Light Broccoli Cheddar Rice Casserole

Light!  Not full of condensed milk products and chemicals!IMG_1595


How’s your day?  I just found out that I’m going to get PAID to teach a cooking class to some kids once a month, and I’m beyond psyched about it.  Anyone else want to hire me to do food stuff?   Don’t jump all at once!  IMG_1602

Anyway, this dish.  The dish I was going to show you yesterday! If you like the old-school baked rice dish with cream of mushroom soup but mayyyyybe want a little bit more flavor, you’ll LOVE this.  Also.  Besides a bit of chopping there is zero prep or cooking in stages – everything goes in a large skillet, bakes all together, and BOOM.  Casserole.  Healthy casserole!  Rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken is my drug of choice here, but feel free to cook and shred a breast or two if you’d like.  

This really is just so simple.  You need cooked shredded chicken, pine nuts, sharp cheddar, garlic, chicken stock, brown or wild rice (mine’s a blend from TJ’s that’s super delish), mushrooms, heavy cream, and sour cream.  Don’t freak out about the dairy products – what makes this dish so light is that we don’t use very much of them, so every bite ends up tasting super decadent, but doesn’t have a ton of fat and calories.  Promise.  IMG_1577

Let’s do a teensy bit of prep first!  Peel and mince the garlic. IMG_1580 Then, grate the cheese.  IMG_1585

Combine the cheese with the sour cream and heavy cream to form a thick sauce (basically our own cream of whatever soup), then set it aside until we’re ready to use it.  IMG_1586


Go ahead and measure your rice and stock, too.  IMG_1579

Now, let’s get our oven preheating to 400F and a large ovenproof skillet preheating to medium-high for the pine nuts.  As a note, I only use the skillet on the stovetop for the pine nuts, so if you don’t have a skillet that can go in the oven just toast the pine nuts separately and then make this in a baking dish.  No biggz.  Add the pine nuts to the skillet and shake them around for a minute or two just until they start to brown, then turn the skillet off.  IMG_1578

Now, we build our dish!  Pour the rice into the skillet…..IMG_1581

….and the stock.  IMG_1582

The sprinkle the mushrooms and garlic over the top.  IMG_1583

Stir this all together to coat the mushrooms in the stock, and sprinkle everything with salt.  IMG_1584

Over the mushrooms, layer the chicken then the broccoli.  IMG_1588

Finally, top the whole mess with the cheese mixture.  IMG_1590

It’ll be thick, so use a spoon to dollop it over the top of the casserole if it won’t pour easily.  IMG_1591

Now, we’re ready to bake!  Cook the dish for 30-45 minutes (depending on your rice) until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.  If the top of the casserole starts to brown before the rice is cooked, cover the dish with tin foil in the oven until it’s all cooked through. IMG_1593

And here we go.  IMG_1596

Delicious, light, healthy, full of nutrients and whole grains.  What’s not to like?  We made a balanced meal in one dish that actually tastes great.  IMG_1608

The brown cheesy bits on top are my favorite part of this, but then the creamy rice and mushrooms with the surprise of the pine nuts…IMG_1603

….I’m having leftovers of this for lunch today.  IMG_1597

Just do it.  

Light Broccoli Chicken Skillet
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
  1. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  2. 1 cup uncooked wild or brown rice
  3. 2 cups chicken stock (or more depending on the brand of rice that you're using, follow package directions)
  4. 1 pint sliced fresh mushrooms, your choice
  5. 2 cloves minced garlic
  6. 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  7. 3 cups broccoli, cut into pieces
  8. 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
  9. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  10. 1/4 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat a large ovenproof skillet to medium-high heat, and preheat the oven to 400F. Add the pine nuts to the skillet and toast just until fragrant, for about 3 minutes. Turn the skillet off.
  2. Add the rice, stock, mushrooms, and garlic to the skillet. Stir to combine, and sprinkle lightly with salt, especially if you're using homemade or unsalted stock.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken and the broccoli over the rice mixture.
  4. Combine the cheese, sour cream, and cream to form a thick sauce. Drizzle or drop spoonfuls of the sauce over the broccoli - the sauce may not cover the whole skillet, that's ok!
  5. Bake the dish for 30-45 minutes until the liquids are absorbed and the rice is tender. If the dish starts to brown on top before the rice is cooked, tent lightly with foil to finish cooking.
  6. Serve. Eat. Enjoy!
  1. This is a great useup for leftover chicken, or cook your own! Rotisserie chicken is fabulous in this dish as well.
  2. My rice called for 2 1/3 cups of stock for 1 cup of rice, but I decreased it just slightly to 2 cups of stock due to the liquid in the mushrooms and broccoli that also help cook the rice.



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