Casseroles are the epitome of Midwestern comfort food. When sick, or too busy to prep a large meal, a casserole provides every food group needed for complete nutrition in an easy to eat form. When I was in college, a similar casserole was one of my favorite things to eat. That one was made with condensed soup, but this is made from scratch, so it’s healthier and tastier too! This is easily modified with your preferred vegetables. I made this casserole for a friend a couple months ago when she came home from the hospital with her baby and also dropped one off to our friends doing a 25-hour extra life marathon! Recently, I decided to make it for our family also to use up some extra chicken and we kept taking seconds… and thirds.
Cheesy Chicken Vegetable and Rice Casserole
1/2 lb frozen broccoli florets, thawed and cut into bite sized pieces
2/3 lb boneless, skinless chicken
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery ribs, chopped
4 cups cooked long grain rice (day old leftover rice is best)
3 Tablespoon butter
3 Tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
pinch of cayenne
additional salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz cheddar, shredded
- cut chicken breast into 1/2 inch cubes and season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to a large pan over medium heat, then cook the chicken until browned on the outside.
- Remove chicken to a large bowl and add onion, carrots, and celery – saute until onions are softened.
- Add all vegetables and rice to the chicken in the bowl, stir, add half of the cheddar, and stir again.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and coat inside of 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray, oil, or a small amount of butter.
- Heat butter and flour on stove over medium heat until foamy, then cook and stir for one more minute.
- Whisk in chicken broth and milk and bring to a simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Melt in half of the remaining cheddar, then add the seasoning.
- Pour cheese sauce over rice mix, stir, then transfer to the casserole dish and top with cheese.
- Bake uncovered 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.