Do you ever smell or taste something and it just brings back a flood of memories? That is exactly what happened to me when I was making my grandmother’s Chicken Divan. I could remember my grandmother making this meal for us… especially if we were having company come to have dinner with us. But I couldn’t exactly remember what it tasted like because it has been so long since I have had it. But as soon as I opened the curry powder, it all came back to me. I rarely cook with curry, and the flavor and scent is so distinct… it just brought everything back.
A select few of you who read my blog have actually had the pleasure of eating this meal at my grandmother’s table… and you know that she almost always served it with her “Hot Fruit” recipe. I’ll have to make that sometime soon, too.
There are many great things about this recipe. First of all, you can make it two days ahead of time and just reheat it when you’re ready. Second, it is serious comfort food. It’s hearty, creamy, and cheesy. It’s perfect for a fall or winter evening. And it’s relatively simple to prepare. It is fancy enough for company, but simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner for the family.
I really don’t think this was my grandmother’s handwriting—it may have been passed on from a friend. (I LOVE the way people used to pass along handwritten recipes to each other. Now we just email them to each other! The handwritten recipes and cards are just special.)
Doesn’t this look absolutely delicious??? Seriously, are you drooling? I am just looking back at these photos. I’m so glad I have leftovers. I might have to go reheat some.
Memama’s Chicken Divan
I cut this recipe in half since it was just for me, Ryan, and Sadie. The handwritten recipe above is for 10 people. So my measurements might be a little different from the original. I also made this 1 day ahead of time. I assembled everything, put it in the fridge, and baked it the next day, which worked GREAT. This serves about 4-5 people. You could pair this with a green salad or fruit. My Memama served it with “Hot Fruit.” Recipe coming soon.
- 12-15 oz. package of frozen broccoli, cooked
- 3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (I used the healthy one—the 98%Fat Free)
- 3/4 tsp lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise (I used Duke’s Light Mayo)
- 6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 slices of firm white bread, crusts removed and cut into quarters
- melted butter- 2-4 Tbsp
Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a buttered casserole (I used a round Pyrex dish), layer the chicken and the broccoli. (I just sort of mixed it all together—I didn’t really have distinct layers.) Mix the soup, lemon juice, curry powder, and mayonnaise. Pour over the chicken and broccoli. Next, spread the cheese over the soup mixture. Dip the bread squares in the melted butter and cover the casserole with the bread pieces. Bake covered for 20 minutes, and then uncover for 10-15 more minutes, or until the bread squares are golden and crispy. Serve hot.
I had to enjoy mine on my grandparents’ china… because I know that’s how she would have served it. The only thing that could have made this recipe better is if she’d made it and if we were all sitting together around her table.