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Dump-and-Bake Italian Chicken and Rice

This Dump and Bake Italian Chicken and Rice is an easy and healthy dinner recipe that comes together in about 10 minutes! Just stir together the raw ingredients and pop it in the oven!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword chicken and rice, chicken and rice casserole
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 - 6 people
Calories 308kcal
Author Blair Lonergan

Ingredients

  • 2 cups marinara (or tomato basil) sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (NOT drained)
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 ½ lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast or chicken tenderloins, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Stir marinara sauce, tomatoes (in their juice), and uncooked rice together in the prepared dish (or in a separate bowl).
  • In a small bowl, combine diced, uncooked chicken with Italian seasoning and salt.
  • Add seasoned chicken to the rice mixture and stir to completely combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  • Cover tightly with foil or with a lid.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, remove the cover, and give the dish a good stir. At this point the chicken should be cooked through and the rice should be just about tender (but still slightly al dente). If the rice is too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes, or until it’s ready.
  • Once the rice is just about tender, sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over top. Return dish to the oven, uncovered, for about 5 more minutes, or just until cheese is melted and rice is completely done.
  • Garnish with parsley before serving.

Notes

COOK'S TIPS AND RECIPE VARIATIONS:
  • If you prefer, you can use about 2 cups of chopped, cooked chicken instead of the uncooked chicken.
  • Try using frozen (thawed) meatballs instead of the chicken.
  • If you prefer to use brown rice, you will need to increase the total baking time to 75-90 minutes. I suggest adding the chicken during the final 35 minutes so that the meat doesn't get overdone and dry.
  • After 35 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and take off the cover. Give everything a good stir. At this point, the rice should be just about tender and finished cooking, but may still be slightly al dente. If the rice is still hard, return the dish to the oven (covered) for another 5-10 minutes before adding the cheese on top. Total baking times can vary depending on the type of dish that you're using (for instance, glass dishes may require a longer baking time than a nonstick metal pan). Your best bet is to just taste the rice and make sure that it's almost finished before you sprinkle that cheese on top!
Is this Italian Chicken and Rice gluten free?
Yes! These ingredients are naturally gluten free, but of course -- always double check your labels to make sure that there is no gluten hiding in your pasta sauce or tomatoes!
Can Chicken and Rice Casserole be frozen?
If you want to freeze this dish, I recommend baking it first. Uncooked rice does not freeze well, because its texture breaks down and the end result is a mushy dish. Baked rice freezes fine, though!
To freeze, bake the chicken and rice casserole as instructed. Allow the dish to cool to room temperature, wrap tightly, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can Chicken and Rice Casserole be cooked in the Crock Pot?
Yes, but you have to be careful! Different slow cookers cook the ingredients at slightly different temperatures, so cooking times will always vary depending on your appliance.
You'll need to watch your rice closely towards the end of the cooking time, since you want to be sure to turn it off when the rice is tender. If the rice cooks for too long, it will become mushy.
In general, chicken and rice cooks in a Crock Pot on LOW for 3 ½ - 5 ½ hours, or on HIGH for 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours. Again, check your rice regularly, give it a stir if possible, and turn off the slow cooker as soon as the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipe | Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 878mg | Potassium: 739mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 8.8mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 1.8mg