Sweet and Spicy Hawaiian Chicken Casserole

Can I tell you a secret? I think the mini carts at the grocery store are super depressing. Not the little kid carts….the carts that are only used by single people and the elderly. A hand basket is fine, but an “I Live Alone” cart makes me want to cry on my fresh produce. That said, I needed about four ingredients for this made-up casserole, and I still pushed around a full size, “I Have Seven Kids to Feed” cart. 🙂

  • Drain one 20 ounce can of pineapple tidbits, reserving the juice. Place pineapple in large mixing bowl.
  • Add enough water to the juice to make two cups of liquid.Hawaiian chicken
  • Combine juice/water with 1 cup of brown rice in a small saucepan.
    • Bring rice to a boil.
    • Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 35-45 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
    • Add cooked rice to mixing bowl.
  • Chop one pound of boneless skinless chicken breast.
    • Season with garlic oil, cayenne pepper, and turmeric.
    • Saute until cooked through.
    • Add chicken to mixing bowl.
  • Slice…
    • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
    • 1 red pepper
    • Saute in oil until softened.
    • Add to mixing bowl.
  • In small sauce pan, melt two Tablespoons of butter. Chop and saute in butter…
    • 1 shallot
    • 5 garlic cloves
    • Add 2 tablespoons of flour; cook for 1-2 minutes to cut raw flour taste.
    • Pour in one 13.5 ounce can of light coconut milk.
    • Season with crushed red pepper and salt. Simmer until thickened.
    • Pour over chicken, veggies, pineapple, and one five ounce can of water chestnuts.
  • Place casserole in greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with chopped macadamia nuts.* Bake at 350 degrees for 30ish minutes, until bubbly and nuts are toasted.

I just made this up because it sounded good…..and I thought I was totally in over my head when I opened that can of coconut milk. SHAKE IT FIRST and be not afraid: the solids really do liquefy when heated like the can says.  I will totally opt to use coconut milk again because it skirts around my “Cream of Plastic Soup” issues and is much, much lighter than the carb-free heavy whipping cream I really want to use. Plus, the light coconut milk had ingredients you could pronounce unlike the full fat version. Win! I’m 100% proud that there is no cheese in this recipe, and I am thrilled to have deliciously satisfying leftovers all week at work! Healthy kitchen adventure success! (…more healthy if I would have skipped the crisp white wine pairing!)

* If you aren’t feeling Donald Trump-esque, choose to use chow mein noodles or coconut for a crunchy topping. The mac’s were exorbitant, even for a measly handful, but do hold up well in the leftovers.

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