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
Yield: Serves 4
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
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
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.
adapted from Made in Melissa's Kitchen