Update on 8/5/14: I retested this recipe, simplified the instructions, and added more liquid to the original recipe. It’s pretty close to perfect if you ask me and my family. But feel free to tweak as you like or offer suggestions in the comments portion.
I was looking for a way to use up some leftover chicken and broccoli recently, and desperately wanted to find a recipe that didn’t include a canned soup, as do most standard Chicken and Rice Casseroles. I didn’t have much luck, so I decided to make my own version I’m calling Cheesy Chicken, Brown Rice, and Veggie Casserole using what I had on hand. Guys, this was a hit with my family!
One of the things I’ve learned is that many canned soups can be loaded with sodium, MSG, trans fats, hidden sugars, and a ton of ingredients I’ve never heard of nor seen in my life. For instance, Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup contains among a plethora of other things: potassium chloride, guanylate, disodium inosinate, sodium phosphate, soy protein isolate. What are those things and why would I ever want to eat them if I can help it?
Check out how easy my real food version is to put together…
I served it with crusty whole wheat rolls, salad, and some fruit. Ready to give it a try?Print
A fantastic, healthy way to use up some leftover broccoli and chicken. Try this casserole and win over your family!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup finely chopped broccoli
- 1 cup finely chopped cauliflower
- 2 large carrots, finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1– 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup sour cream (or whole plain Greek yogurt)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Asiago or fresh Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (finely shredded melts best)
- 1 cup whole wheat or panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy non-stick pan and saute broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, celery, onion, and garlic for about 4-5 minutes, just until tender. Season with ground thyme, poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, and lightly with salt and pepper while veggies cook. Remove from the heat.
- Add diced chicken and brown rice into pan with the veggie mixture, and stir to combine well. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, chicken stock, and chopped parsley. Then stir in Asiago cheese and cheddar cheese. Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the rice mixture.
- Spoon rice mixture into the 2-quart casserole dish and press down to evenly distribute. Top with bread crumbs.
- In a separate small bowl, combine bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until casserole is slightly bubbling around the edges and golden brown on top. Broil for 1-2 minutes at the end, if the top isn’t brown enough. Serve warm.
Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze: Put casserole together, tightly wrap with plastic wrap and a layer of foil, and freeze it before baking.
To Prepare: Thaw in the fridge over night. If it’s still slightly frozen in the middle, you’ll just have to cook it longer than the recipe calls for or defrost a bit in the microwave before baking. Cover it with foil if the top gets too brown in the oven.