A luscious cream sauce along with fresh herbs and lots of good-for-you veggies is sure to make this chicken wild rice casserole a family favorite. Plus it’s make ahead and freezer friendly.
Spring has finally sprung here in Minnesota. The grass is green, the trees are leafing out and we had fabulous weather all weekend, which we took full advantage of. Saturday morning we walked to Starbuck’s for coffee and then got all of the patio furniture out on the deck. Later that day, the family came over to celebrate Steve’s and Kelly’s birthdays and we were able to hang out on the deck eating appetizers while Steve was grilling his famous ribs. Pretty much a perfect day! How was your weekend?
Now let’s talk about this make ahead chicken wild rice casserole situation. Can I just say it’s casserole perfection? Because believe me, it truly is. The sauce is so creamy and delicious which goes perfectly with the slightly chewy wild rice. Plus, it’s full of tasty veggies and there’s a satisfying crunch from the almonds and water chestnuts. Perfection people.
It takes a bit of time to put together, but it’s not difficult at all and you end up with not one, but two delicious casseroles to put in your freezer. That means two easy, ready to go dinners for those nights when you have no time to cook. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking so you have a couple of these chicken wild rice casseroles in your own freezer!
- 1½ cups wild rice, uncooked
- 6 cups water
- 1½ lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2½ tsp salt, divided
- ¾ tsp pepper, divided
- ¼ cup flour
- 1½ cups half and half, divided
- 3½ cups chicken stock
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 leek, sliced into half moons
- 2 (8 oz) pkgs cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
- ¼ cup mascarpone cheese
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 (5 oz) can water chestnuts, sliced
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- Bring water to a boil over high heat in a large sauce pan.
- Add wild rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, until water has been absorbed.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment of foil.
- Spread cubed chicken out on pan and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil.
- Sprinkle chicken with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- While chicken is baking, whisk together flour and ½ cup half and half. Set aside.
- Heat remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add carrots, celery, leeks, mushrooms and thyme to skillet and saute for about 10-12 minutes, until vegetable are tender and mushrooms are browned.
- Stir in flour mixture, remaining half and half, chicken stock and parsley.
- Bring mixture to a simmer.
- Stir in marscapone cheese, until melted.
- Bring mixture to a bubble and cook until mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Combine wild rice, vegetable mixture, chicken, green onions and water chestnuts in a large bowl.
- Divide mixture between 2 8x8 baking dishes or 2 gallon size ziplock bags.
- Before baking sprinkle casserole with almonds.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until browned and bubbly.
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