Cooking Creamy Chicken Rice Casserole

Step into a world of comfort with this Creamy Chicken Rice Casserole, a dish that promises to wrap you in warmth and satisfaction with each bite. This one-dish wonder combines tender chicken, fluffy rice, and a rich, creamy sauce under a blanket of melted cheese, creating a symphony of flavors and textures. Perfect for busy weeknights, cozy family dinners, or when you simply need a comforting meal, this casserole is as nourishing as it is delicious. Let’s embark on creating this easy-to-make, hearty dish that’s sure to become a cherished recipe in your comfort food collection.

Why You’ll Love Creamy Chicken Rice Casserole:

  • Hearty and Filling: A complete meal in one dish, packed with protein, carbs, and cheesy goodness.
  • Comfort Food Classic: Embraces the essence of home-cooked comfort food with its creamy texture and savory flavors.
  • Easy One-Dish Meal: Minimal cleanup required, perfect for those nights when you want a delicious meal without the fuss.
  • Versatile: Easily adaptable with different vegetables, proteins, or whatever you have on hand.

Ingredients Notes For Creamy Chicken Rice Casserole:

  • Chicken: Use cooked, shredded chicken for convenience. Rotisserie chicken works great and adds extra flavor.
  • Rice: Long-grain white rice is ideal for its fluffy texture. Cook the rice in advance to ensure the casserole doesn’t become too mushy.
  • Cream of Chicken Soup: Acts as the base for the creamy sauce. You can also use cream of mushroom soup for a different flavor profile.
  • Vegetables: Mixed vegetables (frozen or fresh) like carrots, peas, and corn add color, texture, and nutrition.
  • Cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese melts beautifully, adding a rich, gooey layer on top. Feel free to mix in other cheeses like mozzarella or Gouda.
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme enhance the savory notes of the casserole.
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Recipe Steps:

  1. Preheat Oven and Prepare Ingredients: Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). Have your cooked chicken and rice ready.
  2. Mix the Casserole Base: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, shredded chicken, cream of chicken soup, mixed vegetables, and half of the shredded cheese. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  3. Assemble the Casserole: Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish. Spread evenly and top with the remaining cheese.
  4. Bake: Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
  5. Serve: Let the casserole cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Storage Options:

  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven.
  • Freeze: Freeze the casserole before or after baking for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (You can use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or boil and shred chicken breasts.)
  • 1 cup uncooked rice (white or brown rice, as preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, and green beans work well)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Mix the Casserole Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked shredded chicken, uncooked rice, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir until everything is well mixed.
    • Fold in the frozen mixed vegetables and half of the shredded cheddar cheese into the mixture.
  3. Transfer to Baking Dish:
    • Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  4. Bake:
    • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  5. Add Cheese and Finish Baking:
    • Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese (and optional Parmesan cheese) over the top of the casserole.
    • Return to the oven, uncovered, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the rice is fully cooked.
  6. Serve:
    • Let the casserole sit for a few minutes after removing it from the oven. Then, serve warm.
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