A hearty fall dish with several different textures and tastes: creamy cheesy sauce, crispy salty bacon, nutty mushrooms, and flavored chicken all on top of a bed of brown rice. Sure to be a crowd pleaser!
I struggle a bit with the word casserole. To me it implies bland canned soup recipes topped with breadcrumbs. That is not this type of dinner! I’m bringing casserole to a whole new level, and I promise everyone in your life will love this one. What’s not to love?
The rest is just icing on the cake. In this recipe, we’re bringing out flavors of real food that all compliment in each other in the perfect way! The nutty flavor of brown rice pairs so well with mushrooms, and really, with bacon you can never go wrong. Although this casserole is certainly not light and is more under the “comfort food” label, it has only real flavor and real ingredients that still pack in nutrients. The brown rice is a low glycemic index food that packs in fiber. I also use nitrate-free turkey bacon to cut down on saturated fat.
The cheese sauce is also on the “lighter” side with chicken stock in place of milk. You will make the cheese sauce while the bacon, mushrooms, and chicken cook. I used a shortcut in this recipe; already prepared brown rice. I love the Trader Joe’s frozen organic brown rice. It tastes fresh and cooks perfectly in the microwave in 3 minutes. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near by, use your favorite prepared brown rice (Uncle Ben’s makes one, although I have never tried it, it can definitely work here). Toss it all together for this delicious meal!!
Cheesy Brown Rice Chicken Casserole with Mushrooms and Bacon
- 6-8 slices of turkey bacon
- 1 lb chicken breast chopped into 1 inch chunks
- 4 tbsp tbsp butter divided
- 12 oz sliced mushrooms
- 4 cups prepared brown rice
- 3 tbsp flour*
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Begin by heating a large skillet pan to medium high heat. Coat with a cooking spray, and add sliced bacon. Cook to your liking on crispiness, mine usually takes from 8-10 minutes (extra crispy). Set bacon aside, keep fat inside the pan. Once bacon cools, rip or cut into small pieces.
Place chicken inside the skillet with bacon grease, and turn down heat to medium. Cook until no longer pink inside, another 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and add to bacon.
Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Heat up 2 tbsp butter in a small sauce pan, add flour and mix to combine, cook for a minute, then add chicken broth. Heat up chicken broth to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Once sauce begins to thicken, add cheese. Continue to whisk and cook until cheese is completely melted. Set aside.
Finally make the mushrooms, add 2 tbsp butter to the chicken/bacon skillet. Saute mushrooms until they are nice and brown, another 8 minutes.
In a large casserole dish, toss in cooked rice, bacon, chicken, mushrooms, and top with cheese sauce. Mix around to coat the entire dish with the sauce, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
*If you follow a Gluten-Free diet, substitute arrowroot powder for the flour in this recipe.
I use the Trader Joe's Frozen Organic Brown Rice in this recipe.