Kid Friendly Cheesy Broccoli Rice and Chicken Casserole

If you’re a mama or a papa (and no, I’m not talking about one of the singers from the band), then you know how difficult it can be to cook for children and how much more difficult it can be to encourage your children to eat their vegetables. Sometimes you have to be so creative and ingenious. Well, this recipe for Kid Friendly Cheesy Broccoli Rice and Chicken Casserole is just the dish to serve them up something healthy and delicious.

A lot of kids hate their “greens” – green peppers, peas, celery, lettuce, broccoli. I know I did, but then again, I came from an “old school” mom who told me that if I didn’t eat whatever was put in front of me, I wouldn’t get anything else, nor any dessert, so I didn’t really have the option many kids have today. Broccoli, the “mini tree” is one of the harder greens to feed kids (along with peas – and to be honest, I still hate peas!). It is actually from the cabbage family and its large flowerhead is eaten as a vegetable. Broccoli is actually the result of careful breeding of cultivated leafy cole crops in the northern Mediterranean and dates back to around the 6th century BCE. Broccoli was first brought to England in the mid-18th century and didn’t become widely known in North America until the 1920's when it was introduced by Italian immigrants. It is high in vitamin C and dietary fiber and also contains many potent anti-cancer properties (though the latter are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled). With all of the benefits, it’s no wonder kids hate the stuff and parents wish their kids would eat more of it!

Hopefully all of the cheese in this particular chicken casserole dish will please any picky eater (or at least hide the veggies hidden within). The good thing about this recipe, though, is that the broccoli florets, which get broken down into tiny bite-sized pieces, can be substituted for almost any other vegetable that your child will eat (another good substituted would be cauliflower). But, as the author of this recipe states, “The great thing about these types of recipes is that they come from moms, and usually moms with multiple kids. They are proven successes time and time again.” This particular kid-friendly recipe comes from Trish who is a Mom on recipe site “Mom on Timeout” (which is packed full of quick and simple kid-friendly recipes).

Perhaps the very best part of this dish? It’s a one-pot-wonder. Literally, all of the ingredients are thrown into one pot, mixed and baked for about 30 minutes. The prep time is almost nil. This is great for any mom-on-the-go. My only tip: go heavy on the crushed-up corn flakes. They give the dish a wonderfully crunchy component your kids will love (I know I do, and I’m kind of just a big kid at heart). So if this sounds like a great meal to you, try it out for yourself!

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