Recipe Re-Do: Martha Stewart’s Chicken and Kale Casserole

17 Nov

Skinny chicken & kale casserole

You know what we all need to eat more of??


In the same the family as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage, kale gets gold stars in the nutrition department. Kale is packed with vitamins, calcium and cancer-fighting compounds. Although kale is available all year, it is especially plentiful this time of year which means that it is über cheap too. I picked up a huge bunch today in the produce department for under a dollar making kale a better buy than lettuce or spinach. Score!!

So, I’ve decided we should all add kale to our diet. But not if that means dressing it up with a ton of fat. Take, for example, the Chicken and Kale Casserole in Martha Stewart’s November issue of Everyday Food. What is there not to love about a casserole combining chicken and kale?? Well…how about the 48 ounce container of ricotta cheese that the recipe called for. Martha, Martha, Martha. What the heck are you thinking?? Seriously, who puts that much ricotta cheese in any dish unless its my brother-in-law’s 19 pound lasagna??

I really liked the idea of the recipe so I made a few changes. I reduced the amount of ricotta and added a white sauce made of milk and flour to meld it all together. My version (FTW) comes in at a third fewer calories and half the fat of the original.


  • 1 large bunch kale (4 to 6 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 12 ounces large pasta shells
  • 12 ounces diced chicken
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Chop the kale into pieces, discarding the ribs and any woody stems. Place the kale in a large microwave safe bowl with a lid. Add about 1/2 cup water to the bottom. Cover and steam the kale for about 5 minutes in the microwave (see Kat’s tip below)
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook pasta according to directions. Drain and keep warm.
  • In same pan, melt butter over medium heat
  • Stir in onions and garlic; cook about 5 minutes until onions are soft.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir well until flour disappears.
  • Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Add the ricotta and continue stirring until the cheese is combined and the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the kale, cooked pasta, chicken, spices and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese to pan and stir well until everything is combined.
  • Pour into a well greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serves 8

Kat’s tip: Kale is in season from December to April. To retain the most nutrients, it’s advised to steam kale. Hence the microwave cooking. I really wanted to get away with one pot but it didn’t work out that way.

Nutritional breakdown (Kat’s version):

Calories 335  Total Fat 8 g  Cholesterol 46 mg  Sodium 181 mg  Potassium 452 mg  Total Carbohydrate 43 g  Protein 23 g

Nutritional breakdown (Martha’s version):

Calories 563  Total Fat 22 g Total Carbohydrate 52 g  Protein 40 g


Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Low fat, Weight Loss Wars, Weight Watchers


Tags: ,

5 responses to “Recipe Re-Do: Martha Stewart’s Chicken and Kale Casserole

  1. Mom

    November 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I need some kind of organizing for all these recipes. Have pieces of paper all over!!

  2. Miranda

    January 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I just made the recipe in Martha stewart’s mag tonight and I found your site by googling the name of the dish and “too much ricotta.” I thought for sure that 48 oz was a typo! I made it with just around 20 oz and that was a stretch. Nice to see I wasn’t the only one who thought that was nuts!

    • Kathryn

      January 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

      Glad I could help! I ended up eating the whole casserole and loving every bite. I ,ay need to make it again soon.

  3. Debra

    April 18, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Hi Kathryn, I made Martha’s recipe last nite. I thought it was very bland and I was also surprised at how much ricotta cheese was used! I was looking now for ideas on how to season the ricotta cheese and was surprised to find that you did a re-do of this recipe! I have a sensitivity to gluten so I won’t use the flour but will try to use less ricotta cheese and try the milk. What seasoning would you recommend to make it a bit more savory?

    • Kathryn

      April 18, 2013 at 6:32 am

      Debra, it’s been a while since I made this but my initial thought when I saw your comments was to sub some spicy sausage for all or part of the chicken. This also makes me think fennel seed would be a good seasoning to add with or without the sausage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: