Chicken Florentine

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Chicken Florentine is an easy-to-prepare casserole dish that will become a family favorite. It features lots of vegetables cooked with chicken breasts. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Chicken Florentine is an easy-to-prepare casserole dish that will become a family favorite. It features lots of vegetables cooked with chicken breasts.

ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Chicken Florentine

Serves 6. Recipe is by Corinne Cook.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used the rather small ones, pounded to an even thickness.)

Salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste, divided

3 tbls. butter

8 ozs. sliced fresh mushrooms

2 (14-oz.) bags cut leaf spinach (I used the PictSweet brand), defrosted OR partially cooked and drained

Sauce

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Cooked pasta, optional

For sauce:

2 tbls. butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of ½ lemon

1 (10.75-oz.) can cream of mushroom soup

3/4 cup whole milk or half-and-half

1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, more if desired

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 or 3 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled OR ¼ cup real bacon bits

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towel. Remove yellow fat. Place in plastic bag, one piece at a time and pound (using a flat mallet) to a more even thickness. Season lightly with salt and peppers. Set aside.

3. In large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add mushrooms and spinach and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat while stirring until mushrooms are cooked through and spinach is thoroughly cooked. Place in 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.

4. Place chicken over spinach and mushroom mixture. Set aside.

5. To make sauce: In medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and stir in minced garlic. Sauté for about 2 minutes, just until garlic is fragrant but not browned. Add lemon juice, mushroom soup, milk, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Continue stirring sauce until it’s smooth and thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat and pour over chicken and spinach. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon or bacon pieces.

6. Bake, uncovered, in preheated 350-degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

7. Serve alone or over a small bed of cooked pasta.