Chicken in the Van (Chicken Divan)

I embarrassingly and hilariously thought this meal I ate once, made by my mother-in-law, was called “Chicken in the Van”… it’s chicken, baked with creamy, cheesy, breadcrumby goodness. I’m pretty sure no one out here talks faster than I do, so I must just listen too slow. What sounded like “Chick-in-da-van” had to be “Chicken in the Van” in my mind! Since being corrected, I learned Chicken Divan was a dish named after the place it was created, the Divan Parisienne Restaurant in New York City.chickendivan2

Ah well, I blame it on the fact that casseroles weren’t a thing in the house I grew up in. However, Chicken, Broccoli, & Cheddar is seriously one of my favorite combinations ever. I just had to try out this recipe while my husband is out of the house and will come home later looking for food.

I used 1 package of broccoli and 1/2 of a cauliflower. Carb lovers are encouraged to serve with rice! As a low carb option, you could do cauliflower “rice” on the side and keep the amount of broccoli. It takes a good amount of motivation for me to pull my food processor out, so I opted for mixing the two.


*note: we strive for organics + grass-fed meat/dairy

  • 2 bunches broccoli or 2 packages frozen
  • 16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts (whole, sliced, or cubed)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika to taste

For the sauce: you can use 2 cans of cream of broccoli, chicken, etc. soup -or-

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 5 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons medium-dry Sherry


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add cooked broccoli to a 9 x 13 baking dish. Season the chicken breasts with salt & pepper, then cook in olive oil until lightly browned. Place/arrange the chicken on the broccoli.chix

To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook the roux, stirring for 3 minutes. Slowly add the broth, sherry, and milk while stirring. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add a 1/2 cup of the cheese and whisk until it’s incorporated.chickendivan1

Pour the sauce on top of the broccoli. and chicken. Melt 2 tbs butter and mix with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese and breadcrumbs on top of the chicken and broccoli. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.chickendivanchickeninthevan

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