No cans of soup needed in this homemade from scratch cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole. With a great buttery Parmesan topping, this will become one of your favorite comfort foods.
Most recipes, including this one, have a story. We have been gone most of the last two weeks. Plus I have been suffering a little “food blogger block.” I just couldn’t get back into cooking. We were down to no food in the house, and Grandpa was coming for dinner.
So as usual, I went to the mountain so to speak, the wife. I discussed Italian, maybe some pork chops or a final grilling of the season. But she had several broccoli, chicken and rice recipes saved. Now our history with this dish has not been the best. My best effort was several years ago for Thanksgivings but way too much work for the return and a ton of ingredients. I have had several attempts of modifications of that recipe, but really nothing hit the mark.
If you have been around this blog for a while, you know I’m “allergic” to using cans of soup for cooking. I will do almost anything to avoid it. While I know what all those chemicals in the can are and I’m not “afraid” I just want fresher.
So having said all that, my “inspiration” recipe came is from Food.com. It had most of the right stuff. No cans of soup and not too many ingredients. It needed some changes. It needed to include the cooking of the chicken and some more specific instructions. It also lacked to crispy topping my wife craved. I can add that.
A very strong 4. Not a 5 just because what it is. An excellent recipe. My wife gave a 4.5 and said I can make it anytime I want.
Notes About Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole
The original recipe used bouillon cubes and water to cook the rice. I just went with broth. I cooked the chicken with the onion and garlic. I never have precooked chicken on hand.
I topped with Panko bread crumbs combined with butter and some grated Parmesan. A great addition and entirely my wife’s idea.
Cheese choice is next. Every recipe I reviewed used cheddar cheese. I prefer Monterey Jack for this sort of dish. But use what you wish. I think the Jack was just right.
Preheat oven to 375.
Chop one head of broccoli into bite size pieces. Bring 3 cups of low sodium chicken broth to a boil. Add 1 1/2 cup long grain rice and the broccoli. Cover and lower heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes until fluid is absorbed.
While rice is cooking, chop one small onion and cube two skinless boneless chicken breasts into 1/2 inch pieces.
Over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet then add the chicken and onions. Cook until onion is translucent and chicken is 165 degrees internally. About 1 minute before the end point add 3-4 cloves crushed garlic. About 9-10 minutes total for me.
Remove the chicken from heat and wait for rice to finish. Then combine rice with the chicken, add 1/2 cup milk, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese of choice. Mix well.
Spray a 9 X 13 casserole dish with PAM and add mixture. Top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese of choice.
Mix crumble top. 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Spread over the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving to absorb fluid.
October 23, 2016