Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole


Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole is total comfort food but made without canned cream of chicken soup and butter!


Poor IBE has not been feeling so hot the past couple of days (his annual cold has arrived with a vengeance – dislike!) and coupled with the fact that he’s been a very good sport about crazy dinners lately (see here, here and here,) I decided to make a warm, comforting, man-meal for dinner to make him feel alllll better.


A comfy-cozy, feeds-a-crowd-and-then-some, Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole!


Without a can of gloopy “cream of XYZ” OR butter, to boot! You didn’t think it could be done, did you?

It can, and I’ll show you how. First cook fluffy brown rice in savory chicken broth then, when the rice has ~7 minutes left to cook, add fresh broccoli and green onions on top to steam.

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Next door, sauté chicken breast seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder then, after a quick wipe with a paper towel, use the same skillet to make your own creamy, cheesy casserole sauce!


It’s a cinch to make – I promise. All you do is cook flour and a bit of skim milk in a skillet, then gradually whisk in more milk until the sauce is thick and bubbly.

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Stir in cheddar cheese, sour cream and seasonings,


then combine all the goodies together and pour into a casserole dish.

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Top with some more cheese (this thing had to cure the common cold, remember) then pop under the broiler until golden brown.




Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole

Serves 6-8


Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole is total comfort food but made without canned cream of chicken soup and butter!


  • 2 cups (uncooked) medium grain brown rice (could use white rice)
  • Chicken broth
  • 3 cups broccoli
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks & seasoned with salt, pepper & garlic powder
  • Non-stick spray
  • 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 12oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Cook rice according to package directions, substituting water for chicken broth. When rice has 5-7 minutes left until fully cooked, add broccoli and green onions into the pot to steam.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet sprayed with non-stick spray over medium-high heat and cook seasoned chicken until done. Remove to a plate and carefully wipe out the inside of the skillet with a paper towel.
  3. Turn heat down to medium then whisk together flour and 1/2 cup milk in the skillet. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups milk while whisking constantly, until mixture is boiling. Turn off heat and add 8oz shredded cheese and sour cream. Stir until smooth. Season sauce with garlic powder, salt and pepper then mix.
  4. Combine cooked rice/broccoli/green onion mixture, chicken and cheese sauce, then stir to combine. Pour mixture into a non-stick sprayed 9x13 casserole dish and top with remaining 4oz of cheese. Broil until cheese is golden brown. Let casserole cool for 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


I’ll admit – I made a little mouse hole in the casserole dish while waiting for the corn I served with it to heat up in the microwave. It was so good!


Thick and hearty, but somehow light too. Remember, I used brown rice and there’s no extra fat in the sauce besides the cheese. Zip, zilch, nada, people! Somehow that mouse hole turned into a mouse pit as Ben and I found ourselves nose-to-nose, hunched over the casserole dish after dinner. We couldn’t keep our forks out of there!


I feel like Ben’s feeling a lot better now, and I bet it’s because of warm cheese and rice. Yeah, I’m sure of it. Long live the casserole!

(And breaking my bad dinner streak!)

Have a great night!


Did you rock any questionable clothing/hair trends in your younger years?

I TOTALLY rocked permed hair and ultra-curly bangs with the stretchy-pant/puff-paint sweatshirt nightmare that was my closet in the mid-90s. I can’t believe I’m about to show you this but – NERD ALERT – here’s IGE circa fifth grade. AHHH – the horror!

krissi at invention convention

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  1. Lauren 01.26.2011

    Haha that is the BEST episode of SBTB ever!!! OMG, you are too cute! LoL, I used to rock the permed hair, leggins, and saddle shoes. Oh yeah!

  2. Ooh, that bet that casserole would also be good with tofu and other veggies! So jealous you got to see that Saved by the Bell episode – such a classic.

  3. Ha – SO cute! Oh, and the casserole looks delish! I loooove broccoli cheddar rice.

  4. Pretty sure I rocked the same haircut, and glasses. :)

  5. Kayla 01.26.2011

    I love that you got rid of the cream of xyz in the recipe. Very cool :P
    And that may be my favorite episode of that show ever! lol
    I had big curly hair when I was younger and apparently went through a high-side pony phase with a big ole scrunchie. And I apparently LOVED polka dots for a while. Such an attractive look!

  6. Cassie 01.26.2011

    Was that an Invent, Iowa! board I spy?! I had an outfit similar to that…and the big bangs!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.26.2011

      Toootally! Invention Convention, baby!

      • Cassie 01.27.2011

        That’s hilarious! I made 2 spectaular inventions that went all the way to state! lol

  7. THat is so creepy- you look like ME in 4th grade or so… crazy!!!!!!!

  8. I definitely sported the bangs, permed hair, and whenever I wore my hair pulled back, I always had a HUGE bow in. The bow had to be large enough to be seen over the top of my head without me tilting down in anyway. Oh yes. I was a hottie.

  9. Liz 01.26.2011

    My husband thanks you for the casserole recipe! He begs me to make casserole’s, but I won’t because of the cream of whatever soup. They gross me out! I’ll definitely be giving this a try!

  10. Although I wore a lot of body suits and stirrup pants as a kid, I think the most questionable outfit is something I spotted myself wearing in an old home video: acid washed jean shorts and a “Cowabunga, Dude!” t-shirt. I thought that outfit was awesome at the time, but oh how times have changed.

    • heather 01.26.2011

      stirrup pants! early nineties royalty! <3

  11. Huge SBTB fan! I actually did a post on it a few weeks ago because I found some old memorabilia in my house! LOL. I hope that IBE is feeling better. I’ve been under the weather myself. No fun. :(

  12. Wow!!! You healthified one of the most “unhealthy” dishes!! Great job. I totally rocked the big bangs when I was younger. Ugh, never again! :)

  13. I think most of us were nerds in 5th grade. I know I wore the big glasses, curled my bangs, wore over-sized sweatshirts, and weren’t Girbaud pants a huge trend during this time?!? (At least where I grew up!)

  14. Oh, that casserole sounds awesome!

    I totally rocked the big bangs and stirrup pants. The pictures are so funny to look back on!

  15. I used to love those Bass beige lace-up shoes. I think I wore them for four years even though everyone else just wore tennis shoes with their school uniform. I kept buying replacement pairs! Is that you with an invention you created? I totally remember doing that too!

  16. Lori 01.26.2011

    Oh man, the SBTB flashbacks…awesome!
    One of my favorite dishes my mom used to make was cheesy broccoli rice. I will have to make this soon in honor of this flashback post.

  17. love the meal and your fifth grade self.

    I definitely rocked the leggings and t-shirt look. Weird that that looks has kind of come back!

  18. UUGGGGGHHH Adam has a man-cold right now and its THE PITS!!!
    I rocked the gelled bangs and bodysuits with hammer pants :)

  19. Lesley 01.26.2011

    Okay, I’m cracking up at the photo, but I’m laughing with you not at you, I swear! I’m guilty of many style offenses, the worst being MC Hammer pants (oh yeah), and frequently wearing outfits where every single item was of a different color. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I had a pair of tie-dyed leggings.

    God, chicken, broccoli, and cheddar combo is like the holy grail or something. I can’t believe I’ve never tried it as a casserole. My favorite is as pizza toppings.

  20. Erica 01.26.2011

    the cold has hit me too and nothing has sounded better than a plate of something warm and comforting after work this week… this will be tomorrow night’s dinner!

    Jessie Spano.. I am singing the song to that music video in my head right now: come on and break a sweat, rock n’ roll, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  21. I’m on Day 4 of the flu and that looks delicious! Do you deliver!? :) Hope IBE feels better!

  22. jad18 01.26.2011

    You have kelly kapowski hair! I rocked a perm, scrunched bangs and big glasses back in the day. I also remember keds with baggy socks that we alternated to coordinate with our outfits. Good times!

  23. Stefanie 01.26.2011

    That has to be one of my favorite Saved By the Bell episodes ever!! My parents had the opportuinty to meet the Dennis Haskins ( Mr. Belding) last summer. I was SO jealous. And I totally rocked the puffy paint sweatshirts and the permed hairspayed bangs. And bracelets, LOTS of them!

  24. You have no idea how amazing that looks right now! I’m dying to make a chicken-less version. That sauce looks so perfect, love that the cheese is the only fat!

  25. Jess 01.26.2011

    That is my ALL TIME fave episode of Saved by the Bell!!! I love it!
    The video is cracking me up…thanks for the good laugh!

  26. Katy @ RecipeCan 01.26.2011

    mmm dinner looks amazing!

  27. Side pony tails for me!

  28. JennyV 01.26.2011

    NOTHING questionable about those poofy bangs of yours! My sister and I had our aunt PERM our bangs so they’d be wonderfully fluffy :)

  29. Brie 01.26.2011

    I can appreciate the cumulus cloud bangs, but only because I carried that burden as a child too. Please tell me that your parents took pictures of you and your siblings to commemorate these hair-don’ts and had them put onto a t-shirt? No…? Oh yeah, mine neither ;)

    PS – now that I have control over my own hairstyle, said t-shirt is actually pretty awesome.

  30. That is my FAVORITE episode. Jessie’s “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m, so, scaarreed,” line is CLASSIC. Wish I would’ve seen it this morning too. That’s what I get for not having cable : (

  31. erica 01.26.2011

    omg i have to make that casserole!

    you know what makes the episode even better? being reminded that when we first saw it, we thought it was so cool (the video) and sooo dramatic! (omg, sleeping pills addiction! oh no!)….or…was that just me? hahahahaha

  32. Erin 01.26.2011

    I never commented on this earlier in the week but whenever my mom caught me watching SBTB she’d say “You’re such a smart girl, how can you watch such a stupid show?!?!” That is indeed my favorite episode, my favorite moment is when Jessie’s desperately singing “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m. . . so. . . scared” and breaks down in tears and Zach comforts her. Yes, I too was an addict (not to drugs but to the show in case you were confused by that statement)!!

  33. Anna @ ciaotochow 01.27.2011

    I love that you share my affinity for SBTB — I may have brought one of the discs from my season 3&4 with me halfway across the world…a lot of the episodes on there are from when they’re at that beach resort. Classic! But the high school years are definitely the best — none of that middle school/Ms. Bliss stuff or college years. High school, please! :)

  34. Dawn Patricia 01.27.2011

    I never got into Saved By the Bell. I think that it was on on Saturday mornings and usually by that time my mom had us out of the house doing errands and stuff. Strangely enough, I’ve met the guy who played Zach years after the fact and it was kind of…humbling (?) to see he looked like an average joe just like the rest of us. Goodness I found a photo of myself from seventh grade. I have huge Hammer-style pants on, a BUM Equipment shirt (omg, how did we ever go out with that written on our shirts???). My bangs are sprayed to the sky, and I’m wearing huge dangling gold earrings. Hilarious!

  35. Marina 01.27.2011

    That’s a really great meal for a cold! Or anything actually :) Gotta make this for my man :)

  36. jen 01.27.2011

    Best. Episode. Ever.

    I would challenge that no one has seen big hair til they’ve seen mine in the 80’s. Seriously. Naturally curly with no purpose or product=CRAZY HAIR. haha.

    I also rocked acid washed jeans, skinny jeans with the zippers at the ankles, neon everything….I used to cry cause I couldn’t “peg” my jeans the way I wanted. Oh, the drama.

  37. Hope 01.27.2011

    That dinner looks incredible! I loved that episode and the song that Hot Sundae sings!!!! I love Saved by the Bell!!

  38. Stephanie 01.27.2011

    True Story: 4th Grade I came home and told my mom….*I want a perm, braces and PURPLE glasses* She says…*no you don’t sweetie, you would look silly with all three* Guess who got a perm, needed braces and picked out purple glasses within a few short months of that convo? Yep. I was awesome.

    I’m saving this recipe for days when my kiddos want something delish!

  39. Gillian 01.27.2011

    I’m dying over that video! I was queen of tucking oversized t-shirts into my jeans trying to mimic my brothers!!

  40. Sara 01.27.2011

    Mmmm, cheesy cassarole! That is my absolute favorite episode of Saved by the Bell!! In addition to the leotards, I love they are obviously lip syncing. :) As for trends, in elementary school I had the puffy bangs and I occassionally wore MC Hammer pants.

  41. Allison 01.27.2011

    This recipe looks amazing! I am a vegetarian, so I’ll have to sub out the chicken for something else, or just leave it as a cheesy rice and broccoli casserole!

  42. What a great dish – and you could easily make half with tofu or beans to please different types of eaters!

    When I was younger my mom convinced me my hair needed to be cut right below my ears because that’s where my “natural curl” was. Mom’s usually know best, but not this time. nooo way…

  43. That is definitely the best episode of SBTB. I love when Zach shakes Jessie! Ahaha!

  44. They were talking about SBTB on the radio this morning and I thought of you! Totally setting my Tivo for it when I get home tonight!

    I love that pic of you! Adorable!

    Let’s see, I frequently rocked black ballet flats with WHITE socks, leggings, and big T-shirts covered in puff paint. (Glow in the dark and neon colors, of course!) My hair is stick-straight and I could never do anything with it, but I used to curl and poof just my bangs…or cut them really short myself and blame it on Fantastic Sams. (Sorry, Sams! I did not blame you for the badly applied bright blue eyeshadow I insisted on wearing everywhere, which my mom reminds me of every time my 14-year-old overdoes it on the makeup.)

  45. Meredith 01.27.2011

    Scrunchies, huge bows on the top of my head, and mini-backpacks that matched my outfit AND my scrunchies…mortifying!!

    that casserole looks delicious-like chicken divan, but with a twist because of the rice!

  46. Caitlin 01.27.2011

    Um… wait a stitch, was your AWK pic taken at the Invent Iowa Invention Convention?? You are a total nerd!! As am I, by the way… I took my Dry Rider wheelchair umbrella holder all the way to state. I rocked my lucky sweater vest and a scrunchie in my Invent Iowa pictures. Rock on, fellow nerd! Also, my fiancee and I call these kinds of dishes MANsseroles and our family favorite is taco pie including such ingredients as crushed Fritos and crescent roll crust…ours has a biiit more fat:) Thanks for the healthy mansserole idea!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.27.2011

      HELLS yes it was! My “Medicine Minder” almost got me the gold, baby!

  47. that dinner looks so good!!!

  48. Mimi 01.27.2011

    Ok, childhood pictures are always cute/fun to look at. But, let me say, I am glad that style has changed a little since that time!

    What was the context for the “Saved by the Bell” video?

  49. ooh i’ve seriously been craving chicken and rice casserole! sans the cream of mushroom and whatnot. thank ya thank ya, and your childhood self is rockin. love it. ;)

  50. A.J. 01.27.2011

    I had bangs just like yours in elementary school.

    Be sure to add this recipe to your recipe index so that I can find it later! I definitely want to try this one.

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