Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

What can I say about this Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole from Picky Palate? It was the best thing I've made in a long time, and that is saying something.

It was one of those dishes where I could do all the prep work ahead of time and toss everything together a half hour before we wanted to eat.  Of course you could do it all at once, but I like to do a little bit of this and that throughout the day if I can.  

The only bad thing, and it isn't really bad, was that the leftovers didn't taste nearly as good as the casserole straight from the oven. 

I think that the health factor of this dish could be bumped up by adding a cup of quinoa and some defrosted frozen corn, peas and green beans.  But it doesn't "need" anything else.  It's a tasty treat as is.

Oh, one more thing.  With all that cheese, the casserole came out of the oven just bubbling with the oils that had separated from the cheese.  If you are like me, that will totally gross you out.  I was able to soak up almost all of the oils by placing a paper towel on its edge in the oil.  The oil will wick itself up the paper towel.  Voila!  Ick is gone and family is happy.

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole from Picky Palate
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 med onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 T fresh minced garlic
2 C shredded, cooked chicken breast (I used leftover shredded BBQ chicken)
2 C steamed white rice
2C prepared wild rice ( make mine in the crockpot)
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t garlic salt

Cheese Sauce
4 T butter
1/4 C flour
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
2 C chicken broth
2 C plus l 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat oil into a med pot over med heat. Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 min. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 min. Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Reduce heat to low.

To prepare cheese sauce melt butter into a med saucepan over med high heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling then stir in cheese until melted. Pour cheese sauce into rice mix then transfer to a 9×13" dish. Top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 min or until cheese is melted through. Serve.

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