Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole

A classic casserole, chicken is paired up with broccoli, rice, cream soup and cheese.

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole

I finally got my recipe for broccoli and rice casserole up after a recent reader request, though it's pretty common with most other broccoli and rice recipes out in the world - cooked rice, cooked broccoli, cream of something soup and a few seasonings, all mixed together, turned out into a baking dish, sprinkled with cheese or a crumb topping and baked.

When I was browsing through my Trisha Yearwood cookbook Georgia Cooking however, while waiting for my newly ordered more recent cookbook of hers, Home Cooking to arrive, I saw this recipe for a Chicken Broccoli Casserole. Instead of combining all of the ingredients together, she layered hers, so I was intrigued and decided to give her version a try, with a few of my own elements thrown in. I loved it!

While I did use the lemon called for in the recipe, it does provide quite a tang to the casserole even for a lemon lover like me, and frankly, I would suggest leaving it out. Broccoli is such a super food that we ought to work it into our diets whenever we can and certainly in our children's diets early. While I don't think I'll give up my mix together and bake broccoli casserole, this really is a delicious take on that old timey standby and with the chicken, you've got a great main dish.

Make Ahead Freezer Tips:

Several years ago I did the Once-a-Month-Cooking method of freezer cooking and picked up some make ahead tips that I still use to this day.  Anytime that you can have things prepped ahead of time for dishes like this one, is a great time saver we all can use - but especially those of you who have the hardest job in the world - being a stay at home mom.  This is one of those great casseroles that can not only make use of that kind of make ahead freezer prep of the individual components, but can also be either doubled or divided into smaller dishes and prepared for the freezer.

Whenever I cook rice, I always make a full pot of it, no matter how much I need. What I don't use goes into the freezer to be re-hydrated and used another time.  All you have to do is microwave it, covered, with a splash of water and it comes back as good as freshly cooked!  The chicken I used was pieces from leftover cooked chicken that I tore off the bone and stored in the freezer.  I happened to have fresh lemons in the fridge, but check out this tip so you have fresh lemon juice available all the time.  The chopped broccoli can also be from leftover broccoli you made with dinner one night, but it really only takes a matter of minutes to cook frozen broccoli in the microwave.  Place it into a bowl with a little bit of water, cover it and microwave it on high for about 6 minutes, or simply wrap it in dampened paper towels and microwave.

All of that freezer prep, made a dish like this a total breeze to throw together in no time and I really liked the way that this casserole presents itself. Still not easy to photograph, but instead of a mess of cheesy goo all mixed together {not that there's a thing wrong with that}, each element stands on it's own on your plate instead.

If you don't have already cooked, leftover rice on hand and don't want to steam or boil rice, you can substitute a quick cooking rice like Minute rice if desired (for 2 cups cooked). Also, if you don't already have leftover cooked chicken on hand, place about 4 average sized, whole, boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a pot, cover with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool enough to shred.

Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 3 cups of fresh, raw chopped broccoli, blanched
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (10 ounce) can of condensed cream of celery soup, (like Campbell's)
  • 1-1/2 cups of grated Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, or crumbled potato chips, or buttery crackers
  • 4 cups of shredded cooked chicken

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise and cream of celery soup. Add the garlic salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning; mix. Add the rice, broccoli, one cup of the cheese and the chicken. Mix well and turn out into the prepared casserole dish.

Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees F, in the upper section of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and add the crumb topping and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes or until the crumbs brown and cheese melts. Check the center to make sure it is cooked through. Let sit for a few minutes to settle before serving. Can freeze.

Cook's Notes: Omit the chicken to make it a simple Broccoli and Rice Casserole, or omit the rice for a simple Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli dish. May substitute thawed and drained frozen broccoli for the fresh.

Variation: To layer, spread the rice in the bottom of the pan and top evenly with the broccoli; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise and cream of celery soup. Add the garlic salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning; mix. Add one cup of the cheese and the chicken. Spread mixture over the top of the broccoli layer and smooth out. When layering bake casserole on the center rack of the oven.

Source: http://www.deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
Adapted from Trisha Yearwood's Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen
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Posted by on May 4, 2010
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  1. I always love your recipes girl!! Thanks for sharing this... Dropping by from SITS!

  2. youve got yourself a new follower!!

  3. well ma'am that's what I'm talking about. You've earned a new follower now!!Lady after my own heart like Paula Deen.

  4. What a lovely recipe and how nice of you to find it and post for one of your readers. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary.

  5. Thanks Mhel and Tracey! Don't know if I can meet up at all to the Queen Miss Deen, but I do enjoy cooking some of her dishes too! Thanks ladies for becoming a regular reader - I appreciate that!!

    Hi Mary, thanks for stopping by!

  6. This looks wonderful. I love chicken and broccoli together.
    A SITS friend

  7. Cheesy, gooey, and good! How could you not like that?

  8. I love me some chicken broccoli cheese casserole! This looks delicious! I'm visiting from SITS.

  9. What a fantastic casserole dish. I love easy meals like this. Nice choice!!

  10. Eva, it's a yummy one!

    Nina, I just use common market lemons and save the Meyer lemons for something special. It's really only an accent here and could be eliminated as well.

    Linda and Julie, thanks for stopping by!

    Definitely cheesy gooey Chris. Can you believe I actually got the veggie hater Cajun to eat this?? And he even said it was GOOD! :)

    Thanks Donna!! Both of Trisha Yearwood's cookbooks have great recipes. Good to see you gal. Hope all is well with the move and everything.

  11. I've been looking for a good casserole dish for a while. I'm so glad i stumbled on your site. I'll let you know how this one goes over with the kids.

  12. oh so rich and gooey! I'll have to make this my breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  13. I made your 7-layer dip, and will be blogging it soon. Your blog is where I go when I want to make something new for dinner! I'm loving it!

    Tonight is this one!! Can't wait!

  14. Hi Mary! We love this and all of your recipes! As an Army brat that spent all her childhood in the south, I certainly miss the cooking my mama did when I was growing up. I am happily turning my husband into a southernified yankee! Thanks for everything!

  15. Made this last night, and the leftovers are even better today! Made several adjustments, and it was still fantastic! First off used morningstar farms veggie chicken strips, chopped up (half of us are veggies here). I left out the lemon, as suggested, and exchanged the sour cream for an equal amount of fat free greek yogurt. It cut the fat and added a fantastic tang! I used 2% cheddar also to cut the grease down a bit, and doubled the rice. My husband is asian, so we like a lot of rice down here. I also intentionally put it in the bottom of the oven to get the rice a bit crispy, as there are Korean dishes like that, and the lightly crispy rice is one of the best parts. I didn't have any slap yo mama seasoning, but used a generous amount of Chef Prudhomme's blackened Redfish Magic! Would totally make this again.

  16. Loving the lower fat and veggie adjustments - sounds great Becky! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and leave a review too - I appreciate that. Have a great weekend!

  17. I tried this with a good old fashoned pot of leftover chicken and rice. Just added in the sour cream, broccoli, cream of celery and cheese and seasonings!! It was AMAZING!!! Yum Yum!!

  18. Glad you enjoyed it & thank you so much for taking the time to come back and say so!!

  19. Okay, this recipe looks amazing and I am ready to try it! I am a fairly new mom and that is the only reason I am learning how to cook in the first place! My daughter just turned one is so easy to please with noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches everyday, but I want to do more! This recipe will be only my second time cooking for she and I. I am planning to make this by the time she comes back from her father's so I hope she really likes it! I will let yall know how it goes!
    - Desiree' || Leesburg, VA

  20. Hi Desiree' - welcome & nice to meet you!! If you're not a big fan of lemon I would suggest leaving it out for the baby - might be a bit to tart for her. Also, I liked the layering but mixing everything together might work better for her. I hope that you enjoy the recipe - let me know what you think.

  21. Did mine with flaked crab and french fried onions

  22. making this TONITE!!! using cream of mushroom and going to add onion...and add cheese crackers as topping!!! cant wait

  23. I'm making this right now w/ some leftover turkey. Don't be offended, but I subsituted yogurt for the sour cream just because I didn't have any sour cream. I admit, I'm a displaced Yankee, but love good food wherever it comes from.

    1. Never offended when somebody makes substitutions - I always say make it your own & most of my recipes are very open to that. Enjoy!

  24. Made it tonight and substituted Cream of Chicken soup and topped with French's Fried onions and it was a huge hit....yummy! I am definitely sharing this one and this site!

  25. Mercy! This looks delicious! I'll have to try it! Love all the recipes on this site! Haven't found a bad one, yet! Thanks for sharing! :)

  26. This is my new fav. casserole recipe. I do a cream of chicken soup from scratch with it and it makes it incredible!

  27. Okay, this is my new favourite casserole. I make it with a homemade cream of chicken soup (2tbsp butter, 1/2 c. chicken broth, 1/2c half and half, 3tbsp flour) and it kicks up that homemade flavor and save you all those chemicals in cambells version. I can't thank you enough for posting this winner.

    1. chemicals?

    2. What Chelsea is referring to are the common chemicals that are found in most of our canned and convenience foods, mostly preservatives. All those things you see at the end of the list of ingredients of canned and packaged foods.

  28. it's in the oven right now...thank you for posting it, Mary :)

  29. Wanting to make this tonight with leftover rice and chicken I had already stored in freezer... just wondering about the cooking on higher rack of oven... I grew up using an electric oven where the heating element was at the top. Now I'm using a gas oven and my broiler is a drawer under the main oven part. So I'm wondering if that matters when choosing which rack to use. I don't think I've ever baked on any rack except the middle :-)

    1. Don't fret - the middle should be fine. I suggested the upper rack because it gives a better circulation, especially in older ovens which tend to cook hotter toward the bottom, making the rice a bit crunchy sometimes!

  30. I'm new here and I have to say that I love how this recipe sounds. I didn't have any of the slap your Mama seasoning so I substituted paprika in its place. Can't wait to get it out of the oven.


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