Skinny Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli-Rice Casserole

That's quite the mouthful of a recipe title, eh? I just couldn't leave any part of it out! The new year is upon us (crazy, I know!)... and many people are looking to serve their families healthy meals to detox a bit from all the holiday indulging. Don't get me wrong, I love holiday food (and enjoy it to the max), but after a few weeks of heavy appetizers, rich entrees, and decadent desserts, I am ready for a change. For me, the hardest part about eating healthy in the new year is the timing. I don't crave salads, smoothies, and fresh vegetables in the dead of winter. All I want is a big bowl of mac & cheese and my couch, to be honest. Today's recipe lets me have the best of both worlds. Skinny Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli-Rice Casserole is a lightened up version of a cheesy, comforting classic. Regular white rice is replaced with brown rice for added fiber and satiety, processed cream of chicken soup is replaced with a lightened creamy cheese sauce, and broccoli and lean chicken are added to the dish for an extra dose of vegetables and protein. Get started by cooking your rice. Brown rice does take a little bit longer to cook than white, but it's worth the extra time. I actually prefer the flavor of brown rice - it's nutty, a little chewy, and not as bland as white rice. Simmer the rice in chicken stock for extra flavor, adding broccoli florets during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. (Follow the package directions for how long to cook the rice; all varieties are different.)   IMG_5695   While the rice is simmering, prepare the cheese sauce. It's actually really simple! Whisk together a little bit of flour with some milk, and add to a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in some additional milk, and whisk until thickened. Remove from the heat; add your freshly grated cheese and seasonings. That's it!   cheese sauce   When the rice/broccoli is done, it's time to assemble the casserole. Mix together the rice/broccoli with the cheese sauce and chicken, and add to a 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese and broil until bubbly and browned.   IMG_5697   YUM! My hubby and I gobbled this meal up. It was the perfect meal at the end of a cold, blustery day. (And we've been having lots of those!)   IMG_5698   _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Skinny Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli-Rice Casserole

Servings/Yield: 6-8 servings
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin & bones removed, and shredded
  • 5 teaspoons flour
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • cup light sour cream
  • 8-oz freshly shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Method Bring chicken broth to boil in a large pot; add rice. Cover; then turn heat down to medium-low. Cook according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 5 minutes to steam. While the rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and 1/2 cup milk. Add to skillet, and then add remaining 11/2 cups milk. Cook mixture, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 7-10 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat, and stir in half the cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir until smooth. When rice is done, combine rice mixture, chicken, and cheese sauce in pot. Scoop mixture into a greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Top with remaining cheese. Broil casserole 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Source: adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

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