Monday, January 13, 2014

Chicken and Rice Bake

I love casseroles!  They are easy to make, taste comforting, and always produce leftovers.  What better for a cold winter supper.  The best thing about this casserole is that it is healthy without tasting "healthy" and can be made in an infinite number of variations.

This will serve four generously.  I bake it in an oval casserole dish that is a bit smaller than 9 x 11", but I think if you did it in a 9x11, it would also work.  You might just have to add more cheese to cover the top, but oh well, there are worse things in life!

This may look a bit complicated, but it is really no difficult than making a lasagne: cook rice, sauté veggies and chicken, mix sauce, combine, bake, eat!  This is also a great dish for leftover rice or chicken.


1/2 cups brown rice or farro (I used farro, but I know it can be difficult to find - check an Italian or organic store…)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter
227 grams crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
4 kale stalks
3 cloves garlic
2 chicken breasts, cubed

1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 - 14 oz can of white beans (navy or cannelloni work), drained and rinsed

2 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp English or Dijon mustard
salt, pepper

1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated


*You will need: medium pot, large frying pan, large mixing bowl, small bowl, casserole dish.

1. Cook rice or farro in medium pot and let cool to room temperature.  (This is a great use for leftovers rice).

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. In a large frying pan, sauté mushrooms in oil until they start to brown.  Add salt, pepper, and leeks.  *It is very important that you season this dish with salt and pepper as you go.  If not, it will be bland.*  Sauté until leeks are wilted.

4. Add kale and garlic, season again with salt and pepper, and sauté for 2 more minutes.  Remove all ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

5. Add a bit more oil, if needed, and fry chicken cubes with salt and pepper until they are cooked through and liquid has evaporated. (If you have leftover chicken, this is a great place to use it).

6. Add rice, chicken, thyme, and beans to the mixing bowl with the vegetables.  Mixed together gently.

7. In a separate small bowl, mix together the eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, mustard, and a bit more salt and pepper.  Pour over the mixture in the large mixing bowl and combine.

8. Transfer all the ingredients to the casserole dish, which has been greased with a bit of oil or cooking spray.

9. Top with the grated cheese.

10. Bake for 40 minutes and then broil for 2 - 4 minutes until the cheese is brown. Enjoy!


1. You can really use any whole grain for this dish.  A combination of grains with different textures would work well also.

2. If you don't have leeks, use onion.  If you don't have kale, use spinach or chard or leave it out.  If you don't have yogurt, use sour cream.  If you don't have chicken use tuna or leave it out for a vegetarian dish!

Anything goes with this dish.  Try it with broccoli, cheese, and bacon instead of the veggies listed here, or make up your own combination.  Let me know what else you try...

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