This Fresh Broccoli Rice Casserole with Chicken is cheesy, hearty and has a ton of flavor and crunch from the buttery cracker topping!
This post is sponsored by Back to Nature.
Casseroles might just be the best comfort food on the planet. They bring back fond memories from my childhood and my girls will eat just about anything if I call it a casserole! This Fresh Broccoli Rice Casserole is so cheesy and comforting which makes it one of our favorites.
I roast my broccoli first for about 5 minutes or so, just until it starts to lose its crunch. This helps boost the flavor more than simmering it, too. Any little trick to add flavor to a dish is worth it!
You can use breadcrumbs for the topping but I’ve always preferred the crunch of crackers. Hand-crushing them (instead of a food processor or blender) makes bigger “crumbs” which my family prefers. Especially when I use Back to Nature‘s Roasted Garlic & Herb Stoneground Wheat Crackers. Talk about flavor! These things are so good and perfect for topping this Fresh Broccoli Rice Casserole.
Back to Nature products include cookies, crackers, nuts and trail mixes, granola, juices, soups, and cereals that are delicious and affordable. Their Almond Chocolate Chip cookies are made with quinoa and my girls LOVE them. I love being able to add a dessert to their lunches that I feel good about.
I also love that more than 70 Back to Nature products have obtained Non-GMO Product Verification since the brand began the process in January 2015! Approximately 300 ingredients were carefully sourced and tested to ensure that all non-GMO Back to Nature products, which now carry the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal on their packaging, deliver on the brand’s promise to provide great-tasting foods. The fact that they’re so good means they’re on my pantry shelves right now!
Which is exactly why I use their crackers in this Fresh Broccoli Rice Casserole. The flavor it adds is out of this world! You can use your favorite crackers, of course, but I highly suggest giving these a try! Their mission is to provide everyday foods that are simply delicious and simply good and I have to agree that they’ve accomplished it. I’m even considering using their cookies as the base for a chocolate pie! If I don’t eat them all first, that is :)
- 1 T plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 heads broccoli, about 4-5 cups
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 t salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I usually use a rotisserie)
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 6- ounce package Back to Nature Roasted Garlic & Herb Stoneground Wheat Crackers, crushed into crumbs
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Place broccoli on sheet pan and drizzle with 1 T oil. Roast for about five minutes (you don't want it fully cooked, just starting to lose its crunch).
- Meanwhile, sauté onions with remaining oil in a large preheated skillet over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, cook one more minute. Sprinkle flour over onions and cook approximately 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer then continue to stir occasionally until it starts to thicken. Add mustard, cheddar and cream cheese, stirring until smooth. Add salt and pepper, then taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Stir broccoli, chicken and rice into cheese mixture, then pour into a 13x9 baking dish (I like to use a dish that can go right from stovetop to oven).
- Mix butter and cracker crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole to cover. Bake for 20 minutes or until casserole is hot and bubbly and cracker topping is lightly browned.