Meal Makeover! Chicken a la King

Every week my inbox fills up with delicious looking recipes from companies like Betty Crocker.  The not so delicious part of the recipes are all of the artificial ingredients!  However, being a busy mom, I can see the appeal of trading real food for the real convenience that pre-packaged products provide.  So, every week I challenge myself to do a real meal makeover with one of the recipes by swapping out the fake food but keeping it a quick and easy meal.  This week was Chicken a la King and it turned out so well I actually made it on Thursday and Sunday!

The total time for Betty Crocker’s version (after cooking the chicken) is 20 minutes.  The total time including cooking the chicken for my version is just over 30 minutes and the results are incredible!  I swapped out the two “fake” foods in Betty’s recipe – Pillsbury Grands Buttermilk biscuits and Progresso Vegetable classics cream of mushroom soup – and replaced them with the homemade versions.  Fortunately these two items are so easy to make at home – and so much better! – that it’s not even worth buying the packaged versions.  Just compare the ingredients in the cream of mushroom soup.


To make the recipe really convenient you could make the soup and the biscuit dough the night before, but it’s not necessary.  You can still make this recipe in 30 minutes.  The trick is to multitask (something moms do every day!)

Below is the Junk Free version of Chicken a la King, as well as the recipes for the soup and biscuits.  Following the recipes is my technique for pulling it all together quickly.


Chicken a la King
Author: Carrie Saunders
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli florets (or peas)
  • buttermilk biscuits
  • cream of mushroom soup
  • olive oil
  1. Season the chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. Swirl about 2 Tbs. olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium high heat and stir fry the chicken until just barely pink inside.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  4. Add the chopped onion and red pepper to the pan and cook until onion is soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  5. Pour soup into pan and add the broccoli (or peas).
  6. Add the chicken back into pan.
  7. Cook over medium heat until warm and bubbly.
  8. Serve over sliced biscuits.
Homemade Cream of Mushroom soup
Author: Carrie Saunders
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour (divided)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic.
  2. Stir for about 2 minutes and then toss in the sliced mushrooms.
  3. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms and onions are soft.
  4. Sprinkle about 2 Tbs. of whole wheat flour over the vegetables and stir for :30 to slightly cook the flour.
  5. Pour chicken broth into pot and stir.
  6. Let cook for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  7. Add salt, pepper and thyme.
  8. Pour in cream and last Tablespoon of flour.
  9. Heat through, stirring occasionally, until warm and thickened.
Buttermilk Biscuits
Author: Carrie Saunders
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4+ teaspoon baking soda (totaling a little less than 1/2 tsp)
  • 6.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)
  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tbs. buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together
  3. Cut butter into thin slices and arrange over flour mixture.[img src=”×170.jpg” width=”255″ height=”170″ class=”alignright size-thumbnail” title=”butter”]
  4. Cut butter into flour with a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs form.
  5. Create a well in center of flour and pour in buttermilk.[img src=”×170.jpg” width=”255″ height=”170″ class=”alignright size-thumbnail” title=”buttermilk”]
  6. Stir until just combined.
  7. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and, with lightly floured hands, pat dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick.
  8. Fold dough into 1/3rds, flip over, and pat out into rectangle again.
  9. Repeat.
  10. Pat into final 1/2″ rectangle shape.[img src=”×170.jpg” width=”255″ height=”170″ class=”alignright size-thumbnail” title=”measure”]
  11. With a biscuit cutter, or a glass that’s about 2.5″ diameter, cut out biscuits.[img src=”×170.jpg” width=”255″ height=”170″ class=”alignright size-thumbnail” title=”cut”]
  12. Pat extra dough into rectangle and continue cutting biscuits until dough is gone (about 11 or 12 rolls).
  13. Put on ungreased cookie sheet, with biscuits touching one another.
  14. Beat 1 egg and combine with 1 Tablespoon buttermilk to create an egg wash.
  15. Brush across tops of biscuits and bake for 15 minutes.

To put this all together into a speedy dinner do the following:

1) preheat oven to 425 degrees for your biscuits

2) Prepare the biscuits and pop into the oven – 15 minutes

  • Measure and whisk together dry ingredients  – 4 minutes
  • Cut butter into flour mixture for biscuits – 2 minutes
  • Pour buttermilk into flour mixture, stir, and turn out onto floured surface. 1 minute
  • Pat out dough – 3 minutes
  • Cut biscuits, brush with egg wash and pop in oven – 5 minutes (work quickly so the butter doesn’t start to melt).

3) Chop the veggies (1/2 cup red pepper, 3/4 cup onion).  I use jarred minced garlic and presliced mushrooms – 2 minutes

4) Melt the butter in pot for soup and stir in mushrooms, onions, garlic.  – 1 minute

5) While that’s cooking, slice the chicken breast into bite sized pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper – 5 minutes

6) Sprinkle flour over soup veggies and stir for :30.  Pour in chicken broth, stir, and let cook while you

7) Heat olive oil in frying pan, add chicken and stir.  1 minute.

8) Pour cream, flour and seasoning into soup. (1 minute)  Turn burner to low and let simmer while you cook the chicken.

9) Stir fry the chicken until just barely pink inside – about 5 minutes.

10) Remove biscuits from oven.

11)Remove chicken from pan and toss red pepper and 1/2 cup onion into pan.  Stir fry until onion is soft – 3 minutes

12) Add broccoli to pan (or peas), return chicken to pan and pour soup into pan.  Turn heat to low, stir, and heat through.

12) Serve over sliced biscuits.



$20 Meals, dinner
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