Tobins' Tastes: Cheesy Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole {#QuickFixCasseroles}

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cheesy Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole {#QuickFixCasseroles}


This Cheesy Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole is the perfect week night dish. Veggies, brown rice, chicken and a creamy sauce all topped with melty cheese. And the best part? No cream of anything or canned ingredients!


With school back in full swing and fall right around the corner, it is the perfect time to start busting out some casserole recipes. I have to admit that I was once a casserole skeptic. I had scary images in my head of processed canned soup dumped over questionable ingredients. And I am ashamed to say that I steered clear of casserole dishes for a long time as a result.


Then I realized that not only could I make my own versions of casseroles where I controlled the ingredients but they were the perfect week night solution to a filling and easy meal. One of my favorite casserole recipes is this Cheesy Chicken & Brown Rice dish- no canned soups, sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise or cream of anything included.


A few ways I have adapted this recipe over time to make it easier:
  • Use precut, frozen veggies-no need to spend time chopping
  • Use steam in the bag, frozen brown rice- ready in minutes, no fuss
  • Once a week we bake or boil a few chicken breasts and shred them in the food processor. We then bag them up and stick them in the freezer for easy week night use
  • Cook once, eat twice- this recipe makes two smaller sized casserole dishes. We eat one and freeze one for later to solve the problem of coming home after a busy day of work and school and not wanting to start cooking at 5:30. You can easily double it to make bigger sized meals.

As the nights get cooler, I love having something to pop in the oven and half an hour later have a complete meal on the table. With veggies, protein, a carb and some gooey cheese, this dinner satisfies every food group I would want on my plate with the ease of one dish. It's warm, filling, and amazingly rich & flavorful for not having any processed items in it.


You can easily change this up to reflect what you have on hand at home. We are planning on adding in some broccoli or maybe even switching out wild rice next time we make it. So join me in changing the image of casseroles and try your own version of this #quickfixcasserole tonight. 

Cheesy Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole adapted from Picky Palate
  •  3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 3 stalks of celery finely diced
  • 2 cups frozen peas & carrots mix
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
  • 3 cups of cooked brown rice (we used our store brand steam in the bag)
For the sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons of Country Crock
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups total of shredded cheese (I used a three cheese blend)
  • salt and pepper to taste
1.) Heat oil in a large pan and saute the celery, peas, carrots, onion and garlic until soft, took about 10 minutes.

2.) Stir in chicken, rice and mix well. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 pan or two smaller pans.

3.) While veggies are sauteing, melt butter in a small pan. Slowly whisk in flour followed by chicken broth. Let mixture simmer and continue to whisk until it thickens. Don't let it boil all the way. Whisk in 2 cups of cheese and salt/pepper until the cheese is fully melted.


4.) Pour sauce over the rice mixture. I mixed it up a bit so the sauce was fully incorporated into the rice, chicken and veggies. Top with the remaining shredded cheese. I added smoked paprika for color.

5.) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown on top.
 
6.) Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


Want to know more about cooking with Country Crock? Country Crock products:
  • Have 0g trans fat per serving
  • Contain no partially hydrogenated oils
  • Have no cholesterol
  • Are 70% less fat than butter per serving
  • Have 30% fewer calories than butter per servin
Visit Country Crock:

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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