Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Years ago when the kids were little we had a favorite chicken and broccoli casserole that contained cream of something soup and mayonnaise among other things. It was good but I really wanted to eliminate as many processed foods as possible. When I found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe I was excited, it was just what I was looking for and it was delicious. A new casserole to add to dinner rotation and hubby loves the leftovers for lunch. I did add some cooked diced chicken to make it more of a main dish.

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole
2 slices bread, torn into pieces
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter, melted; plus two tablespoons chilled
1 garlic clove, minced
2 pounds broccoli (about 3-4 medium heads of broccoli), florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems chopped (stems have to be my favorite part of broccoli)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups long grain white rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
cooked diced chicken

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Pulse bread, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and melted butter in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add garlic. Set aside.
Microwave broccoli florets (save stems for later), covered, in a large bowl until bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes (no need to add water). Be careful not to overcook or they will become soggy and discolored. Melt remaining butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onion and broccoli stems until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, half-and-half, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Off the heat, stir in cheddar cheese, cayenne, remaining Parmesan and broccoli florets.
Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.

This is a great casserole for busy school nights. Make the casserole early in the day put it in the oven on time bake as you rush out to soccer. It will be hot and ready when you walk in the door. Your famished children will thank you. Serve with cut up watermelon and cantaloupe. Serve Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter frosting for dessert. Recipe coming.


Kayte said...

Oh, I have to try this one! I don't like those cream of whatever soups, for some reason they always taste tinny to the can. This recipe looks wonderful and broccoli is such a favorite here, I could serve it 5 times a week and no one would complain. Thanks for the recipe!!

Colleen said...

That looks so good! Coming over from Delightful Order. I am pinning this one to try.

Tanya said...

That looks so good. And leftovers are great for lunches. I will be making this soon.

Barbara Bakes said...

Sounds so much better than a traditional broccoli casserole. Love that you added chicken to make it a one dish meal.

Gloria Baker said...

Look absolutely nice!! gloria

Gloria - The Ginger Snap Girl said...

This looks delicious. Too bad my Hubby is not a broccoli lover. I may just have to make it all for myself.

Carol said...

Our family loves this updated version of the old classic chicken broccoli casserole. Tonight I substituted quinoa for the rice and it worked great!