Chicken Divan Over Egg Noodles

I grew up with the best godparents a girl could ask for.  My Aunt Laura and Uncle Bob (who are technically my great-aunt and great-uncle) never let a holiday or special occasion go by without some kind of simple reminder of how much they loved me and how happy they were to be my godmother and godfather.  I have so many memories of when we visited them or they came to visit us; homemade pretzels and Easter egg cupcakes, the infamous huge brown paper bag of bagels, going swimming at the community pool and playing on the shuffleboard courts. I fondly recall the time my Aunt let me eat just the skin off of the leftover roasted chicken after dinner and then ice cream sundaes for breakfast the next day.  

It's funny though, how as a kid you can go through the years knowing how much you love someone, knowing that they are special and kind-hearted people, yet not really know all that much about the life they lived and the experiences that helped shape them into the people that seem so familiar. 

My Uncle decided to do some traveling after my Aunt passed away when he came to town and my husband and I had him over for dinner.  It was then, over this simple comforting dish, that I learned some of the stories of my Uncle's life.  We sat around the table and ate and talked and I learned things that I had never known.  I always liked this chicken divan recipe, but it never really meant all that much until I served it that night.  

Sometimes a small informal meal accompanied by intimate moments of reflection with loved ones can leave a bigger impact on you than the lavish thirty-guest party you spent three months planning.  So now, when I cook this meal I always smile and think of my Aunt and Uncle.  I think about the countless memories we've shared, the memories my Uncle shared with me that night and the stories still left untold.  

  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 tbsp sherry
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated, split
  • 1 pkg extra wide egg noodles, cooked and drained

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large pot of water, boil broccoli for for 3-4 minutes or until just tender.  Place cooked broccoli into a large glass baking dish.  (I use an 8½ x 11.)
  3. In a large frying pan, saute chicken in olive oil until cooked through an no longer pink.  Place in the glass dish over the broccoli.
  4. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Whisk in sherry, chicken broth and heavy cream until smooth.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in salt, pepper and ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken and broccoli and top with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese.
  6. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to the package directions.
  8. Broil chicken divan for an additional few minutes until top is golden brown and serve over egg noodles.

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        1. What a beautiful story and a wonderful meal. I love the flavor of this dish and now I will think of you every time I make it!

        2. Loved the story in this post as well as the recipe. I found your link in the Cooking group on Facebook. Will be sure to check out more of your recipes in the future.