Phyllo dough gives casserole touch of elegance

This Chicken and Broccoli Bake features phyllo dough for a light, delicious pastry.

This Chicken and Broccoli Bake features phyllo dough for a light, delicious pastry.

Robin McDaniel is a community columnist for Blount Today and writes the weekly column - In The Kitchen. Every week she prepares or collaborates on a recipe then cooks and photographs the dish for Blount Today. Robin must consider it a labor of love. You can certainly see the love and care she puts into In the Kitchen each week.

I love baking with phyllo dough. The paper-thin sheets of dough give dishes a light and elegant touch that makes even the ordinary casserole something special.

Phyllo dough can be used for everything from appetizers to desserts. The thin sheets do tend to dry out quickly when exposed to air, so work with it one sheet at a time. Keep the remainder covered with plastic wrap or a damp cloth to keep the dough from being dry and crackly.

Phyllo dough can be purchased in the frozen food section at your grocers and is most often sold in one pound boxes. One of the advantages of phyllo is that it freezes very well, whether baked or unbaked. Try this recipe made with phyllo dough, and you’ll fall in love with the elegance it adds to a simple chicken and broccoli bake.

Phyllo Chicken and Broccoli Bake

12 to 14 sheets phyllo dough, room temperature

1 stick margarine or butter, melted

3 cups diced, cooked chicken

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup diced celery

1 pkg. (9 or 10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

5 eggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Spray sides and bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with any non-stick spray. Place one sheet of phyllo in bottom of baking dish. Lightly brush with melted butter. Repeat with each sheet until there are five sheets on the bottom.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Add chicken, bacon, celery, broccoli and cheese. Blend lightly.

Pour mixture over phyllo sheets in baking dish.

Cover mixture with a sheet of phyllo dough. Brush with butter. Layer six to eight more sheets of dough to form top crust, brushing each sheet with butter before adding the next sheet.

Brush top with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered for 35 minutes at 375 degrees, until golden brown on top. Let stand about 10 minutes before slicing.

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