Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
This recipe is great to prepare ahead of time, so that you can bake in about 30 minutes for a quick dinner, on a busy weeknight. There is a bit of prep work for this dish, but it is well worth it. I use two different kinds of rice, but you could use just one variety of rice to make it easier. Also. I generally buy a rotisserie chicken and shred for convenience, versus cooking my own chicken. I am all about making things simpler! I am able to stretch two meals out of this dish, if I serve it with a salad and dessert.
Ingredients you will need:
2- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups wild rice, cooked according to package directons
2 cups jasmine, or brown rice, cooked according to package directions
1 teaspoon of sea salt
black pepper to taste, or 1-2 drops black pepper vitality essential oil
For the cheese sauce:
4 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup flour, I use gluten free
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese + an additional 1/12 to 2 cups for the top
1 drop celery seed vitality essential oil
1 drop black pepper vitality essential oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, and celery for approximately 10- 12 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic and stir continuously for 1 minute. Remove veggies from the skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the butter for the cheese sauce. Once the butter is melted whisk in the flour. Whisk until fully incorporated approximately 3 minutes. Add the salt, and chicken stock, whisking continuously, until thickened. Add in the 2 cups of cheddar cheese and essential oils. Stir until cheese is melted. Add chicken, veggies, and rice to cheese mixture and stir until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9x13 pan and top with remaining cheese. I generally use 2 cups because my family loves cheese!
Bake 25-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve with a salad and you have a delicious dinner.