cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole

Posted on April 12, 2012

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The weather has been so nice outside. I’d even go as far as to say it has been a little chilly at times {haha I’m a cold weather wimp}.

This “chilly” weather has me craving casseroles again, but I promise I’ll try not to post any more since it is Spring and all.

So here’s my last one for a while… Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole – or “comfort food at its best”

This recipe can easily be halved or doubled depending on how many people you are interested in feeding.

I made the recipe to serve 4, and split the casserole into two smaller dishes. I cooked one immediately and ate one serving for dinner & the other for lunch the next day.

I allowed the other casserole to cool completely, covered it tightly with plastic wrap, and covered it with foil. If I lived in a perfect world, I would have taken the casserole out of the freezer in the morning and put it in the refrigerator to defrost. However, I am forgetful and didn’t take it out until about 30 minutes before I was ready to bake. If this happens, just sit it on the counter for a little and then preheat the oven. You don’t want to put a frozen or cold casserole dish in the hot oven. It will cause your casserole dish to break, and that’s just straight up no fun.

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Once the casserole has defrosted, remove the plastic wrap (and throw it away) & re-cover with the foil. Bake it covered in a 350° oven for 25-35 minutes or until warmed through. Remove the foil and broil for 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

You can also make this ahead by preparing the casserole all the way until topping with cheese. After transferring mixture into baking dish, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Take out of refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°F. Top casserole with remaining ½cup cheese, and bake for 10 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly & browned.

Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice Casserole

Serves 4

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, chopped (can be fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup green onion
  • 2 tsp olive or canola oil
  • ½ lb (8 ounces) chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • ¼ tsp pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp salt-free seasoning, like The Delicious Dietitian Creole Spice Blend, divided
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 cup 1% or skim milk
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1½ cups 2% sharp cheddar cheese, I love Cabot

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt & fat. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in broccoli and green onion. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with ¼ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp salt-free seasoning. Cook chicken until done, about 5-7 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and ½ cup milk. Reduce heat to medium, and slowly whisk flour-milk mixture into skillet. Season with remaining ¼ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper, ¾ tsp salt-free spice blend, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Slowly whisk in remaining ½ cup milk until the mixture boils. Stir constantly for 2 minutes while boiling. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt and 1 cup cheese. Once combined, stir in cooked chicken.

Combine chicken-cheese mixture with rice-broccoli mixture, and transfer to a 8-inch square baking dish sprayed with cooking spray or two smaller baking dishes. Top the mixture with remaining ½ cup cheese.

Broil until cheese is bubbly and browned. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

*See notes above for make-ahead directions and freezing.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a food holiday recipe, so get excited!

Meme 

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Posted in: Recipes