Thursday, April 6, 2023

A Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole and a Lesson in Chemistry #CooktheBooks

This casserole is assembled, cooked and served all in one skillet, making it a perfect weekday meal.  It is coated in a homemade cream sauce instead of the canned cream soup often used in casseroles.  It is a great way to use up leftover chicken.

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

I was inspired to make this casserole after reading our Cook the Books Club selection......
Casserole and Book

Debra of Eliot's Eats is hosting this session and chose the novel Lessons in Chemistry for our April/May read.  

This novel follows scientist,  Elizabeth Zott, who is having a heck of a time being taken seriously in 1960's America where woman, regardless of how smart or ambitious they be, are expected to stay home in the kitchen and care for their husbands.

Elizabeth doesn't have a husband, she does however have a child, a fact that cost her a job in a laboratory where she was never acknowledged for her skill and dedication by anyone other than the star scientist, Calvin Evans,who falls in love with Elizabeth and sees that the company treat her with dignity and respect.

Unfortunately, Calvin dies in an untimely accident before he and Elizabeth are able to marry.  After his death, Elizabeth discovers she is pregnant, which immediately costs her the position she holds at the lab.

Elizabeth lands a job as a host for a cooking show in which she is constantly butting heads with the producers who want her to stick to convention instead of encouraging women to expect and get more out of life than living in men's shadows.

casserole and wine

Elizabeth explains that cooking is nothing more than science and experimenting is part of the equation.  She encourages women to create healthy, nutritious meals for their family and then instructs the children to go set the table so their mother can relax.  

Casseroles were very high in popularity during the 60's and Elizabeth made many of them on her show.  However, she did not use all those convenience foods that were so popular during this time much to the chagrin of her producers who were looking to woo sponsors.

So in tribute to Elizabeth and this novel, I decided to forgo the usual cream of mushroom soup that I would normally use while making a casserole and replace it with a homemade cream sauce.  This sauce can be used anytime a can of cream soup is listed in a recipe.

We are assigned this novel for the next two months and you are welcome to join us.  It is a great read and it is sure to inspire you into the kitchen.  You can learn more about how to join in the fun at the Guidelines section of Cook the Books Club.

I am also linking up with Foodies Read. Stop by and see what the other Foodies are reading this month.  

Casseroles, Chicken, Broccoli, one pot meals
Entrees, Casseroles
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Wendy Klik
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

This casserole is assembled, cooked and served all in one skillet, making it a perfect weekday meal. It is coated in a homemade cream sauce instead of the canned cream soup often used in casseroles. It is a great way to use up leftover chicken.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 35 MinTotal time: 45 Min


  • 2 T. butter
  • 3 T. flour
  • 2 1/2 c. chicken broth, divided
  • 1 t. Italian Herb Seasoning
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 c. diced, cooked chicken
  • 1 c. white rice
  • 1 head broccoli florets, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 c. shredded 3 cheese blend, divided


  1. Melt the butter in a large, oven safe skillet, over med high heat. Stir in the flour, season with salt and pepper, and cook until light brown and nutty smelling.
  2. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and milk, cook and stir until thickened. Stir in the Italian Herbs.
  3. Whisk in the remaining chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Open the pot, stir and then add the broccoli on top without stirring, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the broccoli along with the chicken and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the casserole and place into a preheated 350* oven for about 15 minutes, until thickened and cheese is melted.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

15.95 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

8.13 g

Carbs (grams)

30.77 g

Fiber (grams)

0.85 g

Net carbs

29.92 g

Sugar (grams)

2.32 g

Protein (grams)

20.28 g

Sodium (milligrams)

593.6 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

75.64 mg


  1. Ooo THANK YOU for this! I love chicken-broccoli-rice concoctions but they ALWAYS use campbell's soup so I'm excited to try this one with a homemade sauce!

  2. Love that you made this. I grew up helping make casseroles with all sort of cream soup variations. While I thought they were delicious then, I can't imagine make them today. I love your version, though!

    1. Thank Debra. I still sometimes cheat and make them with Campbells LOL.

  3. Perfect for the left-over chicken, which frequently shows up around here. No Campbells soup in our house! We do have wild chickens though, running through and wrecking havoc in the garden. If I was a real pioneer woman, I'd be cooking them up instead of trapping and giving them away:)

    1. I know when I was raising laying hens, their favorite thing to do was kick aside the mulch in my flower beds looking for bugs. My meat chickens didn't want to have to work for their food.....they would just sit by that bucket and would eat until they exploded if you let them.

  4. Hi it's Cathy B - I just love casseroles and this one looks very appealing

  5. Nice choice of a comforting dish, Wendy :)


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