My Swedish Grandma (we called her Marnie) raised 5 kids through the 50s and 60s, the age of frozen dinners, adding cans of food to other cans of food, and casseroles. During summer breaks, I’d spend weeks at time with my grandparents and other cousins at their home on Whidbey Island that is right on the water of Holmes Harbor. My cousins and I would play all day at the beach or they’d take us to the country club to golf, swim, or play Bingo. Since there were at least 3 grandkids there at time, she’d dust off the casserole dishes and prepare to feed a crowd. Chicken Broccoli Rice is hands down my favorite. Tater tot casserole on the other hand, not my favorite. On those nights we’d always insist on eating on the deck that hung over the bank so we could “watch the sunset”. In actuality, we were eating the parts of the casserole that we liked and the rest went over the bank. Since my grandma had a strict “eat what is on your plate” rule this was our loop hole. If we were still hungry after half our dinner went over the bank, we’d wait until she went to bed, sneak out of our rooms, make sandwiches and watch In Living Color which she’d never let us watch. When we had our food truck, we’d share a commissary kitchen with Seattle’s most popular Hawaiian Korean fusion blue food truck. They cooked so much rice, it was insane, but they didn’t use a rice cooker they baked it. Turns out, It really is a genius way of doing it! I thought, “OMG, perfect base for my favorite casserole!” This is really the only casserole I make, my husband didn’t grow up having them (just meat and potatoes) so he doesn’t understand that every once in a while you need a casserole dish of comfort, which is what this casserole is for me. This casserole is not only my favorite, but also one of my mom’s favorites so she’d make it for dinner often. For me this is probably the most memory filled comfort food, so if it’s a rainy day, literally or figuratively, this is what I want for dinner.
Chicken, Broccoli, Rice Casserole: Yield: 9×13 casserole dish full or 8 servings
2c White Rice
2 Chicken Breast
3 Broccoli Crowns
1c Mushrooms, sliced
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2T Butter, melted
1c Italian Bread Crumbs
1c Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
To Start: Preheat oven to 350°
Step One: Wash raw rice well, spread it evenly on the bottom of the casserole dish. Cover with enough water that it is an inch over the rice or use the classic asian trick and measure up to your first knuckle of your index finger. Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is fully cooked.
Step Two: In a small bowl combine soup, mayo and milk season with salt and pepper, then pour 1/2 over the cooked rice.
Step Three: Slice the chicken thinly and lay in a even layer over the soup covered rice, than cover with the remaining soup.
Step Four: Break the broccoli into small florets and lay them neatly on top of the chicken.
Step Five: Sprinkle the whole dish with cheese.
Step Six: In a small bowl combine bread crumbs and melted butter and mix until every crumb is coated with butter. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the whole dish.
Step Seven: Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the sides are bubbling and the center of the casserole is at 180°