Tonight's dinner is a perfect make-ahead meal. The dish can be assembled early in the day and popped in the oven before dinner time. It can even be frozen, thawed overnight in the refrigerator and then baked and served.
Divine Chicken Divan is a delicious casserole. I know the word casserole is one some cooks try to avoid, but this one does not include canned soup or tater tots. Chicken, steamed broccoli, and rice are combined with light wine and cheese sauce and baked with a crunchy Parmesan topping.
We LOVED this dinner. I don't make casseroles very often, but this one was not heavy and gloppy, cheesy tasting. I got one request from My Middle One to add more of the topping. Duly noted.
Make two Divine Chicken Divans. One for dinner tonight and one to put in the freezer for later. You'll thank me.
Divine Chicken Divan
1 1/4 cups rice, either white or brown
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups of broccoli florets, steamed
4 cups of cooked chicken, shredded in large chunks
1/3 cup panko
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook rice according to package directions. Place cooked rice in a 2-quart baking dish. Set aside.
Heat a medium sized saucepan to medium high and add olive oil and onions. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add the chicken broth and milk and bring to a boil. Combine the cornstarch and wine in a small bowl and whisk into the saucepan. Cook until sauce thickens, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add the cheddar cheese and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in broccoli and chicken.
Spoon chicken mixture over rice. Combine panko and Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over chicken and rice. Cover baking dish with foil.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 8 - 10 minutes or until top is browned.
Note - This dish can be assembled ahead of time, unbaked, and covered and refrigerated. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake dish for 30 - 35 minutes covered with foil. Then uncover and bake an additional 8 - 10 minutes. It can also be frozen. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours, then follow the refrigerated baking directions.