Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

It rained on Sunday. And Monday. But I wasn’t complaining. Instead of taunting me with sunshine, the weather forced me to stay indoors and draft papers. The drops hitting the window echoed the tap-tap-tap of my keyboard, soothing my frenzied soul.

The rain also gave me the opportunity to cook some chilly weather comfort food, like this casserole (that’s hot dish, for all you Minnesotans). Luckily I had all the fixings in the freezer already, making this dish a snap to prepare.

Plus, now we have leftovers, a gift for the rest of this busy week!

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Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Casserole

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Cheese Sauce

  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Heat oil in a medium dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat.  Saute onion, celery, and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken and rices and remove from heat.

Prepare cheese sauce: melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth, whisking continuously.  Stir until thick and nearly boiling then stir in cheese until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with panko and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.

Serves 8-10.

Source: Adapted from Picky Palate.

Nutrition facts (per 1/8 casserole): 393 calories, 21.6 g fat (10.7 sat), 28.6 g carbs, 2.7 g fiber, 21.4 g protein.

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