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Skinny Cheesy Chicken + Rice Casserole with Mixed Veggies

Article by Shanna Hutcheson

So if you look up “healthy chicken and rice casserole” you will find about 100 variations of basically the same dish. I found several recipes and kinda just pulled elements from each.

I liked the way I made this because all of the components are fully cooked first. You just mix ’em all together and pop the 9×13 in the oven to broil to melt the cheese and heat it through.

Many cheesy chicken and rice dishes call for just broccoli, but I would personally rather add a variety of veggies. You can do whichever you prefer. Fresh or frozen vegetables work just fine for this recipe—you will just steam them either way! (Frozen veggies cook in a shorter amount of time.)

Here’s what I made just last week and LOVED! Excuse the excessively long name. We can call it SCCRC + MV for short… Just kidding, that’s a mouthful. TRY IT ANYWAY AND LOVE IT.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • 3-4 cups mixed vegetables (I used a Normandy Blend with cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 tsp whole-wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 8 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in rice, cover and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set aside.
     
  2. Place a steamer into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Cover and bring water to a boil over high heat. Add your fresh/frozen vegetables, re-cover pan and steam until soft. (About 10-15 minutes).
     
  3. Meanwhile, cook 1 lb of chopped chicken breasts with seasonings of choice (I used Mrs. Dash, garlic powder, and pepper) in 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Remove to a plate, then very carefully wipe out the skillet with a dry paper towel and turn the heat down to medium.
     
  4. To the wiped out skillet, spray with non-stick cooking spray, add 5 tsp of whole wheat flour whisked into ½ cup skim milk, then pour in 1-1/2 cups more skim milk.
     
  5. Stir the milk and flour mixture continuously until thickened and bubbly, about 7-10 minutes, then take the skillet off the heat and add 6 oz shredded cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup Greek yogurt, and ¼ tsp of garlic powder and pepper.
     
  6. Preheat broiler.
     
  7. Stir the rice and vegetable mixture together with the cooked chicken and cheese sauce, then scoop into a 9×13 baking dish.
     
  8. Top with another 2 oz of shredded cheese and broil until melted and bubbly. Let the casserole rest for 5 minutes, then dig in!

Follow Shanna Hutcheson @wellnessforthewin

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