Inspiring healthier eating one dish at a time

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Asparagus Casserole

Time for Restaurant Trivia.  Does anyone out there remember The Magic Pan? It was an ‘80s icon chain restaurant located in pretty much every mall in America and they specialized in crepes. I honestly have no idea if they only served crepes, or if they had other things on their menu, because loved The Magic Pan for one dish, and one dish only – The Chicken Divan Crepes. I remember eating there pretty often, but I never remember eating anything but that one dish, which was always preceded by their Mandarin Orange Almond Salad. I know, my taste buds were oh so refined in the ‘80s.




For some reason, I was thinking about that Chicken Divan the other day when I was trying to decide what to scrape together for dinner. Unfortunately I had no time for crepe making, and I was out of broccoli (a chicken divan staple), but I did have asparagus and the ingredients for the creamy cheese sauce, so I improvised with this version made in my slow cooker. Chicken, Mushrooms, Asparagus and Pasta in a creamy cheesy sauce is the perfect comfort food for a chilly night. While it’s not quite as fancy as the crepe version, I gotta say, it took me right back to my favorite table at the Magic Pan.


Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Asparagus Casserole|Craving Something Healthy


If you are inclined to try your hand at crepes, skip the pasta and spoon the deliciousness into the crepes. I think they might even make pre-made crepes…


Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Asparagus Casserole|Craving Something Healthy


You could, of course just cook this on the stovetop instead of in the slow cooker.  Just poach the chicken ahead of time and then shred it and toss it into the sauce.  Either way, it’s totally yum!


Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Asparagus Casserole

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Asparagus Casserole


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1-12 ounce can reduced fat evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base
  • 1-4 ounce can mushroom slices
  • 2 cups pasta shells
  • 3/4 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours or until chicken is tender. Shred chicken using 2 forks.

When chicken is shredded, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir well. Cook for about 1 minute.

Shake can of evaporated milk well and add it to the flour butter mixture, whisking well to smooth out any lumps. Add water and Better Than Bouillon. Bring to a boil to thicken.

When mixture is thickened, pour over chicken.

Add pasta shells to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on high for about 1 more hour, until pasta is al dente.

Slice asparagus into 1 1/2 inch pieces and add to the pot. Stir in cheese.

Cover and cook for another 15 minutes or until asparagus is tender.


If your asparagus is thick, precook them by slicing them and placing them in a microwaveable bowl with 2 tablespoons water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for about 1 minute.


Did you ever eat at the Magic Pan? What was your favorite dish?

Eat well!


14 Responses to “Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Asparagus Casserole”

  1. I have not heard of the Magic Pan. Maybe not a Pacific Northwest thing? But never the less this looks super yummy! I love the use of non fat evaporated milk. I’ve used it for years to make things light and creamy. This is a must try!

    • Anne says:

      Thanks Kathi! The evaporated milk makes this really creamy and delicious! I know we had Magic Pans in Chicago growing up and Boston where I lived after college. Not sure if they were out west, but you missed a good one!

  2. This looks wonderful- true comfort food! I love your use of the reduced fat evaporated milk to make it creamy and delicious! Pinning now 🙂

  3. kelsey says:

    Is it possible to substitute the better than bullion with regular chicken broth? And if so what measurements?

    • Anne says:

      Hi Kelsey – You can use regular chicken broth in place of the water, and just cut out the Better than Bouillon. So substitute 1 1/2 cups broth or chicken stock for the water. You may need a little extra salt though, so taste it first! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  4. Caprice says:

    Is it possible to make this for an all day crock pot meal at work??

    • Anne says:

      Hi, and thanks for your questions! I would put the raw chicken, and the sauce in the crockpot on low, and let it cook while you’re at work, and then just boil the pasta, and toss the asparagus in with the pasta for the last minute. Drain the pasta/asparagus and stir that into the chicken and sauce (shred the chicken up with 2 forks first). If you did the recipe as it’s written, the pasta and asparagus would be too mushy. Let me know if it works!

  5. Julie Waterman says:

    I have three questions:
    1. If I substitute the cubed chicken bouillon instead of the chicken base, how many cubes (grams) should I use? (I’m in Japan, so can’t find the base!)
    2. I”m surprised there are no onions in this? Could I add some onions or would that not taste as good?
    3. What vegetable could I substitute if I can’t find asparagus?
    Thank you very much!

    • Anne says:

      Hi Julie! If you use bouillon cubes, I would use 3. Absolutely you can add onions, or minced garlic, or even some leeks. I love it when people tweak a recipe to make it their own! Instead of asparagus – My next choice would be broccoli. Spinach might work too – whatever you like with the cheddar and mushrooms. Experiment and let me know what you come up with! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  6. Julie Waterman says:

    I had trouble getting it to thicken enough for crepes. Any suggestions? Would you recommend adding any spices such as basil or…? My husband and I thought it could use some spices…
    Thank you!

    • Anne says:

      Hi Julie – Maybe try additional flour to your roux? Or you can always try mixing in a bit of cornstarch with water to thicken the sauce further. Of course, you can add any spices you like. Curry powder might be nice…

  7. Anne says:

    Can you use the Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base instead of the chicken base?

    • Anne says:

      Yes! absolutely you can substitute. Have you tried their roasted garlic? It provides an amazing, rich flavor that would work well here too 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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