This Cheddar Crusted Chicken and Broccoli Casserole is an easy and wholesome weeknight dinner that’s perfect for picky little eaters! Just in time for back-to-school season and cool fall evenings, it’s a great make-ahead option for busy days!
After almost 7 years of feeding little ones, I kind of feel like I’ve mastered the art of kid-friendly suppers. Is that an accomplishment that I can put on my resume? Probably not. But either way, you can rest assured that this dinner checks all of the boxes and is absolutely a “safe” meal to appease even your most discriminating palates:
- It includes some of the most universally kid-friendly ingredients: chicken, broccoli, rice, and cheese (x2);
- It’s a one-dish meal so that Mom doesn’t have to scramble around at the last minute trying to figure out which sides to serve;
- It can be prepared ahead of time (during naps or while the kids are at school) so that there’s no stress at the end of the day when everyone is tired, cranky, and busy with homework, sports, and other activities;
- It’s made with wholesome, real ingredients that we can feel good about feeding our family; and
- The ingredients are largely pantry staples that are always on hand. No last-minute trips to the grocery store!
I could tell you that my family loves these products, but how about I show you instead?!
When I pulled out a new box of Cheddar Snack Crackers to photograph for this post (and use in the recipe), two-year-old Spencer pitched a fall-on-the-floor screaming and sobbing tantrum because he had to have the crackers for snack RIGHT NOW. Not five minutes from now when I was done with the photos, but RIGHT NOW. If you have toddlers, I’m sure you can relate!
So you know what I did? I didn’t pick that battle. Instead, I just went to the pantry and grabbed another box of crackers to use for the recipe and gave Spencer what he wanted. Ahhhh…and all was right with the world…
Until his big brothers came along, saw him eating, and decided that they wanted the crackers too. Pretty soon an argument ensued and they were bickering over who got to hold the box of crackers. If you have multiple children, I’m sure that you can relate with this too! Let’s just say it’s a good thing that I keep multiple boxes of this favorite snack on hand for any and all “emergencies.”
I want these hungry boys to snack happy!
Needless to say, when I add the delicious cheddar crackers to the top of their dinner casserole, it’s a sure way to get the boys to eat ALL of their broccoli!
This is a kid-friendly, good-for-you dinner that will make everyone in your house very happy as Back-to-School season begins!
And P.S. — speaking of Back-to-School season…these crackers make a great after-school snack or packable lunchbox treat — and they’re made with organic wheat and cheese!
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Cheddar Crusted Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
- 2 tablespoons Horizon organic butter, divided
- 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour (can substitute with all-purpose flour)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup Horizon 1% organic low-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or about ½ teaspoon dried garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (for convenience try using a microwaveable pouch)
- 8 ounces (about 1 ¼ cups) cooked, diced chicken
- 3 cups petite broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces (I use a 10-ounce bag of organic frozen florets for convenience)
- 6 ounces (about 1 ½ cups) Horizon organic finely-shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup (about 52 grams) Horizon Cheddar Snack Crackers
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir to cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in broth, milk, garlic, and salt and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Allow sauce to cook until it thickens, whisking regularly so that the sauce is smooth (about 5-10 minutes).
- Remove from heat, stir in cooked rice, chicken, broccoli, and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.
- Transfer chicken mixture to prepared dish.
- Place cheddar snack crackers in a large zip-top bag. Seal the bag and use a mallet or rolling pin to crush the crackers into crumbs. You should have about ¾ cup of crumbs.
- Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a small bowl, add the cheddar cracker crumbs, and toss until the crumbs are coated.
- Top casserole with remaining ½ cup cheddar cheese and sprinkle with buttered cracker crumbs.
- Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and heated through (about 20-25 minutes).
Tip: This recipe serves a big group! If you have a smaller family, you can either cut the recipe in half for about 4 servings, or divide the prepared ingredients between two 8-inch square baking dishes. Save one dish in the freezer to bake another day (it’s two meals with one effort)!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.