Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole
This easy broccoli, rice, and chicken casserole is topped with a buttery Ritz cracker crust. This meal comes together in less than 45 minutes and it takes one bowl and one casserole dish! Put this together ahead of time and pop it in the oven when you get home from work!
Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving with friends and family and I hope you ate lots and lots of delicious, hearty food! Who’s struggling just a bit to get back into the groove? I definitely am. I totally do not want to be at a training class right now. I seriously loathe classes. I was never one to just sit still and listen to a lecture. *sigh* I also can’t believe it’s already December. 2014 will be here before you know it. Just crazy!
What’s also crazy is Paul Walker. I still cannot believe he died this past weekend. When Jason told me that, I totally wanted to throw a pillow at him and to tell him to stop kidding around. I guess I just never thought an actor from my generation would pass this early. I’m sorry if this is a really weird topic for you, but basically Paul Walker and the Fast and Furious movies paved my affection for cars. I won’t ever admit it (well, I guess I am right now), but I really do enjoy watching everything about cars. Blame it on the guys I dated and the one I’m married to, but I seriously adore watching car shows and movies. Top Gear, Fast ‘N Loud, Classic Cars, etc…..R.I.P.
Wanna know the truth about the pictures of this casserole? You probably can’t really tell, but the entire top of this casserole was CARBON BLACK. That is what happens when you forget to set the timer and stick the casserole under the broiler to just get the crust a “bit more color.” Ha, I definitely got that color…I also got an entire house’s fire alarm going off.
So, I stuck the casserole under the broiler, for what I intended to be only 3-5 minutes, but I forgot to set the timer so I went into the living room and got on my laptop and started catching up on email. Your nose knows when you smell that good ‘ole burning scent. I immediately knew what was up and said, “shit!” and ran into the kitchen. Opened the oven door to see a carbon black casserole and smoke was coming out of the oven. Great. I went and opened all the windows and doors, and the fire alarm still went off. I couldn’t get them to turn off, either. I had to get on my laptop to Google how to turn them off, but I still couldn’t get them to turn off!! They’re all connected to each other so when one goes off, the others go off too. I basically just had to wait until the smoke cleared. Good thing it was a nice-ish day out so having the windows and doors open weren’t a huge deal.
I ended up picking off all the burnt pieces (with some left behind, as you can see in the photos above, but don’t they just look like ground pepper flakes?) and was able to salvage the casserole! Huzzah! Yeah, it was really easy to pick off the pieces because it was just like an entire sheet of burnt of Ritz crackers so you could pick them off in large pieces. :) when you make this casserole, don’t make the mistake I made!
- 5 chicken tenderloins, cut into 1-inch cubes, uncooked
- 1 cup white rice, uncooked OR instant rice (different types of rice will yield very different cook times. I used sushi rice. Due to the number of folks who have tried this recipe & still say their rice is crunchy, I highly suggest you use instant rice)
- 2¼ cup whole milk
- 1 (10.75 ounce) can of cream of chicken
- 1½ cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed
- 1¾ cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish (mine was ceramic, but you may use glass).
- In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients except the Ritz crackers, together until well-incorporated.
- Pour the ingredients into the greased casserole dish, spread into an even layer, then sprinkle Ritz crackers on top of the mixture.
- Bake mixture, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes, or whenever rice and chicken are done cooking (mine took about 40 minutes, yours may take longer depending on your oven).
- To get a deeper, golden color, you may put the casserole under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Be careful to watch it carefully!
- Serve immediately.
You can substitute fresh broccoli for the frozen broccoli. Fresh broccoli will yield a bit longer cooking time than frozen. Also, the size you cut your broccoli will affect its cooking time as well. If you like your broccoli more on the softer side, cook it longer. If you like your broccoli to have more of a bite, cook it to the time indicated above.
I didn't give a salt/pepper measurement as everyone's taste preference is different. My husband and I honestly thought the salt content from the buttery Ritz crackers were enough for this dish, however, if you don't feel it would be, I encourage you to adapt this recipe to your taste - add salt and pepper, to taste. Start with ½ tsp. at a time, taste it, and increase until desired taste.
If after 50 minutes, your rice is still not fully cooked through (rice grains vary, sushi-grade rice, which is what I used, cooks faster than other types of rice), cover the casserole with foil and cook longer.
Cooking time and milk measurement updated January 2014.