I love a good casserole. With a little bit of work up front and some time in the oven, you get dinner for a crowd and some leftovers too! And there is something that is always so comforting and homey about casserole. This creamy spinach artichoke chicken casserole is definitely comforting because it's super cheesy and creamy. But, it also sneaks in a big dose of vegetables too (2 pounds in fact!).
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Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole Ingredients
This casserole uses one rotisserie chicken (about 3.5 cups when shredded) so you can skip the step of having to pre-cook the chicken. You can also use any leftover chicken you have laying around. Light meat and/or dark meat is just fine. Or, you can of course saute some chicken in a skillet if you want to start from scratch! If you cook your own chicken, just make sure to salt your chicken while you are cooking it. Rotisserie chicken you buy in the store is already seasoned, so the salt in the recipe accounts for that.
Besides the rotisserie chicken, you will also need frozen spinach, frozen artichoke hearts, cream cheese, sour cream, salt, Parmesan cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese. I shredded my Parmesan and Monterey Jack cheeses by hand this time, but depending on my mood I will also buy pre-shredded. I am a fan of freshly grated/shredded cheeses. There are no caking agents added so it gives a smoother result. But sometimes I only have so much grating energy in me, you know?
Can I Make this Recipe Gluten Free?
Full disclosure - I don't eat gluten free and I'm not an expert on any certain diet. Always do your own research and due diligence on ingredients you are eating! But, since it seems like it's harder to find gluten free casserole recipes since many contain pasta, breadcrumbs, etc., I thought it would be helpful to discuss here.
Since there are no ingredients that are inherently wheaty (is that a word?) like pasta, then you could make this recipe gluten free as long as you make sure all the ingredients you are buying are labeled gluten free. (Sounds obvious but I thought it couldn't hurt to say it!) For instance, not all rotisserie chicken is gluten free. Worst case, you can always cook your own chicken at home!
And double-check your cheese and frozen veggies too. Here is an interesting article I came across about some considerations regarding buying cheese if you have a gluten allergy/sensitivity. And here is another one discussing frozen veggies.
How to Make Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to make Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole:
Pre-Step: Thaw Frozen Spinach and Artichoke Hearts in the Refrigerator
If you are a super put-together person and good at planning ahead, place your frozen artichoke hearts and spinach in the fridge to defrost the night before you want to make the casserole. (Place them on a plate or in a Ziploc bag just in case they leak a little bit.)
Step One: Thaw the Spinach (and Preheat!)
Ok, if you did not plan ahead to make this casserole, I still got you covered!
First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Also, take the block of cream cheese out of the fridge to start softening for later!
Then start in with the spinach: place it in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for two minutes. Stir the spinach to break up any chunks. Then microwave again for another two minutes and stir.
Step Two: Shred the Chicken
Go ahead and start this step while your spinach is in the microwave! Remove the skin from the chicken and shred the meat with your hands into medium-large pieces.
If you are using leftover chicken or cooking your own, you just need to end up with about three and a half cups of shredded chicken. If it's easier, you can also just chop the chicken into large chunks instead of shredding it.
Add the chicken into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan or casserole dish.
Step Three: Squeeze out the Spinach and Add it to the Chicken
Whether you've thawed your spinach in the fridge or the microwave, you will need to squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. No need to go overboard and cramp up your hands clenching fistfuls of spinach! Just do a thorough job of gently squeezing it. Then add it to the chicken in the baking pan.
Step Four: Artichoke Time!
Now it's the artichokes' turn. If you've pre-thawed, this step is easy. Just roughly chop or tear apart the artichoke hearts into smaller chunks and add to the pan.
If you need to thaw, add them to the same bowl you used to thaw your spinach. (Dump out the spinach water first!) Microwave on high for two minutes and stir, microwave for another two minutes and stir. Then follow the steps above (chop/tear, add to pan).
If you are freshly shredding any of your cheeses (either Monterey Jack and/or Parmesan, you can start this now while the microwave is going).
This Microplane (affiliate link) is the best tool around for shredding hard cheeses like Parmesan, it makes a tedious job super quick (and even kind of fun!). And as I mentioned in my Apricot Orange Energy Balls post, it also does an A+ job with zesting citrus!
Step Five: Mix Up the Creamy, Cheesy Goodness
You can use the same bowl you've been thawing the veggies in to mix up the cheese mixture (or, grab a medium bowl if you pre-thawed your vegetables).
Dump in the sour cream, one cup of the Parmesan, one cup of the shredded Monterey Jack, salt, and block of cream cheese that has been softening on the counter. This pink salt I'm using here is called Real Salt (affiliate link), a natural, unrefined, unprocessed sea salt!
Use a large spoon to break up the cream cheese into chunks and stir the mixture together until it's fairly even. Don't worry about making everything super smooth; if there are small chunks of cream cheese left in the mixture that's fine, that bite will taste extra delicious!
Step Six: Combine the Cheese with the Chicken and Vegetables
Add the cheese mixture to the ingredients in the pan and stir everything together. Smooth everything out with the spoon so it's even in the pan. But, you don't need the top to be perfectly flat, a little texture is fine.
Step Seven: Top with Cheese and Bake the Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole
Sprinkle the remaining Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheese on the top and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is nicely browned.
I hope this casserole gives some comfort and joy to your family and anyone you share it with. If you are in need of some more chicken dinner recipes, check these out!
This casserole uses rotisserie chicken, frozen spinach and frozen artichoke hearts to save time on prep. A creamy, cheesy comfort food that’s sure to please!
- 16 oz. frozen chopped spinach
- 16 oz. frozen artichoke hearts
- 1 rotisserie chicken, about 3.5 cups when shredded (see notes)
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
- 2 tsp. salt
1. Pre-step: Place the spinach and artichoke hearts in the fridge the night before to thaw. Place on a plate or inside a Ziploc bag to prevent leaks. (If you don’t have time to thaw the vegetables in the fridge, follow the microwave thawing steps below.)
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and take the cream cheese out of the fridge to soften.
3. If your spinach is frozen, place it in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for two minutes. Stir, and microwave again for another two minutes, stir. While the spinach is microwaving, shred or chop the rotisserie chicken into large pieces and place inside a 9 x 13 inch casserole or baking pan.
4. Squeeze the moisture out of the thawed spinach and add to the 9 x 13 pan.
5. If your artichoke hearts are frozen, place them into the same bowl the spinach was in (dump out the spinach water first!). Microwave on high for two minutes, stir, and microwave again for another two minutes, stir. While the artichoke hearts are microwaving, shred the cheeses if you didn’t buy pre-shredded cheese.
6. Tear or chop the artichokes into smaller pieces and add to the 9 x 13 pan.
7. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, salt, 1 cup Monterey Jack and 1 cup Parmesan to the same medium bowl. Break up the cream cheese with a large spoon and stir to combine. Add to the 9 x 13 pan and stir to combine all the ingredients. Make sure the ingredients are distributed evenly in the pan (the top doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth however).
8. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and Monterey Jack cheeses and bake for 25 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly around the edges and the top is browned.
If you don’t want to use rotisserie chicken, you can use any leftover chicken (white and/or dark meat) or cook your own. You will need 3.5 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. If you are cooking your own chicken, make sure to season it with salt!
If you want to make this recipe gluten free, see the discussion "Can I Make This Recipe Gluten Free?" in the blog post above for more information.
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