As we begin our collective run-up toward the holidays, time gets more and more precious. That’s why it’s always nice to prep a few big batches of comforting meals you can eat again and again, featuring all of your favorite flavors of the season. While most of us don’t have the spare hours to commit to preparing all of the components of a pre-Thanksgiving feast, such as sweet potato casserole, a roast turkey or big dishes of sautéed greens, it’s easy to prepare smaller amounts of each of these elements, toss them all together in a casserole dish, and produce a week’s worth of healthy meals, all in one shot.
Sweet potatoes can be helpful to anyone experiencing the lower GI discomfort sometimes associated with chemotherapy or radiation treatments. A single sweet potato contains over 500% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A, is loaded with antioxidants and may even have specific anti-cancer effects. According to the National Institutes of Health, 80% of the protein in sweet potatoes is a type of protease inhibitor, which may have anti-cancer effects and suppress the growth of some types of cancer cells.
We love this recipe because it combines all of those favorite holiday flavors in one dish, which is versatile, substitution-friendly and can be tweaked to your particular cravings. Got some chicken breasts in the freezer? You can broil them, slice them and toss them in. If not, the shredded meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken works just as well. Don’t like Brussels sprouts? Try substituting in equal amounts of fresh green beans, fresh baby spinach or curly kale. Feel free to get creative (just make sure all of your ingredients are chopped to roughly the same size). The wild rice ties everything together, and you’ll get surprise pops of sweetness from the dried cranberries.
Chicken Casserole With Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken)
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 red onion, peeled and diced
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 4 cups cooked wild rice blend
- 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- ½ cup toasted sliced almonds
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts (if using), season with salt and pepper and cook, flipping occasionally, until brown with an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from pan, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
In same pan, add diced onions to butter and rendered chicken fat. Add sweet potatoes and cook until onions begin to soften and sweet potatoes just begin to turn tender. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until they begin to soften and char, about 3 minutes more. Add minced garlic and cook, about 1 minute more. Season with dried thyme, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer contents of pan to bowl with the chicken.
To bowl with chicken and vegetables, add cooked wild rice blend, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds. Toss to combine and distribute ingredients evenly, then transfer to a 9x13 casserole dish. Add chicken stock, then transfer to oven. Bake at 375 degrees until vegetables become tender and most of the liquid evaporates from the dish, about 10-15 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.