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Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

It’s been rainy and cold this week which always has me craving comfort food. I went through the refrigerator and found some uncooked chicken breast, leftover rice, broccoli, mushrooms, and half an onion so I grabbed some sharp cheddar and milk and made this casserole. I decided to top this cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole with crushed Ritz crackers for an extra delicious crunchy topping. It turned out cheesy, creamy, and so comforting! We had friends over for dinner and I served this casserole with a tossed salad and some freshly baked bread which was enjoyed by all, kids included. This casserole is my idea of the perfect comfort food for cold rainy days.

Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

Make the casserole by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Fill a bowl with ice water. Boil a saucepan of water over high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the broccoli florets and immediately plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve the bright green color. Remove the cooled broccoli florets to a plate lined with paper towels to drain well.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced chicken breasts and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken and juices to a bowl; set aside.

Heat two tablespoons of butter in the same large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until the onions are softened and the mushrooms are golden. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 45 seconds. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Transfer to the same bowl as the chicken; set aside.

Heat the final three tablespoons of butter in the same large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the flour once the butter has melted and whisk together constantly for 1-2 minutes, until starting to turn golden and smell nutty. Slowly add the milk in a steady stream while continually whisking. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and thicken a bit for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in 2 cups of the sharp cheddar, a handful at a time, making sure the cheese completely melts before adding another handful. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.

Add the chicken, mushrooms, onion, broccoli florets, and leftover rice and stir until combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly. Next, sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese evenly on top of the casserole.

Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

Make the topping by combining the crushed Ritz crackers with the melted butter; mix until well combined. Sprinkle evenly on top of the casserole.

Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

Place into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and bubbly. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main
Servings: 8
Author: Pam - For the Love of Cooking

Ingredients


  • Casserole:
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 6 tbsp butter divided
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts trimmed of fat & cut into small bite sized pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar divided
  • 3 cups leftover rice

  • Topping:
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups Ritz crackers crushed (or plain panko crumbs would be fine)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Prepare the broccoli by filling a bowl with ice water; set aside. Boil a saucepan of water over high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the broccoli florets and immediately plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve the bright green color.
  • Remove the cooled broccoli florets to a plate lined with paper towels to drain well.
  • Prepare the chicken by heating 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the diced chicken breasts and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken and juices to a bowl; set aside.
  • Prepare the mushrooms and onions by heating two tablespoons of butter in the same large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the mushrooms and onion then cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until the onions are softened and the mushrooms are golden.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 45 seconds. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.Transfer to the same bowl as the chicken; set aside.
  • Make the sauce by heating the final three tablespoons of butter in the same large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the flour once the butter has melted and whisk together constantly for 1-2 minutes, until starting to turn golden and smell nutty.
  • Slowly add the milk in a steady stream while continually whisking. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and thicken a bit for a few minutes.
  • Whisk in 2 cups of the sharp cheddar, a handful at a time, making sure the cheese completely melts before adding another handful. Remove from heat.
  • Taste and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  • Finish the casserole by adding the chicken, mushrooms, onion, broccoli florets, and leftover rice to the cheese sauce and stir until combined.
  • Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly.
  • Next sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese evenly on top of the casserole.
  • Make the topping by combining the crushed Ritz crackers with the melted butter; mix until well combined.
  • Sprinkle evenly on top of the casserole.
  • Place into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.
  • Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy.
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Recipe Rating




7 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      Made this for supper tonight (March 20,2021) perfect!

  1. Looks very good Pam and good that you can create it from ingredients you have on hand.

  2. Great dish from leftovers – a girl after my own heart. This looks delicious and comforting.

  3. That is perfect comfort food! I’ve had something similar in a local restaurant, but with linguini instead of rice.