Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lazarus' Chicken Broccoli Casserole



My sister and I (at the ages of about eight and ten) were in the dining room approaching the doorway to the kitchen. Grandma was making one of our favorites, Cream of Broccoli soup. She poured the steaming hot liquid into her blender, plugged it in and pushed the button. The whirling sound of the blender began and before we knew what was happening, the lid flew off and green slime was spewing from the blender. Who knew a creamed soup could be so aerodynamic? This may be a location joke but we laughed so hard we were literally rolling on the floor. This stuff was just dripping from the ceiling. Too this day, I think this is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.


Point of story:That even the most experienced of cooks have shitty days. Everyone that has ever set foot in a kitchen has a story of some catastrophe. War stories, if you will. That is one of the cool things about cooking. Sometimes you have winners and sometimes not. I rarely cook with recipes so every once in a while, I make something that is not so edible but you have to have the courage to keep experimenting in order to create new and delicious meals.

This is a no fail recipe for a Chicken-Broccoli Casserole from Lazarus Department stores. They had a great restaurant in our local store and it was a treat to end our shopping day with a meal from their kitchen. They produced a small paperback cookbook and most of the pages of my copy are stained and rumpled. It has definitely seen a lot of use over the years. If you can ever pick up an old copy at a yard sale or on Ebay, buy it. Whenever my family is coming for dinner, they request this casserole. It one of those great "stand by" recipes but has enough flexibility that you can play with it and add seasonal ingredients or things that you have on hand. It’s perfect served with a green salad, bread or roll, and some fresh fruit. I always comes out perfect and even a beginning cook can make it.



Lazarus’ Chicken And Broccoli Casserole
Serves 4-6

Butter 1 stick
Celery, diced 2 cups
Onions, diced 1 cup
Green Pepper, diced ¼ cup
Mushrooms, fresh, sliced 8 oz
Broccoli, fresh, chopped 1 lb.
Chicken, cooked, chopped 1 ¼ lb.
Cream Cheese 1 lb.
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garlic Salt ¼ t.

Sauté vegetables in melted butter until tender. Add chicken and seasonings. Add cream cheese to mixture and blend over low heat until cheese is melted. Pour mixture into buttered casserole and heat in 350 degree oven until top is golden brown.

**Note**
It is okay to use frozen broccoli and canned mushrooms. I have detected almost no difference in flavor or texture. This is a great casserole for leftover chicken so I keep a package of frozen broccoli on hand to whip up a quick dinner. We’ve also added carrots to the dish and topped with bread crumbs so experiment with it and add the things you like or have in the fridge.






4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this chicken casserole recipe. Like you, my cousins and I have fond memories of eating at the Lazarus dining room, at the main store in Columbus. Grandma used to make this casserole from the Lazarus cookbook, and no one seems to know where her Lazarus cookbook went after she broke up housekeeping.
Just this past Thanksgiving, my cousin Deeanna and I were talking about how we wished we had this recipe. Won't she be tickled when I share it with her.
Thanks again, and Happy Holidays,
Andy in Columbus

Anonymous said...

So excited to find this recipe. When I was young, my older sister used to take me to the Lazarus cafe and I always had the broccoli mushroom soup and chicken brocoli casserole. I bought the cookbook when I was in my 20's but almost 20 years later, 2 kids, and numerous moves, I lost the cookbook:(. I'm printing this recipe and hope to NEVER lose it again. Thank you for posting!!

Anonymous said...

Went to a cookout last night and the hosts mother made this and oh man, it was soo good I ate nothing else but this dish! Going to make this soon! I also have great memories eating at the Columbus Lazarus as a kid.. Eastland mall, I believe ..small world: )

Jen said...

This is a great "go-to" recipe for potlucks. There is never a bit leftover. Thanks for the comment.