Jennifer has worked in the restaurant industry for over 10 years. At home, she enjoys cooking up tasty meals and treats.
Casseroles are always great for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. When you're in a rush to get dinner on the table, just toss all of your ingredients in one dish and bake.
This chicken, broccoli, and rice cheesy casserole is topped with a wonderfully crispy, buttery breadcrumb crust. And it's so cheesy! This recipe is perfect for using up any leftover chicken, turkey, or rice that you have on hand. And it's freezer friendly.
This casserole also makes a great one-pot dish to bring to a potluck or dinner party. No one can resist a cheesy casserole dish. You could also make it as a side dish, or leave out the chicken to make it vegetarian.
How to Freeze and Reheat Casserole
One of the best things about a casserole is that you can make it ahead of time and freeze it. When you are ready to heat it all you have to do is take it out of the freezer and pop it in the oven.
A good tip is to use a glass baking dish with a snug-fitting lid. That way you can prepare, freeze, and reheat all in the same dish. I love my Pyrex bakeware set with lids and use them all the time to bake, store, freeze, and reheat meals. If you don't want to invest in a bakeware set or if you want to make a few casseroles ahead of time to freeze, you can also use foil baking pans. These are fairly inexpensive and work perfectly if you want to give some away.
First, prepare and bake your casserole as you normally would but take it out of the oven just before it starts to brown. This will allow you to reheat your casserole without overcooking it. Make sure to leave very little room inside the baking dish to avoid freezer damage. Fill the baking dish with casserole close to the top but leave a little room because it will expand slightly as it freezes. Allow the casserole to cool fully before you freeze it.
The best way to reheat casserole from frozen is to take it out of the freezer the day before and let it thaw in the refrigerator. Then bake it uncovered at 350°F until heated through and the topping starts to brown.
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If you don't have time to take it out and thaw it ahead of time, you can reheat it from frozen, but you will have to cook it at a lower temperature for longer. Reheat the casserole covered from frozen at 325°F. Keep it covered until it's fully heated through, and then remove the cover for the last 10 to 15 minutes, or until your topping is slightly browned and crispy.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups broccoli, fresh or frozen
- 2 cups rice, cooked
- 1 can cream of broccoli and cheddar soup
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, unseasoned
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Pinch salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine the chicken, broccoli, and cooked rice in your casserole dish. If you are using fresh broccoli, you will need to quickly blanch it in boiling water (until it's partially cooked) before adding to the dish. If you are using frozen broccoli, no need to pre-cook it. Just add it to the casserole dish.
- In a bowl, mix the cream of broccoli soup with the milk. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish.
- Add the shredded cheddar cheese and mix all of the ingredients together.
- Melt the butter and mix it with the bread crumbs in a small bowl until well blended.
- Evenly cover the top of the casserole with the bread crumb mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake the casserole uncovered, on the center rack for about 30 minutes or until your casserole is heated through and the breadcrumb topping is slightly browned and crispy.
This casserole recipe is very versatile. You can add your favorite ingredients to customize it to your taste.
- If you love onions, then mix in some chopped onions. If you have a little extra time, you could saute the onions first to give them that sweet, caramelized flavor.
- If you're a bacon lover (who isn't?), you could sprinkle some cooked bacon pieces on top.
- Another variation idea is to use crushed cheese-flavored Ritz crackers on top instead of the breadcrumbs. Or you could top it with French's crispy fried onions.
The possibilities are endless.
Another Easy Chicken Casserole Recipe
Looking for more easy chicken casserole recipes? Try my chicken macaroni and cheese casserole.