Sunday, January 12, 2014

Chicken Rice Casserole

I know this was supposed to be posted on Wednesday or Thursday of last week. Honestly, I snapped the picture, sat down to eat, and then totally forgot to post! Last week ended up being such a crazy week, I was one of the last teachers to leave the building Friday night. Friday + crazy kids at school + never ending stack of paperwork = one tired Mrs. Nickel. The good news, I was still able to squeeze exercise in and maintain my healthy eats to stay on track with the Weight Watchers. I'm down another pound from over the holidays:). I cannot state enough how important it is to have meals like this on hand that I can throw together over the weekend so they are ready to go throughout the week. I think this has really helped.

What can I not say about this simple casserole? This gem of a recipe comes together so nicely without any cream-of-something soup. I almost bought a gluten-free condensed soup, but refuse to pay $3.50 when I can simply recreate a healthier and much cheaper version myself. The trick is to cook the rice in chicken stock or broth to get the super chicken flavor. To get the creamy factor I used fat-free sour cream. This meal totals out to be 8 points per HUGE serving. Perfect for a chilly weeknight meal!

Chicken Rice Casserole
Makes 6 servings, 8 WW points

1 cup brown rice
1 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
Nonstick cooking spray
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups light or fat-free sour cream
1 cup shredded 2% cheddar cheese

In a medium stock pot, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add the rice. Lower heat and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes, turn and cook for 5 minutes more or until browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set on a plate. In the same skillet, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the rice, chicken, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and sour cream. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Spray a 8-inch by 12-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place the rice mixture into the dish. Spread to evenly distribute the rice. Sprinkle the cheese over the rice. At this point you can cover the dish and store in the refrigerator until you ready to bake and serve. When you are ready to bake, let the dish set out at room temperature for 10 minutes while you oven preheats at 375 degrees. Place in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese becomes bubbly in the middle and begins to brown around the edges.

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