Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole


Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole, kind of like broccoli cheddar soup meets cozy weeknight casserole...made in one pot in under an hour...healthy-ish, easy and delicious!
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1½ cups basmati or jasmine rice
  • ½ cup dry orzo pasta (use gluten free, if needed)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for topping
  • 3½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • ½ cup whole milk or canned coconut milk
  • 1½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrot and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is seared, 2-3 minutes. Add the butter, rice, orzo, and thyme, and cook until golden and toasted, 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli, bay leaves, garlic powder, cayenne, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered for 20-25 minutes, until the rice is mostly cooked.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the lemon zest, milk, and ½ cup of cheese. If needed, transfer the rice to an oven-safe casserole dish. Scatter the remaining cheese over top the casserole.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and just beginning to brown. Serve warm with additional thyme and fresh basil.

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