Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

|by Erica

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is a delicious and comforting dish that is perfect for a weeknight dinner or for sharing with family and friends. Packed with protein, fiber, and veggies, this casserole is not only tasty but also wholesome. With simple ingredients and easy steps, you can whip up this flavorful dish in no time. Follow this guide and get ready to enjoy a hearty meal!

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

This recipe is not just a meal, it’s an experience that brings together the creamy richness of cheese, the tender bite of chicken, and the wholesome goodness of broccoli and rice. Let’s embark on this culinary journey to create a dish that’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or just a cozy night in.

Ingredients Needed for This Recipe

  • Butter: 2 Tablespoons
  • Chicken Breasts: 2 boneless skinless, or 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken
  • Italian Seasoning: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt/Pepper: to taste
  • Chicken Broth: 2 1/2 cups
  • Olive Oil: 1 Tablespoon
  • White Long Grain Rice: 1 1/4 cups, uncooked
  • Broccoli Florets: 2 cups, fresh, uncooked
  • Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup: 10.5 oz.
  • Milk: ½ cup
  • Sour Cream: ½ cup
  • Cheddar Cheese: 2 cups, shredded, separated
  • Optional Seasonings: 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Casserole Topping

  • Ritz Crackers: 1 cup, crushed
  • Butter: 2 Tablespoons, melted

Instructions for Making Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Preheat and Prepare: Begin by preheating your oven to 350° F. If using fresh chicken, cut it into bite-sized pieces and season with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Cook the Chicken: Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. If using rotisserie chicken, this step can be skipped.

The Rice and Broccoli Dance: In the same pot, add chicken broth, olive oil, and rice. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 6 minutes. Add broccoli, cover, and cook for another 9 minutes until the rice is tender.

Combine and Assemble: Mix in the cooked chicken, cream of chicken soup, milk, sour cream, optional seasonings, and half of the cheddar cheese. Transfer this mixture to a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake to Perfection: Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the topping by mixing melted butter with crushed Ritz crackers.

Final Touch: Uncover the casserole, add the cracker topping, and bake for an additional 10 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Tips for Perfecting the Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole

Creating the perfect Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole involves more than just following the recipe. Here are some expert tips to elevate your dish:

Quality of Ingredients: Use fresh, high-quality ingredients. Fresh broccoli and good-quality cheddar cheese can make a significant difference in flavor.

Rice Selection: Stick to long-grain white rice for the best texture. Avoid minute rice as it can become mushy.

Cheese Matters: Shred your own cheese from a block for better melting and flavor. Pre-shredded cheese often contains anti-caking agents that can affect the texture.

Chicken Preparation: If using chicken breasts, ensure they are cooked but still moist. Overcooking can make them tough.

Broccoli Texture: If you prefer softer broccoli, blanch it before adding it to the casserole. This is especially helpful if using fresh broccoli.

Seasoning Adjustments: Taste and adjust the seasoning of the rice mixture before adding it to the baking dish. Sometimes it may need a bit more salt or pepper.

Baking Dish Size: Use the recommended size (9×13 inches) for even cooking and the right thickness of the layers.

Oven Calibration: Make sure your oven is properly calibrated for accurate temperature, as baking time can vary.

Resting Time: Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes after baking for easier serving and better flavor integration.

Topping Texture: For an extra crispy topping, add the Ritz cracker and butter mixture towards the end of the baking time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make this casserole ahead of time? A: Yes, you can assemble the casserole up to two days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Add the cracker topping just before baking.

Can I use brown rice instead of white rice? A: Yes, but keep in mind that brown rice has a longer cooking time and may require more liquid. Adjust the cooking process accordingly.

Is it possible to freeze this casserole? A: Absolutely. Assemble the casserole without baking, cover it well, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator before baking, and add the topping just before baking.

Can I use a different type of soup instead of cream of chicken? A: Yes, cream of mushroom or cream of broccoli soup can be good substitutes.

How do I know when the casserole is done? A: The casserole is done when the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the topping is golden brown.

Can I add other vegetables to this casserole? A: Certainly! Feel free to add vegetables like carrots, peas, or cauliflower for additional nutrition and flavor.

What can I do if my casserole turns out too dry? A: If the casserole seems dry, you can add a bit more chicken broth or milk before baking to ensure it stays moist.

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    Hi there! I’m Erica,

    A highly passionate individual with a deep love for creating delicious and creative recipes that are perfect for any occasion. With an extensive background in the culinary arts and a strong flair for experimentation, I strive to push the boundaries of traditional cooking and deliver exceptional dishes that not only satisfy the palate but also ignite a sense of culinary adventure.

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