I’m sure many of you know and love a good old chicken broccoli rice casserole which is delicious but not so light. I created a skinny version of America’s favourite comfort food by cutting down cheese, using brown rice, lean chicken breasts, upped the broccoli and added kale. The result was a delicious casserole without extra calories. My boys ate it twice this week and nobody complained.
You don’t need canned soup or a pound of cheese to make this chicken broccoli rice casserole saucy and comforting. Adding just a tsp of thyme and the right amount of seasoning makes a delicious sauce. And as the casserole bakes in the oven the flavours “merry” each other yielding a healthy meal full of vegetables and flavour.
I used regular brown basmati rice, not parboiled or instant. That’s why I pre-cooked it on the stovetop while browning the chicken and cutting up veggies. Very easy and fast. First time I experimented with this recipe was late Saturday afternoon and I was tired. Surprisingly, we had dinner ready in 50 minutes.
My kids love broccoli but they do not like kale. Understandable, right?! And I really loaded this healthy casserole with veggies which they didn’t mind at all. Kale got lost in the sauce. So, I guess it was delicious! You could also use spinach instead. And if your family is not a fan of broccoli I’m sure cauliflower would work great too!
And a word on cheese. I used only 1/2 cup of part skim mozzarella for the sauce and 2/3 cup of Colby Jack for topping. If you are training or are very strict with your macros at this time, skip the cheese topping or don’t sprinkle it on your portion. Will save you some calories.
This chicken broccoli rice casserole will be a regular in our house from now on. Enjoy!
- 1 cup basmati brown rice, rinsed & drained
- 2 cups cold water
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" size pieces
- 4 cups kale, coarsely chopped & packed
- 4 cups broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1 cup milk (I used 2% cow's milk, any plain milk of choice works)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp thyme, dried
- 1 tsp salt + a pinch
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1/2 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2/3 cup Colby Jack/Tex Mex cheese, shredded
- Cooking spray (I use Misto)
- In a large pot, add rice, water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 mins. Remove from heat and set aside. There will be some water left in the pot, do not drain. We need it to continue cooking rice in the oven.
- While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Also, preheat large skillet on high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add chicken and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a pot with rice, along with kale and broccoli.
- In a small bowl, whisk together milk, garlic powder, cornstarch, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour into a pot with rice, chicken and veggies. Also add 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and gently mix to combine. Transfer mixture to a 9" x 13" baking dish, level with spatula and sprinkle with 2/3 cup Colby Jack/Tex Mex cheese. Cover with foil tightly and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving = 1 + 2/3 cups:
Total Fat: 5.0 g
Cholesterol: 47.5 mg
Sodium: 492.3 mg
Total Carbs: 31.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
Protein: 29.3 g
WW Points+: 7