I don’t like casseroles. I haven’t found them appetizing since I saw my first green bean casserole at *Thanksgiving (hopefully will find a different name to use as a placeholder) when I was probably 5 and hated most foods and found the entire dish quite upsetting. In a wild turn of events, I made a Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole because I saw its creation video on the Half Baked Harvest instagram and somehow needed to make it at that exact moment. I’ve lazily avoided using the kitchen for anything other than crafting perfect lunch bentos (post coming soon!) and sneakily eating a box of frozen chocolate biscuits at 2 a.m. I’m fine, I promise. In order to get out of my non-cooking food rut, I attempted this cheesy chicken & rice casserole because it just looked so damn delicious and I’ve been bravely trying new foods! This specific cheesy chicken & rice casserole combines my favorite vegetables and long grains that all fit together under the perfect cheesy crust. I swapped out HBH’s chicken breasts for deconstructed pieces from a Costco rotisserie chicken because why not and utilized pre-cooked broccoli to also cut down on time.
- One rotisserie chicken pulled apart and chopped into cubes
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 large carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- 1/2 lemon zest
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Chop all veggies and cut rotisserie chicken pieces into one inch cubes.
- Heat olive oil in a pan and cook onion, carrots, and celery until slightly soft.
- Add chicken pieces and season mixture with salt and pepper.
- Put butter in pan and add rice and orzo, toasting until golden brown.
- Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Add broccoli and seasonings and reduce to low heat after boiling.
- Simmer with lid on for 20-25 minutes or until grains are sufficiently cooked.
- Add lemon zest, milk, and one cup shredded cheese and stir until combined.
- Transfer mixture to casserole dish and top with one cup shredded cheese before baking for 15 minutes.
- Top with thyme and serve.