Monday, April 17, 2017

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

It doesn't get more basic and easy than this. I use this casserole recipe as a base from Broccoli Casserole, Mixed Veggie Casserole, you could add whatever you had on hand or in the freezer to it. 

And although the recipe can have any veggies added to it.  I will a lot of times, make it without any veggies at all. That doesn't mean that I don't serve it without veggies, I just don't put them in the casserole. The night last week that I made this, I had a great big green salad that I served with it. But you can serve any veggies sides since you don't have to bake them in. 

That makes this a perfect freeze ahead meal for me, because I don't have to fret about, well Lex won't eat cooked broccoli or Joseph doesn't like peas. Everyone eats the casserole because it is just chicken, cheese and rice and then I can add whatever I need to to round out the meal. 

And although casseroles lose the popularity in the summer, I love to make this in the summer months and serve it with fresh raw veggies and a big slice or watermelon.  Not baking the veggies inside the casserole leaves me a lot of rooms for fresh options. 


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
olive oil 
salt and pepper

4 cups cooked long grain rice
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour 
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk 
½ tsp salt 
¼ tsp smoked paprika
8 oz. medium cheddar, shredded


Cut the chicken breast into small ½-inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium, then add the olive oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the chicken pieces and cook until slightly browned on the outside. Remove the chicken pieces to a large clean bowl.

Add the cooked rice to the bowl with the chicken and then stir to combine, then add ½ of the shredded cheddar (about 1 cup) and stir to combine again. Set the mixture aside.

Begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF and coat the inside of a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. 

Add the butter and flour to the same skillet used to cook the chicken. Cook and whisk the butter and flour over medium heat until it begins to foam, then continue to stir and cook for one minute.

Slowly whisk the chicken broth into the flour and butter mixture. Allow it to come up to a simmer, at which time it will thicken. Once thickened, whisk in the milk and allow it to come up to a simmer again. When it's thick enough to coat a spoon, season with smoked paprika, pepper, and salt.

Pour the sauce over the rice mixture in the bowl and stir until everything is combined and coated in sauce. Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish. 

Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the casserole.

Bake the casserole, uncovered, for about 35 minutes or until it becomes golden brown around the edges. Serve hot.

As you can see in the picture, I put breadcrumbs on top of this casserole. Sometimes I do this, and sometimes I don't. It really all depends on whether I have bread crumbs or stale crackers or whatever. I just sprinkle them thinly on top. I think the cheese usually has enough oil in it to crisp up the crumbs.