Cheesy Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole

A somewhat long process for preparing dinner, but definitely worth it. My husband popped the chicken breasts in the crockpot for a few hours earlier in the day and steamed the white rice so that everything was ready to throw together at dinner time. It smelled great while in the oven, tasted great once it was out, and was filling but left you wanting more. You know, one of those addictive cheesy rice dishes! For our little family of 3 it gave us plenty of leftovers and this dish is great reheated. Enjoy!

Cheesy Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole
Source: Picky Palate

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 cups steamed white rice
16 oz already prepared wild rice  (we just used Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Cheese Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded + 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat oil into a medium dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Reduce heat to low.

To prepare cheese sauce, melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper, then slowly pour in chicken broth, whisking continuously. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling, then stir in cheese until melted.

Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with 1 1/2 cups additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.

Makes 8-10 servings

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