Monday, June 25, 2012

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Portabella mushrooms give this casserole a different and rich flavor. Finely chopped veggies are not as noticable for picky eaters. Veggie broth and seasoning help disguise the brown rice. Sometimes a casserole dish can help get your family to eat whole grains and veggies without knowing it. Enjoy  :)

2 cups all natural chicken broth (read label, some contain MSG)
1 cup rice
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch cubes
Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
1 onion chopped, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 whole red bellpepper, finely chopped
2 chopped portabella mushrooms- 1 inch cubes
2 tsp basil, 2 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp garlic
2 cups spinach, chopped finely
1 tomato diced into small pieces
1 cup cheese ( I used half munster and half parmesan)
2 eggs lightly beaten
Extra cheese for topping *optional

Preaheat oven to 325.
 Heat broth, add rice and 1 tsp salt. Bring to boil. (optional- add 1 tbsp butter). Reduce heat and simmer covered until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Approx 20-25 minutes.
While rice is cooking, Saute diced chicken in large skillet on medium high heat in oil, season with half of basil and oregano, salt, pepper and 1 tsp garlic. Remove chicken and set aside in a large bowl.
Add a little more oil and saute onion, bell pepper and celery until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and 1 tsp garlic, cook until just tender. Add the rest of basil and oregano. Add mixture and cooked rice to bowl with chicken.
Mix tomato, cheese, eggs and spinach in a separate bowl. Add this to chicken, vegetables and rice mixture. Now, you should have all ingredients blended in one bowl.
Pour mixture evenly in a greased 9 by 13 baking dish. Bake in oven for 35 - 40 minutes until cooked and lightly golden bown. You can add cheese and put the entire dish back in oven at 450 degrees for about 5-10 minutes to brown if you are ready to eat now.
If you have more time and are not eating tonight, remove and let cool completely (about 1 hour).  This will allow the casserole to set. Once cool, slice into pieces, top each piece with cheese and put slices in oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes when ready to eat. The slices will be more composed, not falling apart and the top will be nice and browned.

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