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Chicken and Rice Casserole

Chicken and Rice Casserole

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Chicken and Rice CasseroleChicken and Rice Casserole    Casual, Healthy

Active Time: 60 minutes
Start to Finish: 1 hour


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 8 oz. bone-in chicken breast, skinned
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 14 oz. can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 8 oz. zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 8 oz. yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • cups 2% milk
  • ½ cup (2 oz.) grated pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • ¼ tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 350°

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray, then add the onions and sauté them until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, skinned side down, and cook until browned. Turn the chicken over, add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth, and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle.

Bring the broth to a boil, and boil until it is reduced to ½ cup, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the bones, shred it, and place it in a large bowl. (Discard the bones.) Add the reduced broth to the bowl with the chicken.

Over medium-high heat, melt the butter in the saucepan. Add the zucchini and the yellow squash and sauté until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add the squash, the rice, and the thyme to the chicken and broth in the bowl. Stir gently to combine.

Add the flour to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk, until smooth. Bring to a boil and continue stirring until thick. Remove from the heat and add ¼ cup of the cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add the milk mixture, the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper and the salt to the chicken mixture in the bowl, stir gently to combine.

Spray a broiler-safe, 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon the casserole into the dish and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup cheese. Place it in the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and preheat the broiler. Broil the casserole until the top is golden brown, about 5 minutes.


This is truly a one-dish meal, although it is a bit fussy for a work night.

Nutritional Information, per serving

Calories: 337; Fat: 9.7g (Saturated Fat: 5.7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g); Protein: 23.9; Carbs: 38.2; Fiber: 2.8g; Cholesterol: 56mg; Iron: 2.3m; Sodium: 592m; Calcium: 331m.

Note: Nutritional information is approximate.

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recipe type

Main Courses


Cooking Light


4 servings

serving size

1¼ cups




Salted or Unsalted?Salted or Unsalted?
We always cook with unsalted butter. Salted butter is usually less fresh than unsalted, and the salt can be used to mask inferior flavors. Also, manufacturers add different amounts of salt to their butter, so it is difficult to control the amount of salt in your recipe. In a pinch, you can use salted butter in a savory recipe, but we would not recommend using it for baking.

Kosher v. table salt
We always use kosher salt in our cooking because its crystals dissolve better in water than ordinary table salt. However, kosher and table salt are not equivalent when you are measuring amounts for a recipe. To further confuse matters, different types of kosher salt measure differently. If a recipe calls for table salt (or just salt), and the amounts are relatively small (e.g., one teaspoon), we simply use the amount called for in the recipe. You can always add a bit more salt to taste. If however, the recipe calls for larger amounts of salt, as would be the case, for example, in a brine, then you should convert the amount called for. Most sources cite 2 types of kosher salt as being widely available: Morton (which is what we use) and Diamond Crystal (which none of us have ever been able to find.) In any case, to convert the amount of table salt to Morton Kosher Salt, multiply the table salt by 1.5; to convert to Diamond Crystal, multiply by 2.

Just another example of why algebra really is im