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Reinventing the Casserole: Chicken With Avocado and Almonds

May 5, 2011

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Any dish with avocados in the title, and I’m sold. In need of comfort food after a long week, I made my list of ingredients and headed to the store so that I could make Chicken With Avocado and Almonds from The Garden-Fresh Cookbook.

I have always thought of casseroles as a Midwest specialty, but with the avocados and zucchini added, I knew it could quickly become a dish I could see myself making often, especially considering how easy it is to make a filling casserole that can serve more than six people.

For dinner the night before, my dad had made smoked chicken, and with the leftovers, combined with the chicken I prepared, there was a variety of flavors coming from just the chicken alone. For my chicken, I used a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of lemon juice in a frying pan. The beauty of a casserole is that everything is placed into one dish—so in went the zucchini, water chestnuts, and chicken! The sauce was simple to make and poured easily over the other ingredients.

See? I told you this recipe was easy! Add cheese to the dish and prepare the avocados as the final layer. The avocados add color, flavor, and vitamin E to this dish; sprinkle with the toasted slivered almonds, and ta da! A recipe packed with flavor and health benefits, all in one casserole dish. Enjoy!

Chicken With Avocado and Almonds

A dish combining the best of a fricassee and chow mein. The avocados add striking color and flavor.

4 cups chicken broth
4 chicken bouillon cubes or 4 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 to 4 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 cups diced zucchini
1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack Cheese
2 medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a large casserole. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the broth, add the bouillon cubes, and stir to dissolve. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then set aside to cool. Put the chicken, zucchini, and chestnuts into the casserole and set aside. In a separate, large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, add the flour, whisk to combine, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring constantly, and cook until the sauce is smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour the liquid over the ingredients in the casserole. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and return to the oven uncovered to bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Arrange the avocado slices on top of the casserole. Sprinkle with almonds. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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Jane received her Bachelor's in Fine Arts at Western Washington University where she studied Creative Writing. She now lives in the greater Seattle area, where she writes and drinks copious amounts of coffee. When she isn't writing, cooking, gardening, or taking photos, you can find her at local shows and concerts, or running to prepare for yet another half marathon.

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