Everyone loves a good casserole. A casserole is a baked dish where a myriad of ingredients are chucked into a dish and baked with cheese and a crispy topping. It is a crowd and family-pleasing meal and you likely have most of the ingredients in your pantry as we speak. Or as I type. You know what I mean.
So many aspects of this casserole are interchangeable. One thing I will not budge on, however, are the addition of crispy fried onion strings from the pantry. I guarantee you have some floating around from last Thanksgiving’s green bean casserole (which is one of my favorites!). Add them to all your casseroles, not just the green bean one. You can thank me later!
Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Casserole
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets and blanched
- 1 cup white rice, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups Colby cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup crispy fried onion strings, divided (I like the ones from Trader Joe's)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
- Begin by removing your chicken from the packaging. Using paper towels, pat your chicken dry to ensure nice browning. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a large saute pan, add your olive oil and bring to medium heat. Allow the pan to warm up for 1 minute. Add chicken to the pan and cook about 5 minutes per side. After flipping once and cooking for 10 minutes, add a lid to the pan, set the heat to low, and move on to the rice.
- Rinse your rice in a large bowl. I like to rinse in at least 2 changes of water, submerging the rice completely in cold water. This will help the rice be less gummy at the end. Strain the rice as best you can.
- In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, add your rice, chicken stock, and butter to the cold pan. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the liquid boils rapidly, add the lid and reduce the heat on the lowest setting. Allow rice to cook while you cut your broccoli.
- Wash and dry your fresh broccoli. Cut off stems and slice into 3/4-inch florets. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add broccoli to boiling water and cook 2 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Now we can assemble to entire casserole. Remove your chicken from the pan and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place back into the saute pan with the rest of the chicken juices from cooking. This is flavorful and we want to use it! Add your broccoli, your cooked rice, the Colby cheese and half of the crispy fried onions. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning at this stage and add additional salt, garlic salt, or pepper as needed.
- Meanwhile, prepare an 8x8 baking dish by buttering the bottom. Add your casserole mixture and flatten the top with a wooden spoon. Top the casserole with the rest of your crispy fried onions and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 20-25 minutes until the top gets golden and the casserole is bubbly.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!