Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole Recipe
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With beef prices jumping like crazy, we have been looking at protein options like pork, chicken, and lentils a lot in addition to meals that are totally meatless like our Vegetarian Celery Soup with Feta Cheese. Chicken has been holding pretty steady at just under $2 a pound for boneless, skinless breasts and this Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole will feed eight people with just one pound of it.
Veggies and wild rice make up the bulk of this dish, both beyond healthy for your (don’t tell the family!) and I love how wild rice is so incredibly filling! It is one of my favorite grains to work with, right up there with quinoa. It helps keep the cost of this meal down, bellies full, and tastebuds tempted.
Now before someone tells you that wild rice is basically just grass seed – Wild rice is a special type of grain that’s chewy and tasty. It’s higher in protein than regular rice and contains several important nutrients and an impressive amount of antioxidants. What’s more, eating wild rice regularly may improve heart health and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
One great tip I can share with you – as I simply hate dicing up raw chicken breast, is the fact that most meat counters at your grocery store will cut it for you for FREE. If their chicken comes to their store frozen, and they thaw it for the meat cases? It is likely the victim of saline injection. That helps “preserve” it but when the chicken thaws? It is usually that protein laced liquid we all pour off when we open the meat tray packages at home. By taking it to the meat counter and asking them to cut it into one or two-inch cubes for you? They repack it, weigh it again, and add a sticker for the pricing. Two things to watch for here:
- When they sticker it, make sure it is the meat SHELF price, not the meat CASE price. That $1.89 a pound might accidentally turn into $3.99 a pound if they key it in at the same price as their fresh chicken in their display case.
- It should weigh a little LESS than it did before because they are pouring off that liquid as they dice it and repack it for you. Don’t look for a $3-5 savings here, but a buck or so for a five-pound package is pretty common. That is a half a pound of LIQUID, not meat. That you would have paid for!!
That all being said, this recipe has a pretty short prep time – figure about 20 minutes if you have to cut the chicken yourself, or 10-15 if you have the meat clerk do it for you. The Chicken and Wild rice casserole does slow cook in the oven for almost two hours though, and it is so incredibly worth it when you taste the final product!
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole Recipe
You will need:
- 1 medium white onion (chopped)
- 5 carrots (chopped)
- 5 large celery (chopped)
- 1 C wild rice
- 3 C chicken broth
- 1 lb. boneless/ skinless raw chicken tenders (cut into small pieces)
- 4 TBSP unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 4 TBSP flour
- 2 C whole milk
- Non-stick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep the baking dish with a quick spritz of the cooking spray. Add the vegetables, rice, and broth in the prepped baking dish.
Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hr +15 minutes. Check on the rice and when it is almost done add the melted butter into a small saucepan. Heat on medium while adding the flour, salt, and poultry seasoning Stir to mix. Cook for one minute. Then begin to slowly add the milk while whisking. This will form a thick and creamy sauce. Remove the rice in the baking dish from the oven once it is done. Carefully remove the foil from the baking dish.
Add the chicken and the sauce, stirring to combine all ingredients. Return to the oven. Increase the heat to 450 degrees baking for 30-20 minutes. (Or until the chicken is no longer pink). Top with salt, pepper, and parsley.