Monday, June 9, 2014

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

The last few weeks have been busy--lots of busy evenings, traffic was a bear getting home on many nights and sometimes I just wasn't interested in making dinner. Of course we still needed to eat, so I looked for some quick but also delicious dinners that I could make in a hurry. This casserole, filled with chunks of juicy chicken, lots of broccoli and a cheesy sauce all over a layer of fluffy rice, fits the bill perfectly. Plus it when from fridge to table in less than a half hour--exactly the kind of tasty and easy meal I've needed lately. Dave and I both had two servings (it was also a hungry night) and then I stole the leftovers for lunch the next day--perfect and kept me filled throughout the afternoon. If anything about this dish appeals to you, it absolutely needs to be made in your kitchen.

Guess, what, it's the second Monday, so it must be reveal day for Group B of Secret Recipe Club!
What's Secret Recipe Club?  Each Monday a group of bloggers post a recipe they've made from another blogger's repertoire.  Nobody knows who's featuring their blog until that day and it's a fun chance to visit new blogs and try something different. Visit some of the other bloggers in my group by checking out the blog hop at the bottom of this post.  To learn more about Secret Recipe Club, click here. This month I had the please to cook from It Bake Me Happy. And boy, does Emily's blog make me happy. Emily is a full time mom of 2 whose blog was born out of too much time on her hands and a love of cooking and baking. It's great with tons of excellent recipes so you need to go check her out. Like me, Emily is obsessed with peanut butter and when I first started looking at her recipes, I was on a peanut butter and chocolate mission. I considered her chocolate peanut butter revel bars, peanut butter freezer pie (which Dave chose from my narrowed down list, so I really need to make it soon), peanut butter cup ice cream and I have tonight set aside to make her chocolate peanut butter banana bread. Then my plain chocolate side kicked in and I thought about her ultimate brownie pie or double chocolate chocolate chip muffins. So I'm as surprised as anyone that I finally chose this chicken broccoli rice casserole. See, this is exactly why I try to make my SRC list include savory and sweet, so I have something to turn to when the mood (or need) strikes. Clearly I've got my work cut out for me with the list above, but I'll get there. And I'll be sure to let you know how awesome it all turns out.

When Emily posted this recipe, she forgot to include the rice in the ingredients or the process (yup, I've been guilty of things like that!), so I just layered it in the bottom, already cooked and piled everything else on top, including a coating of the cheese sauce on the very top where it got bubbly and browned. I really liked it this way, but next time, I think I'll just mix everything together and distribute the cheese throughout. And then add more cheese on top to get melty and gooey. Because cheese makes everything that much better, so extra cheese must be magic. Rather than full chicken breasts, I cut mine up into smaller pieces to make it easier to incorporate everything together. I used white rice, but brown would be perfect too and you can even substitute something else for the cheddar cheese if you prefer a different flavor. Make this dinner to get something on the table in a hurry and enjoy.

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole


1 cup instant rice
1 cup water
12 ounces frozen broccoli, chopped
1 pound chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Prepare rice according to instructions. While rice cooks, steam broccoli. Cut chicken breasts into small pieces, about 1 inch chunks or so. Season with salt and pepper.

Lightly spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add the chicken and brown lightly on all sides, about 2 minutes a side.

Grease an 8 x8 inch baking dish and layer cooked rice on the bottom. Removed browned chicken from pan and layer on top of the rice. Then add the cooked broccoli.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter to melt. Whisk in flour to create a roux, whisking constantly. When lightly browned, whisk in milk until smooth. Stir in cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once cheese is melted and sauce is smooth, pour over broccoli, chicken and rice.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes until bubbly and browned.

Serve hot and enjoy.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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  1. We love a nice chicken and broccoli casserole!

  2. Oh wow Colleen, you went way back into the archives, I completely forgot about this recipe! I am so glad you liked it, I am pretty sure you are on the right track mixing it all together :)

  3. Looks good and something my kids would eat! I love that you can throw it together quickly especially on a busy night. Great selection for the SRC!

  4. I am all about a one pot dish - great choice! I had so much fun cooking from your blog this month!

  5. We just love a great casserole and your Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole looks delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe, it is a great choice for the SRC!
    Miz Helen

  6. I LOVE a casserole that doesn't include "cream of..." soup in the ingredients list! This looks absolutely delicious.

  7. Delicious ingredients! Perfect weeknight meal! Visiting from SRC B.