There’s also some broccoli in there, too. All the food groups represent: cheese, carbs, leftover protein, and green stuff. If that doesn’t scream balance, then I do not know if there’s help for you.
With the coldest night since April on tap for us tonight – 44F, BRRRRR! – I wanted something warm and not-chili for dinner. I took the house – and Thanksgiving favorite – Cheesy Broccoli and Quinoa Casserole and grabbed a can of chipotles and that leftover shredded chicken in the fridge that needed to be eaten, like, yesterday.
It’s still all the things you love about the traditional broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole: one baking dish, cheesy, gooey, not-very-pretty comfort food. But this version, it gets a little added kick from stirring a few tablespoons of minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into the cheese sauce.
It’s a little spicy. It’s still super cheesy. And insanely comforting.
Cheesy Chipotle Chicken and Rice Casserole
The cheesy comfort food favorite gets a spicy kick from chipotle peppers.
- 1.5 cups uncooked white rice (or enough to yield 3 cups cooked, check your package instructions)
- 16 oz frozen chopped broccoli
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp minced chipotles in adobo sauce*
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups leftover shredded chicken
- *I put the entire can into a mini-chopper and mince and then save the leftovers in the fridge. Or freezer.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- In a medium sauce pan, cook the rice in water with a generous pinch of salt, according to package, directions and then set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Whisk in the flour, onion, garlic, 2-3 tablespoons of minced chipotles (if you're sensitive to heat, start with 2), a generous pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Let cook 1-2 minutes and then slowly add the milk, whisking until the sauce is smooth.
- Let the sauce simmer, reducing the heat if necessary, about 5 minutes until thickened and bubbling.
- Remove from heat, whisk in the cheddar a handful at a time until completely melted.
- Taste for spice/seasoning and add additional chipotles, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Add broccoli, rice, and chicken to the pot and mix well.
- Transfer mixture to a casserole dish and bake ~35 minutes, until the top is nicely browned.
Yields: 8-12 servings
Estimated time: 1 hour