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Creamy Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez
Active time 35 mins
Total time 1 hr, 10 mins
Yield

Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

Wild rice is wonderfully fragrant; it’s the perfect counter to the creamy, earthy mushroom mixture and has enough texture that the grains won’t bloat or fall apart in the casserole. Simmer 11/2 cups rice in 6 cups water for 45 minutes and drain. You can also use 1 (13-ounce) package frozen cooked wild rice, such as Engine 2, which is sold at Whole Foods. Cook the mushroom mixture on the stove while the chicken finishes in the oven (use the same casserole dishes to avoid extra clean up). Serve with simply sautéed green beans or a mixed greens salad.  

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 (8-oz.) pkg. presliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 ounce 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups hot cooked wild rice
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Nutrition Information

  • calories 335
  • fat 10.9 g
  • satfat 3.5 g
  • monofat 4.6 g
  • polyfat 1.7 g
  • protein 29 g
  • carbohydrate 32 g
  • fiber 4 g
  • cholesterol 62 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 633 mg
  • calcium 240 mg
  • sugars 2 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 0 g

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side. Divide chicken between 2 square (8-inch) baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until done. Cool and chop.
  3. Return skillet to medium-high. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a bowl. Add leeks and next 4 ingredients (through mushrooms) to pan; cook 13 minutes or until browned and tender. Stir in flour mixture, remaining 4 1/2 cups milk, and parsley; cook 3 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until smooth; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Combine chicken, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mushroom mixture, rice, and green onions in a bowl. Coat baking dishes with cooking spray. Divide chicken mixture between dishes; top with almonds. Follow freezing directions, or bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly. How-To FREEZE: Cool mixture completely. Cover with heavy-duty foil or airtight lids. Freeze up to 2 months. THAW: Uncover and microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 15 minutes or until thawed. REHEAT: Cover and bake at 450 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.