One-dish Wonder: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

This broccoli-studded comfort food covers every nutritional base by combining lean protein, whole grains, cheese, and a vegetable—a no-fail approach to eating well. For more veggie power, serve a simple green salad on the side.

 

It’s important to consume a variety of food from all of the food groups to stay healthy and get all of the essential nutrients your body needs. I recommend building meals that consist of at least a lean protein, a whole grain or starch, and a fruit or vegetable. These components are all important to provide you energy throughout the day and help control your blood pressure.

 

It’s easy to visualize when you have separate portions of protein, grains, and vegetables, but it can be harder to tell if you’re getting a good variety of foods in mixed dishes like casseroles. This cheesy chicken, broccoli, and wild rice casserole ​are loaded with vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy. It’s an easy and delicious meal that has all of the food groups in one, and one that your family will love!

 

This recipe tastes like comfort food but it is filled with fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains. It’s even easier to prepare with frozen broccoli, leftover chicken, and leftover wild rice.

 

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated, divided
  • 2 cups cooked whole grain wild rice blend
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs

 

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 350F. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes. Season with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a large bowl.
  3. In the same skillet, heat another 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Add garlic, onion, and broccoli. Cook, stirring until onion is soft and broccoli is bright green. Pour into bowl with chicken.
  4. Turn heat to low and add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Sprinkle flour over oil and whisk to make a paste. Slowly add milk, whisking to combine. Stir in cheese and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Remove from heat.
  5. Add rice to chicken and broccoli in the large bowl. Stir to combine. Gently stir in cheese sauce.
  6. Spray a 9×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread rice mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese and breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve hot

 

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

  • If you can’t find whole grain wild rice, use brown rice instead.
  • For a vegetarian option, leave out the chicken.
  • Add any vegetables you have, such as carrots, cauliflower, spinach, corn or bell peppers.

 

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • This casserole is great reheated for lunch. To reheat in the oven, cover with foil and bake at 350F until warmed through.
  • Serve with a salad for extra vegetables.

 

Time: 45 minutes | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Makes:  9 servings (1-cup each) | Calories 218 | Fat 8g | Protein 17g | Dietary Fiber 3g

 

source:  www.verywellfit.com/cheesy-broccoli-rice-chicken-casserole-4154098

 


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