Chicken Rice and Veggie Casserole

This is our new family favorite.  It’s a great recipe for those nights I know practice will go late, ballet class is after school, or I’m running behind.

It is super easy to make and healthy too.

DON’T do what I did though — I failed to read the entire recipe and used UNCOOKED rice.  OMG!  My husband was puzzled, “did you not READ the recipe first?”  Clearly the answer is no, I did not.  Haha

 

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Chicken Rice Casserole
Photo: John Autry; Styling: Mindi Shapiro

Chicken Rice and Veggie Casserole

courtesy Cooking Light

1 Cup chopped onion

1 precooked Rotisserie chicken (yup, you’re going to cheat a little on this one)

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 (14 ounce) can fat-free lower-sodium chicken broth (get a little extra)

1 Tbsp. butter

2 green zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

2 yellow crookneck squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 cup sliced mushrooms (I like cremini but you can use regular white mushrooms)

2 Cups cooked long-grain white rice — Substitute brown rice, add quinoa, or wild rice for interest

1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

1 1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 Cups 2% reduced-fat milk

2 ounces fresh Romano cheese

OPTIONAL:  Add peas, corn, or green beans to the casserole.  Whatever your family likes.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350′.
  2. In a stock pot, cook rice as directed on package.  Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan heat some olive oil.  Add the onions and sauté 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add squash to onions with some butter.  Saute until cooked but not overcooked.
  5. Meanwhile, take the chicken apart, shredding the  with your fingers into a large bowl.
  6. Add cooked onions and squash to chicken mixture.
  7. In saucepan add chicken stock.  Cook until reduced to about 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes).
  8. Add reduced stock to chicken mixture and chopped rosemary.
  9. Add cooked rice to chicken mixture.
  10. In sauce pan, melt about 2 Tbsp. butter and add flour.  Stir to combine and cook the flour (approx. 1 minute).  Slowly (slowly, slowly) add the milk to flour mixture.  Do not add too much milk or the sauce will come out lumpy.  Add just a small amount of milk at a time and whisk to combine.
  11. When the sauce is cooked and thickened, add 1/4 Cup romano cheese.
  12. Add the sauce to chicken mixture.  Stir to combine.
  13. Pour mixture into a prepared 11 x 13 glass pan.  Top with remaining cheese.  Cover with foil.  Place in oven for approximately 20-30 minutes.
  14. Remove the foil after 20-30 minutes to let the cheese melt.

NOTE:  If you are looking to cut the calories even further; substitute 1 Cup of milk for 1 Cup of chicken broth to make the sauce.  Works great and the kids don’t even notice.  I use this method to make homemade chicken pot pies (a family favorite).

Yummy!  Serve with a great salad and dinner is done.  Sometimes I serve this with tortillas or flat bread.  Whatever makes you and the family happy!

Enjoy —

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