Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole is a big hit here at our house!

You need about 4 cups chicken (seared and cubed into bite-sized pieces or shredded)

*Chicken can be done earlier in the day by tossing it into the crockpot and shredded*

*My main method for the chicken is to slice into strips - about 1/2 inch thick. Generously salt (most of the time we use garlic salt), pepper, and paprika the chicken, sometimes I'll add some onion powder and fresh garlic, too - sear in a fairly hot pan, and when it's done, slice it into smaller pieces.*

3 broccoli heads
(about 4 cups - you can also use frozen broccoli, if you prefer and steam either broccoli so it's almost tender)
2 cans cream of chicken
1 large lemon, juiced (about 1/4 cup, a little more if you prefer)
1/2 cup mayonnaise

(Miracle Whip will change the taste of this dish, but if you prefer, then by all means, use Miracle Whip in place of the mayonnaise!)
4 - 6 teaspoons curry powder (taste it after adding 4, and add more if you'd like)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Bread crumbs

*see instructions below*

Take 6 - 8 pieces of bread and run through food processor until they're consistent with breadcrumbs.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a deep frying pan. Add bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper,  1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, and 1 teaspoon parsley. Saute on medium heat for about 7 minutes, turning often, until bread is slightly browned. Set aside.

***Side Note: if you are using Panko breadcrumbs to save time, or you'd prefer to NOT cook them ahead of time, just stir about 3 cups of breadcrumbs into half stick of melted butter, parsley, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper and follow the rest of the steps to top the casserole.***

Combine the cream of chicken, mayonnaise, curry powder and pepper in blender, pulse a few times until combined. Next, add lemon juice and pulse just until blended. (If you mix it too much with the lemon in it, it can curdle, so make sure it's *just* until blended.)

Scrape out of food processor and into a bowl, in which you have combined the chicken and broccoli (steam the broccoli first). Stir until mixed. Pour into greased casserole dish or individual ramekins, if you'd like. Put browned breadcrumbs on top. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 - 40 minutes, or until bubbly and brown.

Serve and enjoy!

***You can also make a double batch, and freeze half of it, with the breadcrumbs separated from the casserole, in an airtight freezer ziplock bag, and it makes for an easy meal... pop it out of the freezer and into the fridge the night before, right before baking, top with breadcrumbs, and bake for 40 minutes.***