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Creamy and Crunchy Chicken Casserole

When we’re craving comfort food, we often turn to Grandma’s creamy chicken casserole. This old-fashioned chicken-and-rice dish features a rich, creamy, incredibly cheesy sauce that pairs perfectly with the colorful bits of broccoli inside it, and the buttery-cornflake crunch of the topping always puts a smile on our faces. Unusual ingredients sometimes make for the best meals. Cornflakes are fairly boring on their own, but when slathered with butter and toasted over top of a savory dish, they become much more remarkable.

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We take this to potlucks, it’s a staple at family gatherings, and it’s actually easy enough to make on weeknights. We just love the retro look and taste! Some people might be put-off by cornflakes here, but don’t knock it ’till you try it! It’s an unexpected surprise that adds flavor and texture to a creamy dish. This classic recipe has satisfied tummies in our family for over half a century, and we’ll never get tired of it.

Cheesy Creamy Chicken Casserole

50 minutes to prepare serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian cheese blend, shredded
  • 1 1/4 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 head broccoli florets, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup cornflakes
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Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Warm vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, broccoli and celery until vegetables are soft and broccoli is bright green. Transfer to baking dish and spread around evenly.
  3. Add rice and chicken to vegetables in baking dish.
  4. In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, and continue stirring for two minutes.
  5. Add milk slowly, continuously whisking until sauce thickens, then remove from heat. Add cheeses and Greek yogurt. Stir until melted. Pour cream sauce over top of rice, chicken and vegetables.
  6. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Toss over cornflakes until moistened and sprinkle over casserole.
  7. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes. Uncover, and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes for a golden, crispy topping.

Recipe adapted from Humorous Homemaking

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