Broccoli, Rice, Cheese, and Chicken Casserole
Broccoli, Rice, Cheese, and Chicken Casserole is a comforting and delicious dish that combines tender chicken, fluffy rice, vibrant broccoli, and creamy cheese sauce. It’s a perfect one-dish meal that the whole family will love. This casserole is easy to prepare and can be customized with your favorite ingredients.
For the Casserole:
- 2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, steamed or blanched
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (you can also use a blend of cheddar and mozzarella)
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk (whole or 2% works best)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
- Cooking spray or extra butter for greasing the baking dish
For the Topping (Optional):
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter and set it aside.
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the diced onions and garlic and sauté until they become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and garlic, and stir well to create a roux. Cook for an additional 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
- Slowly pour in the milk while continuously whisking to avoid lumps. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
- Reduce the heat to low, and stir in 1 1/4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese until it’s completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and dried thyme (if using). Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked chicken, cooked rice, steamed broccoli, and the cheese sauce. Stir everything together until well coated.
- Transfer the mixture into the greased baking dish and spread it evenly.
- In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and melted butter for the topping. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the casserole.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and the grated Parmesan cheese over the top.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is bubbly.
- Remove the foil and broil for an additional 2-3 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.
- Let the casserole sit for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your delicious homemade Broccoli, Rice, Cheese, and Chicken Casserole!
- You can use leftover cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken, or cook chicken breasts specifically for this recipe. Season the chicken with salt and pepper before cooking for extra flavor.
- Feel free to add other vegetables like diced bell peppers, peas, or carrots for more color and nutrients.
- To make it a complete meal, you can also add cooked crumbled bacon or diced ham to the casserole.
- Customize the cheese to your liking. Swiss, Monterey Jack, or Gouda can also be excellent choices.
- Make sure the broccoli is steamed or blanched before adding it to the casserole to ensure it’s tender and not crunchy.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or oven.
- To make it a gluten-free casserole, use a gluten-free flour blend for the roux and substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- For a healthier version, use brown rice or cauliflower rice instead of white rice.
- Spice it up with some crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce for a spicy kick.
- Garnish the casserole with fresh chopped parsley or chives for a pop of color and freshness.
This Broccoli, Rice, Cheese, and Chicken Casserole is a versatile and satisfying dish that’s perfect for weeknight dinners or potluck gatherings. Enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness with your loved ones!