Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole
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Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main
Servings: 8
Author: Pam - For the Love of Cooking

Ingredients


  • Casserole:
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 6 tbsp butter divided
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts trimmed of fat & cut into small bite sized pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar divided
  • 3 cups leftover rice

  • Topping:
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups Ritz crackers crushed (or plain panko crumbs would be fine)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Prepare the broccoli by filling a bowl with ice water; set aside. Boil a saucepan of water over high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the broccoli florets and immediately plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve the bright green color.
  • Remove the cooled broccoli florets to a plate lined with paper towels to drain well.
  • Prepare the chicken by heating 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the diced chicken breasts and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken and juices to a bowl; set aside.
  • Prepare the mushrooms and onions by heating two tablespoons of butter in the same large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the mushrooms and onion then cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until the onions are softened and the mushrooms are golden.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 45 seconds. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.Transfer to the same bowl as the chicken; set aside.
  • Make the sauce by heating the final three tablespoons of butter in the same large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the flour once the butter has melted and whisk together constantly for 1-2 minutes, until starting to turn golden and smell nutty.
  • Slowly add the milk in a steady stream while continually whisking. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and thicken a bit for a few minutes.
  • Whisk in 2 cups of the sharp cheddar, a handful at a time, making sure the cheese completely melts before adding another handful. Remove from heat.
  • Taste and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  • Finish the casserole by adding the chicken, mushrooms, onion, broccoli florets, and leftover rice to the cheese sauce and stir until combined.
  • Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly.
  • Next sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese evenly on top of the casserole.
  • Make the topping by combining the crushed Ritz crackers with the melted butter; mix until well combined.
  • Sprinkle evenly on top of the casserole.
  • Place into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.
  • Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy.