Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

  It’s time for another “all over Pinterest, so I guess I have to try it” recipe!
  This one makes me giggle…I keep seeing it posted as “no cream soup!  No mayo!” as if that somehow makes it low fat.  Sorry ladies, but I’m pretty sure that ship sailed with the 4 cups of cheese.  But hey, I’ve already told you guys that I’m pro-fats, so lets start cooking.
  Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 c steamed white rice*
16 oz prepared wild rice*
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
Cheese Sauce

4 Tbsp butter
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 c chicken broth
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese to top
*I couldn’t find prepared wild rice, so I subbed in a box of this and a bag similar to this (but with no veggies) and left out the white rice.
  Before you can begin this recipe, you need to have prepared chicken and rice.  I fully intended to buy the rice prepared and get a rotisserie chicken.  As I said, my grocery didn’t have the rice and the thing is, this was my first time back to the grocery store since R was born and so, rather than attempting to wrangle two right off the bat, we went immediately after we dropped G off at school.  Turns out, they don’t have rotisserie chickens prepared for people to buy at 8:30 in the morning.  Clearly they think that if you’re thinking about dinner that far in advance, you have time to cook your own chicken.  Judgey bastards.
  Once your rice and chicken are prepared, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  On your stove top, heat your oil over medium heat in a large skillet and saute your onion, celery and carrot for around ten minutes, or until they are soft.  Add in your garlic and cook for another minute.  Stir in the remaining ingredients above the line in the ingredient list and reduce the heat to low.
  Heat a separate pan over medium heat for your cheese sauce.  Start by melting your butter and then whisking in your flour, salt and pepper before adding your chicken broth (stirring continuously).  Whisk until thick and nearly boiling before adding your 2 cups of cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted and then pour into your chicken mixture.  Mix until combined and transfer to a baking dish.  We put ours into loaf pans and froze half the recipe.  Top with your remaining cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted through.
  This is such fabulous comfort food.  The flavor reminds me a bit of Rice-a-Roni…except, you know, not horribly processed box-food.  For possibly the first time ever, we may have actually used less cheese than recommended.  There seems to be some debate over how many oz of shredded cheese make a cup.  8 liquid oz are in a cup, so I bought two, 16 oz blocks of cheddar to make this, but only one got put in.  If we were skimping, it wasn’t a problem.
  I love wild rice, so I’m going to keep my eyes open (especially next time I actually make it to a Trader Joe’s) for the prepared wild rice the original recipe talks about so that I can use the right amount next time, but I don’t see any reason that I’d ever bother with the white rice.  The long grain and the brown rices were absolutely fabulous, and especially after all the information I found during the whole gestational diabetes debacle, I’d rather go with more “whole” rices anyhow.
  Everybody here was into this, even the food-striking 3-year old.  It’s definitely going to be made again!

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