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Whole Foods: “Real” Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Before beginning my own whole food journey, I used to make this the “traditional” way – white rice, canned soup, etc. But I have finally perfected the real food version. Yes, it is a few extra steps, but it is still quite easy to assemble. One way I simplify the process is to use leftover chicken and rice. About every two weeks I will roast a whole chicken and make a big pot of rice. I shred and save the leftovers, make broth with the bones to be used in my homemade cream soups, and then make this meal with them later in the week. Of course it will also be simplified if assembled on your big cooking day. But I think what really matters is that I can feed my family one of our favorite meals knowing that it is not only comforting and tasty, but nutrient dense.Last week I shared a recipe for cabbage rolls (galumpkis) that was passed down through the women on my dad’s side of the family. Today I’m sharing a real food makeover of a recipe that I learned from my mother-in-law. First a little back story. My husband comes from a family of ten. Yes, you read that right – two parents, eight kids, and a lot of commotion. You can only imagine what meals are like when all of the children, spouses, and grandchildren are present! My point is, my mother-in-law sometimes has to cook meals that can be thrown together quickly and satisfy a variety of tastes. So while she is a big advocate of whole food (she actually owns a grain mill and a copy of Nourishing Traditions), she still has to break out the canned soup sometimes.

What family recipes have you made over for your new real food lifestyle? Please share in the comments for the benefit of our Get Real community!

“Real” Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole


Kim @ onceamonthmeals.com



Cook brown rice according to package instructions on the stove top or in a rice cooker. Meanwhile, in a large pot, steam broccoli florets until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, reserving .5 cup of shredded cheese. Mix well to combine. Divide casserole between two 8 x 8 greased baking pans or one larger pan. Sprinkle each with .25 cups shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until heated through and bubbly.

Freezing Directions:

Follow directions above and freeze before baking. TO SERVE: Thaw and bake as directed above.

Servings: 8


**conversion chart image provided by Erik Spiekermann

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50 Responses to “Whole Foods: “Real” Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole”

  1. Mackenzie says:

    We just ad this last night…. So good!

  2. Darlene says:

    This looks good! I am going to have to try this! I love broccoli! Darlene

  3. Miz Helen says:

    What a great updated recipe for an old favorite. This is a great recipe! Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
    Miz Helen

  4. Kristi says:

    This looks absolutely wonderful and healthy. They would be perfect for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Would you be willing to post this to my pregnancy and breastfeeding superfood blog carnival, superfood sundays?



    • kim says:

      Sure! You are absolutely right. Bone broth is an amazing source of nutrition for everyone, but particularly mommas. I (Kim) am a huge fan of natural birth (I’ve had two, one of them a Hypno-baby!) and love to encourage other women in accomplishing it. I’m interested to check out the resources on your blog.

    • Jen says:

      I’m planning to make this recipe tomorrow, so I can’t comment on it yet, BUT my husband made something similar about two days after we got home from the hospital with our baby. I was RAVENOUS all the time (post-labor+nursing) and it is still one of the best meals I can think of! A perfect post-partum meal for me (and still good for breastfeeding after a few months)!

  5. Kaylin says:

    do you think you have to cook it before freezing it? Or can you freeze it just before the baking it step and then cook it when you take it out of the freezer?

  6. Marti says:

    I will not be making my own soup for this, so how much is a “batch” if I am using canned soup???

    • kim says:

      One batch equals approximately one can. You may have to add a little milk if you use the condensed cans. I encourage you to try making your own soups though. It isn’t that difficult.

  7. Emily says:

    This is great! Thanks for sharing! Just one note, the ads on your site are really frustrating. They open up so big constantly and its hard to read anything.

  8. Bonny says:

    Approx how much rice does 2.5 c uncooked make? I make my brown rice in bulk.


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  13. Kristin says:

    This is an awesome recipe! I love finding new things to make that are healthy for my family!

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  15. Stacy says:

    If useing instant rice can you add it raw and add extra liquid?

    • kim says:

      Instant rice isn’t really a whole food. Since the only “liquid” is the cream of soups, I don’t think it would really be enough to cook uncooked rice. You should really start with cooked rice for this recipe, whatever kind you choose.

  16. Lisa says:

    I am trying it tonight. My son said, Mom remember you cooked broccoli Casserole a long time ago than you cut us off. LOL. I am making it as a surprise. Thanks, Lisa

  17. I made this and shared my version here: http://oursomewhatlife.blogspot.com/2012/07/whole-food-dinners-pizza-and-casserole.html

    I hope you will come check it out! Thanks for the recipe!

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  20. Gretchen says:

    I made this last night, it was delicious! Never saw your site before but I’m thinking I might come back now :-) We ate half and gave half to a friend that just became a mommy for the first time. I used chicken broth instead of water and added some pepper and garlic powder and parsley when cooking the rice, it was great!

  21. Stephanie says:

    I made this for dinner earlier this week and have since been enjoying leftovers, very tasty! Surprisingly, I’ve never had the traditional version with white rice and “cream of” soups so I’m not sure how it compares, but I can only assume it’s better! I made half right away for my little family and froze the other half for a future meal. I found it to be a very frugal recipe as well as I used a high quality chicken I picked up for $1.25/lb to make the meat and stock for the recipe. I think I’m going to make another full recipe to take to a friend who just had her 2nd baby. Definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing!

  22. lisa says:

    I am new to whole foods and am going to try this one tonight. I will make the cream soup from scratch…did you use whole wheat flour?

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  24. Stephanie says:

    We cooked this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and it was an immediate hit! So delicious! Making our second batch tonight – can’t wait!

  25. Carolyn says:

    I have some leftover cooked wild rice and am trying this for tonite’s dinner. I’ve gone the homemade soup route but when time is short . . . which is almost always . . . I use Campbell’s Turkey Gravy. No MSG or preservatives. Only the Turkey gravy has the best ingredients. You can buy on sale at Thanksgiving & stock up!

  26. Lillian says:

    Is there anything to substitute instead of cream of mushroom soup? more cream of chicken? I just don’t like mushrooms. let me know what you think! Thanks!

  27. Linda Shirley says:

    How do I find your freezing instructions? I would like to try this.

  28. Amy says:

    This is great, but like another person commented, I’m using canned concentrate soup. I looked up the recipe given for making soups. Um, not so easy – sorry. This momma doesn’t have time for that.

  29. Christine says:

    Hi I was wondering when you mentioned a batch equate to one can or consedense soup. What are the oz on a batch. So if I were to use cans. Thanks Christine

  30. Courtni says:

    I was unable to make this on my big cooking day, because when I went to the store with my shopping list (and without my recipes), it told me to get 2 oz of broccoli and 96 oz of brown rice. I couldn’t even remember what recipes I had added, muchless what the quantity of the ingredients would be, so I just went with it. We eat plenty of brown rice, but it did seem a little odd to buy 4 bags worth. Those were the only glitches in my shopping list, but I was too busy to go back to the store for more broccoli. Looking forward to trying it this month…

    • Katie says:

      Hi Courtni! I’m sorry for the trouble on that recipe. I actually just updated the broccoli measurements for the shopping list this weekend so if you look at it now, it should be a more accurate amount. Let us know how you enjoy it once you are able to try it. :)

  31. Danielle says:

    This was so great! My kiddos (three and one) gobbled it up! Thank you!

  32. Jessica says:

    Could you adapt this to a crock pot if using raw ingredients?

  33. theresa says:

    After you freeze and ready to bake, how do you thaw it and for how long?

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