My kids love chicken and rice – so I am always looking for new and interesting versions that they will actually eat. It is a game, one that I have definitely not mastered. It wouldn’t be a contest if I just made grilled chicken and served it with basmati rice, that would be too easy. The first time I made a chicken and rice casserole, the girls both looked at it and asked, “Where is the chicken and rice?” Needless to say, that casserole did not go over well.
We have come a long way since then – at least now they will try the casserole before turning their noses away – and every once in a while they actually like it. I saw this recipe in Cooking Light – and even though there was zucchini in it, I thought there might be a chance. I actually got one thumbs up for this one, which is better than none. I loved it, and my husband had multiple helpings. For a one dish meal, it was super simple, yet delicious. Next time I will add some roasted red pepper – not only for color, but I think it would complement the rest of the flavors beautifully. I will wait another year for that one though…by then the little one won’t remember she didn’t like it the first time.
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 (8-ounce) bone-in chicken breast half, skinned
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 (8-ounce) zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 (8-ounce) yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add chicken, meaty side down, to pan. Cook 6 minutes or until browned; turn chicken over. Add broth to pan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan, reserving broth in pan. Let chicken stand 10 minutes. Remove chicken from bones; shred. Discard bones. Place chicken in a large bowl.
Bring broth to a boil; cook, uncovered, until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Add broth mixture to chicken. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add squash to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add squash mixture, rice, and minced rosemary to the chicken mixture, and toss gently to combine.
Place flour in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; let stand 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup cheese; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, milk mixture, and salt to chicken mixture; stir to combine. Spoon chicken mixture into a broiler-safe 8-inch ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over rice mixture; bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove casserole from oven.
Preheat broiler. Broil casserole 5 minutes or until golden.
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