Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

On Friday I saw the first snow of the season. To be honest, it was a little depressing because I know the cold weather is here to stay. Then I remembered that cold weather means hot chocolate, comfort food, and hot satisfying meals. That helped cheer me up. :)  This is one of those warm comforting meals that is perfect for dinner on a cold evening.  It’s chock full of vegetables, to keep it healthy, but the cheesy sauce makes it seem like it couldn’t possibly be good for you.

I saw this meal on Made in Melissa’s Kitchen, and it looked so good I immediately added it to my menu for the following week.  I made quite a few changes based on our personal preferences and what we had on hand, and I’m sure there are countless ways you could adapt this dish. I already had some leftover cooked chicken and some rice in the freezer, which made this a 30 minute meal.  Mike took one bite and said “This is my kind of food.”  You can’t beat a meal like this on a busy weeknight!

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

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Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

1.5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 stalks celery, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 cup broccoli florets
1 Cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
2 Cups steamed white rice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Cheese Sauce:
2 Tablespoons butter
1/8 Cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 Cups chicken broth
2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil into a medium pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery, carrots and broccoli until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken, rice, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Reduce heat to low.

To prepare cheese sauce melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling then stir in 1 cup cheese until melted. Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture then transfer to a 2 qt casserole dish or 8x8 inch baking dish. Top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted through. Serve hot.

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44 Responses to “Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole”

  1. 1

    Mari — November 8, 2010 @ 2:10 am

    This looks wonderful!

  2. 2

    Ami — November 8, 2010 @ 2:23 am

    Hurry for quick weeknight meal recipes!! :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3

    Ami — November 8, 2010 @ 2:37 am

    haha I meant hooray (can you tell I am a little over tired today :s)

  4. 4

    SnoWhite — November 8, 2010 @ 2:49 am

    I like the sound {and look} of this one! Those adaptable recipes are the best.

  5. 5

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — November 8, 2010 @ 2:49 am

    Ami – I just figured you meant "hurry, give us more quick weeknight recipes" :) I was all set to post more quick meals…

  6. 6

    Emma — November 8, 2010 @ 3:15 am

    I like the look of this! It looks easy and healthy, thanks for sharing :)

  7. 7

    Lisa — November 8, 2010 @ 5:13 am

    Oh this sounds delicious. I love how there's a lot of veggies in it and that cheese sauce is just delectable. This recipe is going on file.

  8. 8

    Marni's Organized Mess — November 8, 2010 @ 6:57 am

    Ooooh, that looks so yummy! I am glad you linked me!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I hope you'll come back sometime. :) I'd love to have ya!

  9. 9

    Marni's Organized Mess — November 8, 2010 @ 6:57 am

    Ooooh, that looks so yummy! I am glad you linked me!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I hope you'll come back sometime. :) I'd love to have ya!

  10. 10

    Melissa @ Made in Melissa's Kitchen — November 8, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    I am definitely going to add broccoli next time I make this, great idea!

  11. 11

    Melissa @ Made in Melissa's Kitchen — November 8, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    I am definitely going to add broccoli next time I make this, great idea!

  12. 12

    Jenn — November 8, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    Snow? Wow, sometimes I forget it's almost full on winter in some places. Living in the desert where it's still in the 80's during the day, it's hard to imagine snow!!
    This casserole looks so warm and comforting!! YUM!

  13. 13

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — November 8, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

    Melissa – Thanks for a great recipe! Next time I plan to try it with wild rice like you did. I just happened to have steamed rice in my freezer already.

  14. 14

    Kylie @ A Hungry Spoon — November 8, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

    Even as a vegetarian, I have to admit this looks creamy and comfort-food delicious :) I have no doubt I could adapt it into a meatless version!

    I know what you mean about the cold weather–it's hard to stomach at first, but I love when I can start using a blanket to read on the couch again!

  15. 15

    happywhennothungry — November 8, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

    This looks delicious! I've been looking for more chicken ideas, so will definitely have to try this one out. I might be crazy, but I love the snow and am hoping DC has another crazy winter like last year :-)

  16. 16

    StephenC — November 8, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

    An admirable job. Adapting others' recipes is what makes we bloggers special. Invention, creation, innovation – those are the words of the day.

  17. 17

    Olya Nikol Pishcheva — November 8, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    Looks great! ~

  18. 18

    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — November 8, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    What a great dish! It seems like a great freeze-ahead meal as well!

  19. 19

    Torviewtoronto — November 8, 2010 @ 4:21 pm

    delicious yummy rice

  20. 20

    Eliana — November 8, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

    Hmmm – this dish has comfort written all over it. It would surely cure my winter blues.

  21. 21

    Jennifurla — November 8, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

    fantastic, I love cold weather myself and I love this too

  22. 22

    Alison — November 8, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

    can't wait to try it!!

  23. 23

    julie — November 8, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

    This is my kind of recipe! Easy, quick, and one dish. Perfect for weeknights!

    So glad the cookies worked out for you. I'm sure they'll be even better with all shortening as that's how they were originally intended to be made. Enjoy your week!

  24. 24

    Maranda — November 9, 2010 @ 1:46 am

    I am SO with Mike! This is my kind of food. It looks great! I think I may need to add this to my menu this week as well!

  25. 25

    Crazy Sweet Life — November 9, 2010 @ 1:48 am

    Oooo – this looks really yummy! Definitely a cold weather comfort dish.

  26. 26

    Tracy Wood — November 9, 2010 @ 2:09 am

    There's nothing as comforting as a casserole. I love them and make them all the time.

  27. 27

    smalltownoven — November 9, 2010 @ 2:27 am

    You had me at "cheesy". Love this!

  28. 28

    pajamachef — November 9, 2010 @ 2:49 am

    looks awesome!

  29. 29

    Barbara Bakes — November 9, 2010 @ 3:44 am

    This does look like great comfort food. Makes putting up with the dreary winter a lot easier.

  30. 30

    Shannon — November 9, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

    Snow??? BRRRRR!

    My grandma used to make a great rice broccoli casserole. I like your addition of chicken and carrots.

  31. 31

    oliepants — November 9, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

    I absolutely have to try this – I could totally eat this for dinner several days in a row!

  32. 32

    Peggy — November 9, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

    This looks absolutely wonderful! Can't wait to try this one out!

  33. 33

    LauraB — November 10, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    Thank you for a chicken and rice recipe that DOESN'T involve condensed soup!

  34. 34

    Pretty. Good. Food. — November 11, 2010 @ 3:17 am

    Yay I have all the ingredients to make this for dinner tomorrow :) ! Sounds delicious!!

  35. 35

    CaSaundraLeigh — November 12, 2010 @ 2:32 am

    My mom is a huge fan of rice–this would be perfect to make for her next time she comes to visit :-)

  36. 36

    Cindy — November 15, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

    This is on my menu this week. Can't wait to make it! Love your blog.

  37. 37

    bluebirdjohnson7 — November 23, 2010 @ 2:01 am

    Made this tonight for my family. I doubled it and 'baked' it in the crock pot. All of us really loved it. Most of the kids don't like carrots so I only used 1 really large one and shredded it. We couldn't even taste them. The kids asked that I make this every week! I'm thinking I can just add shredded cheese instead of making the cheese sauce, it will save time and calories. Thanks for the recipe.

  38. 38

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — November 23, 2010 @ 11:49 am

    bluebirdjohnson7 – I'm so glad you liked this! What a good idea to use the crockpot. Thanks so much for stopping back to let me know :)

  39. 39

    Kam — February 21, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    This is very delicious. I'm a vegetarian so I use a vegie broth and take out a little for my self before I add the cooked chicken in. My three kids ask for this weekly. Thanks for posting this recipe Megan.

  40. 40

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — February 24, 2011 @ 1:58 am

    Kam – So glad you liked this! I'm glad to know veggie broth works just as well. Thanks for stopping back to let me know! :)

  41. 41

    Kat — June 14, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    Love this casserole! I’ve made it several times with great results!

  42. 42

    Miriam — April 1, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

    Hi Megan, I just made this and used a rotisserie chicken and put in some corn too. It was so good!! Definitely a winner in our house, along with your lasagna soup.

    • megan replied: — April 8th, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

      So glad you liked it! :)

  43. 43

    Carla @ analaskanwoman@wordpress.com — April 24, 2013 @ 12:19 am

    I make something like this but not exactly. It is always well received.
    Thanks for you wonderful blog. I am looking forward to coming back often.
    Carla

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