Chicken, Broccoli and Rice "Pie"

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.  --Julia Child

The beauty and luxury of Central Air is finally sinking in. I've just realized that I can turn the oven on when it is 98 degrees outside and still maintain a comfy 72 degrees inside.  Awesome!  For those of you who don't have CA, maybe wait for a cooler evening to try this one? Or, bring a few more fans into the kitchen area? It's worth it...

I wanted to clear out the freezer a bit, so I whipped up a quick "casserole" using a few chicken breasts, broccoli, brown rice, and shredded cheese that were in there. 

I don't like the bad reputation a "casserole" often brings with it, so I put mine in a pie dish instead. It's not a casserole. It's a pie. And everyone likes pie!  Served with a fun salad of mesclun, dried cranberries, apples, pecans, cheese, and a nice balsamic vinaigrette, this "pie" made for a pretty tasty home-cooked meal.

Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice "Pie"
1 head garlic, minced
1/4 leek (white part only, washed and thinly sliced)
2 TBS olive oil
4 chicken breasts (boneless/skinless)
1 14 oz. bag frozen broccoli florets
1 10 oz. bag frozen brown rice (look for Birds Eye Steamfresh plain brown rice, or just use about 2 cups of cooked brown rice)
1 8 oz. bag Kraft shredded Italian, 5 Cheese
2 TBS Philadelphia Cooking Creme (plain)
1 TBS goat cheese (optional, but recommended)
2 TBS bread crumbs (seasoned or unseasoned is fine)
Salt and pepper to taste

To Do:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  • Spray a normal pie plate with non-stick olive oil and set aside.  
  • Saute the chicken breasts in the garlic, leeks and olive oil until cooked through -- don't overcook it, you want it to stay juicy.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool a bit.  
  • In the meantime, toss your Steamfresh bag of rice in the microwave. Add the broccoli to your chicken pan. Do not cook through -- just heat through until the pieces are unfrozen and the water has evaporated.  
  • Slice the chicken into bite-size pieces and add back to the pan with the broccoli.  
  • Your rice should be done -- carefully open the bag and add the rice to the chicken and broccoli and turn off the heat.  
  • Stir in the goat cheese and cream cheese until incorporated. If you want it more garlicky, add a teaspoon or two of garlic powder now.  Add salt/pepper to taste. Note: I also stirred in some dried parsley and thyme.
  • Stir in half of the cheddar cheese.
  • Transfer the mixture to the pie plate, top with the rest of the cheese and the bread crumbs, then bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is gooey and the breadcrumbs have browned.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.


Other Ideas:
You could also try switching out the chicken, broccoli and cheddar with:
 - Ham, mushrooms and swiss
 - Ground turkey, green peppers, monterey jack and salsa
 - Bacon, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella