A healthy take on the classic Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. This dish is a perfect cozy and filling dinner your family will love.
Cozy and Healthy Made-Over Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
One of my favorite things about this Made-Over Chicken Wild Rice Casserole is that it’s packed with wholesome ingredients and bursting with flavor. I came up with this cozy dish while looking for a way to use some of my leftover chicken and veggies that were sitting in the fridge. While I love the classic chicken and wild-rice casserole, I love that this version is healthier without skimping on flavor. It quickly became a favorite, and I’ll bet it will quickly become one in your household too. Let’s dive into this simple and satisfying recipe!
What Makes This Made-Over Chicken Wild Rice Casserole Healthy?
Here are some elements that contribute to this being a healthier version of the classic dish:
1. Reduced butter: The recipe calls for just 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, which helps to reduce the overall saturated fat content compared to traditional recipes that use larger amounts.
2. Wholesome ingredients: The casserole includes nutritious ingredients such as onions, celery, mushrooms, and carrots, which provide vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
3. Low-sodium chicken stock: By using low-sodium chicken stock, the recipe helps to control the sodium content. High sodium intake can be a concern for some individuals, so using a lower-sodium option can be a healthier choice.
4. Lean protein: The recipe includes cooked cubed chicken, which is a lean source of protein. Lean proteins are important for muscle growth, repair, and overall health.
5. Whole grains: The use of long-grain and wild rice provides the dish with a hearty and nutritious base. Whole grains are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they can help promote better digestion and overall health.
6. Balanced flavors: Instead of relying on excessive amounts of salt, the recipe uses herbs and spices like Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper to enhance the flavor. This allows for a reduced sodium intake without sacrificing taste.
Overall, the Made-Over Chicken Wild Rice Casserole incorporates healthier ingredient choices, reduces the use of unhealthy fats, and maintains a balanced flavor profile to create a wholesome and nutritious dish.
There are several compelling reasons to make our Made-Over Chicken Wild Rice Casserole:
- If you’re striving to provide nutritious meals for your family, this recipe offers a healthier twist on a classic comfort food. By using wholesome ingredients, reducing saturated fat, and incorporating lean protein and whole grains, this dish allows you to enjoy the flavors you love while making a more health-conscious choice.
- This casserole is designed to be a crowd-pleaser, making it perfect for family dinners or gatherings. Its cozy and filling nature, combined with familiar and comforting flavors, makes it an excellent option to satisfy appetites and bring everyone together around the table.
- It’s easy to prepare: As a busy mom, you know the value of quick and straightforward recipes. The Made-Over Chicken Wild Rice Casserole fits the bill, offering a simple preparation process. With clear instructions and readily available ingredients, you can whip up this dish without spending excessive time in the kitchen.
- The recipe allows for flexibility and creativity. You can easily customize the casserole to suit your family’s preferences and dietary needs. For example, you can add additional vegetables, substitute the chicken with tofu for a vegetarian version, or experiment with different herbs and spices to create unique flavor profiles.
- You can make it ahead of time and enjoy leftovers. This casserole is a fantastic make-ahead option, allowing you to prepare it in advance and refrigerate or freeze for later use. It’s a convenient solution for busy weekdays when you can simply reheat and serve. Plus, leftovers can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner the following day, providing additional convenience and saving you time and effort.
Made-Over Chicken Wild Rice Casserole Meal Prep Ideas
1. Make a batch for the week: Prepare a larger portion of the casserole on a designated meal prep day. Divide it into individual meal-sized portions and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. This way, you’ll have ready-to-eat meals for several days. Simply reheat the desired portion in the microwave or oven when you’re ready to enjoy it.
2. Freeze individual servings: If you don’t plan on consuming all the casserole within a few days, portion it out and freeze individual servings. Place each serving in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag, label them with the date, and store them in the freezer. This allows you to have a stash of homemade frozen meals that can be easily thawed and heated up whenever you need a quick dinner or lunch option.
3. Prepare components in advance: To streamline the cooking process, you can prepare certain components of the casserole in advance. Cook and cube the chicken ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Similarly, cook your rice in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Having these components prepped and ready will significantly reduce the assembly time when you’re ready to make the casserole.
4. Prep ingredients for assembly: Another option is to prep the ingredients for assembly ahead of time. Finely chop the sweet onion, celery, mushrooms, and matchstick carrots and store them in separate containers in the refrigerator. This way, when it’s time to make the casserole, you can simply sauté the prepped vegetables and proceed with the recipe.
5. Customize individual servings: If you have family members with different dietary preferences or restrictions, consider customizing individual servings during meal prep. For example, you can make a vegetarian version by substituting tofu or extra vegetables for the chicken in certain portions. This allows you to cater to everyone’s needs while still enjoying the convenience of pre-prepared meals.
By incorporating these meal prep ideas, you can save time and effort during busy weekdays while ensuring that your family can enjoy the Made-Over Chicken Wild Rice Casserole whenever they crave a delicious and wholesome meal. Let’s make this dish!
Made-Over Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 medium sweet onion finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery finely chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/3 cup matchstick carrots chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock divided
- 1/2 cup 1% milk
- 2 cups cooked cubed chicken
- 2 cups cooked long-grain and wild rice
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat; add onion, celery, mushrooms and carrots and cook 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Sprinkle with flour, stir and cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in stock. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Return to heat and bring to a simmer.
- Mix veggies, chicken, rice, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper in large mixing bowl.
- Transfer mixture to 8×8-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until heated through.