Who says comfort food can’t be healthy? If you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious meal that will satisfy your cravings, look no further than this lightened up spinach chicken cornbread bake recipe.
Cornbread bakes are a staple in many households, but they can be loaded with unhealthy ingredients like butter and heavy cream. However, with a few simple substitutions and additions, you can turn this classic dish into a healthy and satisfying meal.
This recipe is perfect for those who want to enjoy comfort food without compromising their health goals. Packed with protein and veggies, this spinach chicken cornbread bake is a complete meal that will keep you full and satisfied for hours. So, let’s get started on this delicious and easy-to-make recipe!
Before jumping into the recipe, you’ll need a few key ingredients and kitchen tools. For this lightened-up spinach chicken cornbread bake, you’ll need:
1. Chicken Breast: You can use either cooked rotisserie chicken or bake and shred your own chicken breasts.
2. Spinach: 2 cups of fresh baby spinach, which adds a nice boost of essential vitamins and minerals to this dish.
3. Corn Muffin Mix: Use your favorite corn muffin mix for the crust – you can use a homemade version or a store-bought mix.
4. Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Melted cheese is always a crowd-pleaser and adds an extra layer of deliciousness to this dish.
5. Bell Pepper: Adding a diced bell pepper adds a pop of color and a bit of crunch to the casserole.
6. Enchilada Sauce: The creamy sauce will give your bake a bit of heat and flavor.
7. Brown Rice: Substitute traditional white rice with brown rice for a more nutritious option.
In addition to these main ingredients, you’ll also need ground black pepper, kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and cooking spray to prep your casserole dish.
For kitchen tools, you’ll need a food processor (optional, for shredding the chicken), a pot of water to cook the brown rice, and a 9×13 inch prepared baking dish. Make sure to have all of these items on hand before starting to prepare your lightened-up spinach chicken cornbread bake.
Preparing the ingredients for your lightened-up spinach chicken cornbread bake is an important step in creating a delicious and nutritious dish that your family and friends will love.
To start, you will need to gather your key ingredients. If you are using chicken breast, you can either cook rotisserie chicken or bake and shred your own chicken breasts. Make sure to remove any bones or skin before shredding.
Next, grab two cups of fresh baby spinach and chop it into small pieces. The leafy greens will add a much-needed boost of vitamins and minerals to your dish. You can also substitute with other leafy greens such as kale or Swiss chard for a different twist.
For the cornbread crust, you can use your favorite corn muffin mix, either homemade or store-bought. If you opt for a store-bought mix, check the label to ensure it’s a lighter version, lower in calories and reduced in sugar content.
When it comes to your cheese, sharp cheddar is an ideal choice for its depth of flavor and easy melting. Grate the cheese ahead of time to make it easier to sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
In addition to cheese, add spices like garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper to give your dish an extra zing of flavor. Be careful not to over-season and taste test as you go!
For the final touches, grab a cooking spray, a casserole dish, and some enchilada sauce (either canned or homemade) to complete your recipe. The dish can be served as a delicious side or as a main course.
Preparing your ingredients well ahead of time can save you time in the kitchen and makes the cooking process much smoother. Once you have everything ready, you can begin making your lightened-up spinach chicken cornbread bake.
One of the most important elements of the spinach chicken cornbread bake recipe is the sauce mixture and cheese layer.
To create the sauce mixture, you’ll need to start with a pot of water on medium heat. Add in a few cloves of minced garlic and whisk together with a creamy sauce of your choice. Sour cream works wonders in this recipe, adding a tangy flavor that complements the other ingredients perfectly. Be sure to mix well and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Once the sauce mixture is complete, it’s time to layer the ingredients. Begin with a layer of the cooked and shredded chicken, followed by a layer of the chopped spinach. Pour the sauce mixture evenly over the top, making sure to cover all areas of the dish.
Next, sprinkle in a generous amount of the grated sharp cheddar cheese. The cheese layer is key to adding a warm, gooey texture to the dish. Make sure to distribute the cheese evenly, covering all areas of the casserole.
Finally, prepare the cornbread mixture according to the package instructions. Pour the mixture over the cheese layer, spreading it out evenly. The cornbread will help to hold all of the ingredients together and create a delicious crust on top.
Bake the dish in a prepared baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Cook in a preheated oven until golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and melted.
This dish is sure to be a family favorite, perfect for a cozy night in or a potluck with friends. With its healthy blend of chicken, spinach, and brown rice, it’s a lighter version than many casseroles that still packs a flavorful punch. Try this delicious recipe today and enjoy a meal that’s sure to earn a five-star rating!
Your spinach chicken cornbread bake can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat, place in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and heat on low for 10 minutes. Alternately, you can also reheat individual slices in the microwave for a few seconds until heated through.
To enjoy your spinach chicken cornbread bake dish, preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and pour in the cornbread mixture. Top with the chicken, spinach, sauce mixture, and grated cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top and cheese is melted. Let cool briefly before serving and enjoy!
If you’re looking to switch things up, try adding diced bell peppers, mushrooms, or other vegetables of your choice. You can also substitute the chicken for ground beef or turkey to make a different version of the dish. To make it vegan, replace the meat with plant-based protein such as tofu or tempeh. For a Mexican-style twist, try adding in canned black beans or jalapenos.
Once the ingredients are prepped, you can begin creating your lightened-up spinach chicken cornbread bake. Begin by pouring the cornbread mixture into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with the cooked and shredded chicken, spinach, sauce mixture, and grated cheese. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top and cheese is melted. Let cool briefly before serving and enjoy!
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