Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Is it too late to talk about Valentine’s Day? I hope not because I’m about to. Valentine’s day this year was absolutely wonderful! I was completely off of work and Evan only had to work for two hours in the morning, so we got to spend the whole day together! At this point in our lives, that really doesn’t happen often. I mean, we are really lucky to be able to spend a lot of time together despite our schedules, but it doesn’t often happen that we get a whole day where we don’t have to worry about work at all and can just hang out together. It was lovely.

You know what else was lovely? The weather. Texas weather is super random, but it worked in our favor that day! It was in the 70s so we biked to Rice Village (a little hipster-y square of food and shopping) for lunch and dessert. I’ve decided that going out for lunch on Valentine’s Day is perfect. You get all the goodness of a nice, fancy meal, but you don’t have to deal with the dinner crowds or the dinner prices. And then you can have the night just to relax! Pretty perfect in my mind.

We went to Kubo’s Sushi Bar and Grill, which was fantastic! We got a sampler platter and one special roll. The sampler platter was good, but the special roll…ooooh that special roll. It was divine. We hadn’t had good sushi for about a year, so I was pretty stoked that we found this place. We’ll definitely be going back!

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We’d driven through Rice Village before when we were getting accustomed to the area, and we put a couple of restaurants on our to-try list. There’s a tapas place, an Istanbul grill, and THE CHOCOLATE BAR. Whaaaaat?? A bar for all things chocolate? Sign me up! We used the excuse of Valentine’s Day to indulge and loosen the iron vice that we normally keep on our wallets, so after dinner we walked on over to get some dessert. Oh. Boy. After sampling a thousand different ice creams and looking at all of the pies, cakes, and chocolate covered everything, we decided on the Brownie Supreme ice cream and Bayou City Mud Pie. They were both absolutely delicious. After that we stumbled back to our bikes and took a leisurely ride home, feeling the euphoria that can only come from good sushi and chocolate.

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When we got home we just relaxed until the night, when I threw together a version of this meal (SO good) and we set our place up for another s’mores party! Yup, a s’mores party in 70 degree weather. We fully embraced the be-careless-for-the-day mentality and pumped up our AC, pulled out our fan, and lit our fireplace. It was delightful, as a s’mores party always is. We finished the evening off with some Pirates of the Caribbean (because why not) and called it a wonderful day! I hope your Valentine’s Day was just as good!

Today I have some delicious comfort food for you! There’s just something homey and wonderful about about a cheesy casserole, don’t you think? Well, as long as it’s not gloopy, soggy, or gross. Now that I think about it, a cheesy casserole can go very wrong pretty easily. Thankfully this casserole does everything right! It’s an adaptation of this recipe and this recipe, and it’s divine. It has a delicious, cheesy, lighter-than-it-could-be sauce mixed with seasoned chicken, steamed broccoli, and chewy brown rice. The combination is an absolutely wonderful meal that will keep you going back for more!

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Cheesy

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 green onions
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large chicken breast (with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to season)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded (preferably sharp)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus extra to taste

Start by chopping 4 cups of broccoli (about 1 head) and 2 green onions. Bring 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil and add 2 cups of brown rice. Cover and cook according to package directions. When the rice has about 5 minutes left, add the broccoli and green onions. Cover the pot and allow to steam until the rice is finished. Remove the pot from the heat until the rest of the ingredients are ready.

Cut 1 large chicken breast (mine was about 10 ounces) into bite sized pieces and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil to a skillet and saute until cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat in the same pan. Add 3 tablespoons of flour and stir until all of the flour is moistened. Cook flour for an additional minute. Slowly add 2 cups of milk (I used skim, but feel free to use what you have on hand) to the flour mixture, whisking constantly until smooth and combined. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Allow to boil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Once thickened, add 6 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese (preferably sharp) and 1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Add the rice, veggies, and chicken to the pan and mix until combined. Spread it all in a 13×9 pan and top with an additional 2 ounces cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes, watching carefully the whole time, until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Serve up and enjoy!

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Start by chopping 4 cups of broccoli (about 1 head)

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And 2 green onions.

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Bring 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil and add 2 cups of brown rice. Cover and cook according to package directions.

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When the rice has about 5 minutes left, add the broccoli and green onions. Cover the pot and allow to steam until the rice is finished. Remove the pot from the heat until the rest of the ingredients are ready.

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Cut 1 large chicken breast (mine was about 10 ounces) into bite sized pieces and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Isn’t raw chicken pretty? Jokes! Maybe I’ll spare you the raw pictures in the future..

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Add 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil to a skillet and saute until cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate.

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Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat in the same pan.

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Add 3 tablespoons of flour and stir until all of the flour is moistened. Cook flour for an additional minute.

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Slowly add 2 cups of milk (I used skim, but feel free to use what you have on hand) to the flour mixture, whisking constantly until smooth and combined. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Allow to boil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

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Once thickened, add 6 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese (preferably sharp) and 1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

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Whisk until smooth. Now this part is important: taste the sauce and add more salt as necessary. Remember, this will flavor all of the other elements of the dish so you want to make sure it has enough salt in this step.

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Now throw it all together and mix it up!

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Spread it all in a 13×9 pan and top with an additional 2 ounces cheese.

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All of the components are already cooked and warm at this point, so all you have to do is throw that sucker under the broiler for a few minutes (watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn) just to melt the cheese! If you’d prefer you could also bake for about 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven, but why make things take longer than they have to? Broiler, baby!

ImageDish up and devour!

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