3 Tbsp Bacon pieces

2 C shredded Mozzarella Cheese (or use Daiya Mozz.)

1 lb or 1 pkg of Gluten Free Linguine or Fettuccine pasta, cooked per instructions to solid al dente (save about 1/2 C water it was cooked in)

3 Tbsp of Gluten free Panko bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

*NOTE: for vegan option, sub Gardein meat of choice cooked per instructions but leaving out any sauces, or soaked Soy curls. For the Cream of Mushroom either use a store-bought vegan version, or you can saute 8 oz of diced mushrooms and onions and blend in high-powered blender with a handful (~ 1/2 C) soaked cashews and just enough almond milk to make it creamy

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large saute pan or skillet, saute diced onion, mushrooms, and garlic until onion is translucent and mushrooms are starting to reach a point of softness but not totally shrinking, add in the bacon.
  3. Add in the spinach and stir to wilt. Take off heat and set aside momentarily.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix soup (or vegan sub for it), Almond milk, Italian seasoning packet. I used a small whisk to incorporate all of the ingredients without making a mess. The end result is a creamy sauce.
  5. Pour the sauce over the spinach mixture and stir to incorporate.
  6. Add cooked and drained pasta and the retained water in with the spinach mixture.
  7. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 glass casserole dish and place the chicken breasts on the bottom. Pour the pasta and sauce mix over the top, then using tongs, pull the chicken breasts to the top just on top of the pasta. By doing this, you coat the chicken in the sauce in the simplest manner.
  8. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and then the Panko breadcrumbs over the top of the casserole. Grind fresh sea salt and pepper over the casserole before placing in the oven.
  9. Cook casserole, uncovered, for approximately 30-45 min, checking the chicken breasts at 30 min to see if they’ve reached a safe temp. I used a meat thermometer and inserted in the thickest part of each of the chicken breasts and see if they’ve reached at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Serve the dish with a side salad or bread for a hearty meal! Save leftovers and enjoy them for lunch the next day!!

And because it’s Monday and no one loves a Monday, here’s a pic of my baby Bengal kitten, Marley…she’s spoiled A LOT! Have a great week!