Busy Night Baked Chicken with Spinach is so easy to prepare, and so delicious, it will quickly become one of your favorite, go-to recipes!
The Fastest Chicken Spinach Casserole Around
Busy Night Baked Chicken with Spinach was one of my mom’s favorite recipes. It only takes around 15 minutes to put together, and calls for just a few ingredients, all of which you are likely to have in your pantry (cupboard, frig or freezer) – frozen chopped spinach, chicken, cream of chicken soup, curry, mayo, sherry and Cheddar cheese. And it’s so easy, I often include it in my cooking classes for young kids!
Substitute for Cream of Chicken Soup
I often get asked for substitutes for “Cream of . . .” soups. Maybe there’s an allergy issue, or a desire to focus on eating fresh vs. processed foods. Either way, I have created a substitute for this use in this Chicken and Spinach recipe:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/3 cup whole or 2% milk
- In a small saucepan, make a white sauce.
Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour, garlic powder and onion powder and cook for 3 minutes over low heat, whisking constantly. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring, until it begins to thicken.
- Add seasonings.
Whisk in curry powder, mayonnaise and sherry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to Make Chicken and Spinach Bake
Here are the easy steps to follow:
- Prep oven and baking dish.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish (8 by 8-inch or 7 by 11-inch work well).
- Thaw and dry spinach.
Place frozen spinach in a fine mesh strainer under hot running water until thawed. Let cool then squeeze out moisture.
- Layer spinach and chicken in prepared dish.
Spread spinach evenly on the bottom of the prepared dish. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces (around 1/2 to 3/4-inch) and distribute evenly over spinach.
- Mix and add sauce.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together soup, curry powder, mayonnaise and sherry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread evenly over top of chicken.
- Bake halfway.
Place casserole in oven and bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.
- Add cheese and finish baking.
Sprinkle grated Cheddar cheese evenly ,over top and continue baking, uncovered, for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is done (165 degrees on an instant read thermometer), casserole is bubbly hot and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
How to Serve This Chicken Spinach Recipe
To serve this quick and easy chicken dish, simply spoon out portions onto individual dinner plates, along with cook rice and a tossed salad. Mom would also add some sort of rolls or bread, too.
Chicken and Spinach Variations
There are many, many ways you can vary this recipe by adding and/or substituting other ingredients. I make this casserole so often, I like to change it up a bit so Robert doesn’t get bored! Here are a few variations to try:
- Add cooked rice. Place around 2 cups of cooked rice (white, brown or a mixture) on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Use fresh spinach. Cook, cool, squeeze dry and chop 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of fresh baby spinach leaves. Add in place of the frozen spinach.
- Substitute cooked broccoli. Cook, cool and chop 1 medium head broccoli and use in place of frozen spinach.
- Add or use other types of cheese. Switch out part of the Cheddar cheese for Mozzarella, American, Swiss or Monterey Jack cheese.
- Spice it up by adding jalapeño peppers and/or green chiles. Mix 1chopped small fresh jalapeño pepper or one can diced green chiles into the sauce.
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Spinach Chicken Casserole
This Chicken with Spinach dish can be prepared, but not baked, up to 24 hours ahead of time. It can also be baked ahead and rewarmed a 350 degree oven. In either case, to store it – wrap it tightly and place in refrigerator.
This casserole can also be baked and frozen. Again, wrap it tightly and cool it first in the refrigerator, then place in the freezer. It will keep 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer.
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- 2 packages (10 ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 3 or 4 (around 1 1/2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs and/or tenders
- 1 can (10 3/4 ounce) cream of chicken soup (see Substitute below)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, or more, depending on the strength of your curry powder
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine (or more to taste)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 2 quart baking dish (I like to use an 8 by 8-inch or 7 by 11-inch dish).
- Spread spinach on the bottom of the prepared dish.
- Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and distribute evenly over spinach.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soup, curry powder, mayonnaise and sherry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread evenly over top of chicken and bake for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over the top and continue baking for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done, casserole is bubbly hot, and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
Make ahead: Casserole can be prepared up 24 hours ahead covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Substitute for cream of chicken soup:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/3 cup whole or 2% milk
In a small saucepan, make a white sauce: melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour, garlic powder and onion powder and cook for 3 minutes over low heat, whisking constantly. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring, until it begins to thicken. Whisk in curry powder, mayonnaise and sherry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread evenly over top of chicken and bake per instructions above.
- Category: poultry, main dish, quick and easy