Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Healthier Nacho Chicken Casserole

Recently I saw a recipe for a Mexican-style cheesy chicken casserole that sounded tasty, but it had a few ingredients I'd rather not use, like canned cream of chicken soup, white rice, and packaged taco seasoning.  It also had pre-shredded cheese (eww - cellulose) and canned corn (eww - I don't like it).

I decided to make some changes so that I'd feel better about eating it and serving it to my family.  Here's my version, which I think is a little more nutritious.

Healthier Nacho Chicken Casserole

3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons unbleached white or whole wheat flour
1-1/2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1-1/2 to 2 cups cooked brown rice (1/2 cup before cooking)
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
1-1/2 cups frozen kernel corn
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles, with liquid (could use 1 large fresh mild chile, seeded and diced)
2 Tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (or 1 packet of store bought seasoning)
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (shredded from block cheese), divided
2 cups diced cooked chicken (either light or dark is fine)

Heat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 2-quart baking dish with pan spray.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Stir in flour.  Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Whisk until mixture thickens.  Set aside.

In large bowl, combine rice, tomato, corn, red and green bell pepper, chiles, taco seasoning, 1 cup of cheese and chicken.  Pour thickened chicken broth over mixture and stir until well combined. 

Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and the crushed tortilla chips.  Return to hot oven for 10 minutes.  Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6  servings.

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