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Overhead shot of chicken breast and wild rice casserole with Ritz crackers on top
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5 from 1 vote

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Make this easy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole from scratch with simple, wholesome ingredients!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken and wild rice casserole, wild rice chicken casserole
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 339kcal
Author Blair Lonergan

Ingredients

  • cup salted butter plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ½ cup peeled and diced carrot
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice (prepared with the seasoning packet according to package instructions)
  • 3-4 cups cooked, shredded or diced chicken (I use the meat from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs (about 20 whole crackers before crushing)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Melt ⅓ cup butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms, carrot and celery. Cook until vegetables soften, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Add the flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute.
  • Gradually whisk in the broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly, and let the sauce bubble and simmer until it thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stir in the milk; add rice, chicken, parsley and thyme. Cook and stir for 1-2 more minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Remove from heat.
  • Transfer chicken and rice mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the Ritz cracker crumbs and 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle the buttered crumbs on the top of the casserole.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Notes

This is the ultimate prep-ahead meal to get dinner on the table quickly and easily -- even on busy nights. Assemble the casserole, wrap tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes before putting it in the oven.
Freezer Instructions
Freeze the chicken casserole before baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, cover with foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, allow the dish to come to room temperature on the counter for at least 30 minutes, and then bake according to recipe instructions. The creamy sauce is less likely to "break" when thawed if you give it time to come to room temperature (don't put the frozen or cold casserole directly in the oven), and if you use full-fat milk instead of skim milk.
Storage
The leftover baked casserole will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat the casserole in a 350° F oven, covered, just until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the recipe | Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 646mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1805IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg