Chicken Tri-Almandine Casserole #WHOLE30-Compliant


Chicken Tri-Almandine Casserole #WHOLE30-Compliant

Today’s recipe is the 3rd in a series based on the list of the 30 foods identified as best for producing beautiful skin and hair in a recent study by HealthGrove. As I have previously written, all but 3 of the 30 foods on that list are WHOLE30 compliant. I also think it’s worth pointing out that the 3 foods on the list not technically considered WHOLE30 compliant are legumes (i.e. beans), not dairy or grains; and that none of the legumes are soy or soy derivatives. That is both fascinating and frustrating, because as a reformed vegan myself, I totally bought into the soy-as-health-food myth for so long. For more on my journey away from the land of faux meat patties and into the freedom and tremendous #NSVs I discovered through WHOLE30, check out the hot linked articles above or listed below.

In case you missed it, previous recipes include: Cheezy Broccoli Soup with Crispy Potato Croutons (#20 from the list) and #WHOLE30-Compliant Stuffed Zucchini Two Ways (#29 from Healthgrove list). Today’s beautifying ingredient is ALMONDS (#26 from the list)!

Almonds are a great source of biotin (one of the B vitamins necessary for cell growth and often recommended as a supplement to strengthen hair and nails; source), Vitamin E and Manganese. In fact a 1/4 cup of sliced almonds provide almost 50% of your daily requirement of biotin for only 132 calories (source). Pretty beautiful, indeed! I’m really excited about this recipe because it uses not one or two but three different forms of almonds – whole almonds, unsweetened almond milk and almond flour. If you’re looking for yet another way to sneak these super healthy and beautifying little nuts into your diet, consider almond butter. Almond butter is a delicious and healthier alternative to peanut butter as detailed in this article, complete with a quick and easy DIY recipe. Be sure to check it out!

This would be a great time to try out the WHOLE30-approved brand New Barn almond milk if it’s available near you, or you can obviously use homemade almond milk or other approved variety. If you can’t find almond flour, it’s easy to make. Just toss about ¼ cup whole almonds in a coffee grinder or food processor and process until no lumps or chunks remain.

This recipe also caused a minor sensation in our household because we could not agree on our preferred protein. I made this recipe twice in 2 days, and we literally ate it for 4 straight meals (not counting breakfasts). The first time I made it, I used 2 lb. ground turkey breast. The second time, I used chicken tenderloins (as below). I personally preferred the ground turkey version, but then I (always) prefer turkey to chicken. Hubs preferred the chicken version, and my mother was undecided. If you happen to prefer one over the other, just know that both proteins work equally well. And if you happen to have about 2 cups of leftover cooked, diced meat available, you can skip several steps (1,2,and 5) which is good. As I also noted below, you can prepare this recipe through step #8 ahead of time and keep it tightly covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before completing and serving. And it makes a ton, definitely enough for dinner and several lunch servings.

IMG_2379 • 2.5 lb. bag boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins (e.g. Tyson), defrosted
• 2 Tbsp. coconut oil (I used Carrington’s Organic Extra Virgin)
• 2-10 oz. pkg. steam-in-bag haricot vert or whole green beans (I used Pictsweet brand)
• 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
• 1.5 cups whole almonds (raw or oil-roasted)
• 2-8 oz. pkg. sliced mushrooms
• 1.5 tsp. salt, divided
• ¼ tsp. garlic or 1 garlic clove, minced
• Nonstick spray (I used Pam nonstick coconut oil spray)

For the Sauce –
• 2 whole eggs or 1/2 cup egg whites
• 3 heaping Tbsp. canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
• 1 can Thai Kitchen Organic coconut milk
• ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk, homemade, or WHOLE30 approved e.g. New Barn
• 1 tsp. lemon juice
• 1 Tbsp. Coconut Secret Aminos sauce
• 1/8 tsp. white pepper
• ¼ tsp. mustard powder
• ½ tsp. dried turmeric
• 2 Tbsp. nutrient yeast (optional)

For the Topping –
• 2 Tbsp. potato flakes, e.g. Bob’s Red Mill+++
• 3 Tbsp. almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
• ½ tsp. salt

• Large nonstick skillet
• 9X13” baking dish or pan
• Cutting board
• Chef’s knife
• Tongs
• Aluminum foil

1. Place frying pan over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add coconut oil and allow oil to melt. Then add chicken tenderloins and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Brown chicken stirring and turning occasionally, until cooked through (about 15 minutes).
2. Remove chicken from pan and allow chicken tenders to drain on paper towels.
3. While chicken is cooling, add another 1 Tbsp. coconut oil to skillet and turn heat to MEDIUM. When oil has melted, pour both packages of mushrooms into pan along with ½ tsp. salt and garlic powder or minced garlic clove. Cook mushrooms over MEDIUM-HIGH heat stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Then lower heat to MEDIUM and cook about 5 more minutes. Turn off heat and remove pan from stove.
4. While mushrooms are cooking, place green beans in microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for approximately half the time required for two bags. (Example: I have a high-powered microwave that should have cooked both bags in 8 minutes according to package directions so I cooked both bags together on HIGH for 5 minutes).
5. When chicken is cool enough to handle, move to cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces.
6. Spray a 9X13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and preheat oven to 375° and begin adding in the following order:
7. First place chicken chunks at the bottom of baking dish or pan. Next carefully pour green beans into dish. Then add almonds, drained water chestnuts and cooked mushrooms.
8. Sprinkle casserole ingredients with remaining ½ tsp. salt. Using tongs, gently toss vegetables to combine.
N.B. You can prepare casserole through this step up to 3 days in advance and keep it tightly covered in the refrigerator.
9. Next, prepare sauce as follows: Place eggs into large (should hold at least 3 cups, or 48 oz.) measuring cup or bowl and gently whisk until beaten (if using whole eggs). Next add pumpkin and stir until smooth. Then pour entire can of coconut milk and almond milk into mixture and stir until thoroughly combined and smooth in consistency. Then add next 6 ingredients and stir until well-combined. Then pour this sauce over casserole as evenly as possible. Then using tongs, gently toss casserole ingredients again to distribute sauce. It will look something like this:
10. In a small cup, stir together potato flakes, almond flour and salt using a fork. Then sprinkle mixture evenly over top casserole. Cover casserole with aluminum foil.

Here's the casserole ready to be covered and baked!

Here’s the casserole ready to be covered and baked!

11. Bake (covered) for 45 minutes at 375°. Then remove from oven. Increase oven temp to 400° and remove aluminum foil.
12. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes longer (uncovered) at 400°.
13. Remove from oven and allow to rest uncovered for 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

                                                                       Makes 8 servings.

+++ NOTE: this recipe uses potato flakes, canned coconut milk and almond milk. It is important to always check the ingredient lists of any products you purchase and consume, especially when doing WHOLE30. Some potato flakes and canned coconut milks contain sulfite preservatives, and some brands of almond milk contain carrageenan (a thickening agent), which are not approved for consumption during WHOLE30 (and which aren’t healthy for us to consume anyway). I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes and Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk. And I highly recommend you check out the WHOLE30 list of approved and unapproved additives and the other resources available at WHOLE30’s website to educate yourself prior to beginning your own WHOLE30 journey and anytime you have questions along the way.

Wisdom of the Day:
If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of our benevolent God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.
~James 1:5 (AMPLIFIED)
Read more here.

Resources of the Day:
Planning on taking a road trip this coming Memorial Day? Us too. And we’re probably gonna have to eat at least 1 or 2 restaurant meals along the way. Check out these resources for tips on how to stay the WHOLE30 course while traveling this summer.
1. Life Health HQ WHOLE30 Restaurant Guide
2. The Whole9 Guide To Navigating a Restaurant Menu

BTW: The post I referenced in the intro describing all the positive results I gained during our first WHOLE30 (known as Non Scale Victories or #NSVs) can be read here: WHOLE30 Post Script I. And my discussion about my journey from faux-meat-addicted vegan to dedicated WHOLE30-er may be accessed here: All In – Making a Lasting Commitment to the WHOLE30 Lifestyle.