The other day, I threw up a post on Facebook asking for suggestions for a ‘cream of xx soup’ free chicken casserole. Don’t get me wrong, I will occasionally cook with the ‘cream of’ soups, but I didn’t have any in the pantry and quite honestly had no desire to go to the store to pick any up. I got several replies, but the one that really caught my eye was a Crunchy Chicken Casserole from The Foodie Army Wife.
I rarely follow a recipe exactly, and this was no exception. A quick scan of the pantry left me coming up short handed, and I knew I wanted more veggies than Connie’s casserole had. I grabbed what I had, a substitution or two and made a trip to the chest freezer in the garage to grab some frozen broccoli.
Let me apologize now for what is an awful picture. Before I even realized it, half of the casserole was gone, and at that point I just grabbed my phone to snap a quick pic before the entire thing disappeared.
For any recipe that calls for cooked chicken, I generally just salt and pepper some boneless skinless chicken breasts and toss them in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. You could certainly substitute thighs for breasts if you prefer those. I cooked both the rice and chicken earlier in the day so that I would have less to do around dinner time. You could cook both the day before too.
Be sure to stop by and check out Connie’s original recipe. It was a great jumping off point for what will certainly become a dinnertime favorite around here. And remember, you don’t always have to follow the recipe to make something great. Take an idea, use what you have and make it your own!
- 2 Cups Cooked, Cubed Chicken
- 3 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
- 1 Stick Butter, Divided
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Onion, Chopped
- 4 Stalks Celery (and Leaves), Chopped
- 1 Cup Matchstick Carrots, Chopped
- 2 Cups Cooked Broccoli
- ¼ Cup Flour
- 2 Cups Milk
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Thyme
- 2 Cups Cornflakes, Crushed
- Cook the chicken, broccoli and rice ahead of time.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a saucepan, melt a ¾ stick of butter.
- Add the garlic, onion, celery and carrots.
- Cook until they are tender.
- Once the veggies are tender, sprinkle in the flour a little at a time, stirring well.
- Pour in the milk slowly and whisk gently to mix the ingredients.
- Add the Salt & Pepper, and Thyme.
- Cook this over medium heat, stirring continually until it just begins to boil and has thickened slightly.
- Remove it from the heat.
- Stir in the cooked broccoli, chicken and rice.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly and spread the mixture into a baking dish.
- In a small bowl, melt the ¼ stick of butter in the microwave.
- When it is melted, mix the butter with the crushed Cornflakes.
- Spread this all over the top of the casserole.
- Bake it for 20-25 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through.