There are probably thousands of variations on rice/cheese/broccoli casserole, but in our house, all of them are crave-able! This beauty from Half Baked Harvest is no exception, though I love that there’s a protein included (and I’m sure a variety of protein options would work), which makes this truly a weeknight, one-pot wonder. The only adaptation I made was to double the broccoli and chicken – enjoy!
1 onion, chopped AND 3 carrots, diced
2 lbs. boneless chicken, cubed into bite-sized pieces
2 T. butter
1 1/2 c. basmati or jasmine rice
1/2 c. dry orzo pasta
2 T. fresh thyme leaves
3 1/2 c. good chicken broth
1/2 t. EACH garlic powder AND cayenne
6 c. + broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
zest from half a lemon
1/2 c. whole milk (or coconut milk)
1 1/2 c. + grated sharp cheddar
fresh thyme and basil leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 and have all of your ingredients ready to go. Heat up a bit of oil in a large skillet (I use one that’s non-stick and oven-proof) and cook the onion and carrot for a couple of minutes, then stir in all of the chicken, seasoning it well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook the chicken for a few minutes until most of it has browned a bit.
Add in the butter, rice, orzo and thyme and cook and stir to toast it all for a couple of minutes, then add in the broth and bring the mix to a boil over high heat. Add in the garlic powder and cayenne, reduce to a simmer, and cook it all for about 20 minutes until the rice is mostly cooked.
Once the rice is tender, stir in the broccoli, zest, milk and about a half cup of the grated cheese – if needed, transfer it all to an oven-proof casserole. Evenly spread the remaining cheese all over the top.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is nicely melted, then serve up in big bowls – garnish as you wish!