Casseroles. People either love them or hate them. I, for one, am not a huge fan of casseroles, but my husband and my two sons love them! (Is it a guy thing?) I just like my meat and veggies separate, thank you very much…but alas, one must do their duty and make something just for the guys once in a while! (haha)
Anyway…this is one of those recipes that can easily be altered according to your likes and dislikes. I personally just went through the frig. and threw stuff in the skillet…the more veggies, the better. I just couldn’t bring myself to dump a can of “cream of…” soup in there, so I made a roux and added cheese for a sauce to pull it all together. This was a mild casserole…no heat. If you like your food spicy, add some hot peppers or hot sauce…and there you have it..
“Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” (as my friend Kris says… It always makes me laugh when she says that! )
Wild Rice and Chicken Cheese Casserole
6 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 cups dry wild rice, cooked as package directs
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1 red pepper, diced
3 cups broccoli, chopped into bit sized pieces
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup flour
6 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup broth
salt and pepper
3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
optional garnish…pastry dough leaves.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions, celery, carrots, red pepper, broccoli, mushrooms and garlic and heat until everything is fork tender.
Stir in the chicken and rice.
To another pan, melt the butter.
Whisk in the flour and broth and some salt and pepper. Continue whisking until boiling. Add the cheese and stir until it is melted. Add to the chicken and rice mixture. Stir. Check for seasonings.
Pour into a 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray.
In one of your previously used pans, melt the butter and add the bread crumbs. Stir until they are golden brown (and smell like buttered toast). Spread the breadcrumbs on top of the casserole.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until it looks heated through. (or if it seems like a lot, use 2 pans and freeze one for another time).
Garnish, if you’d like with pastry dough leaves .
What do I love about this recipe? Well, I love that my guys love it. That makes me happy. I also love that I can make it ahead of time and stick it in the frig until I am ready to bake it. Oh….and I love that I can freeze half and use it another night!
What don’t I love about this recipe? Well, like I said…Im not crazy about casseroles. Just a texture thing, I suppose. I can eat it if I have to, but it isn’t what I prefer to have for dinner.