Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Making "gloopy" looking food, as Joel calls it, in addition to eating dinner after the sun goes down does not make for pretty pictures...sorry!

Growing up, I was very familiar with casseroles.  They were an easy, go-to meal for a family like mine, that was always on the go.  However, since I've been on my own, casseroles haven't been much of a staple in my house.  Mostly because a) there are only 2 of us, and b) Joel claims he isn't a fan.  The other night, I decided to change things up for once and made this recipe that I found on Picky Palate.  I love anything that is topped in cheese, so I figured it was a safe bet for us to give it a try.  It did take a little longer than I'd hoped, but it was very good.  It made a lot, as casseroles tend to do, but that is fine by me.  Leftovers make a great dinner, too!

3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
3 Celery Stalks, finely diced
3 Carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons Garlic, minced
2 cups Chicken Breast, shredded and cooked (I used a rotisserie chicken)
2 cups Steamed White Rice
16 ounces Prepared Wild Rice (I used less, but only because I had a smaller package)
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt (I used granulated garlic powder)

Cheese Sauce:
4 tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 cups Chicken Broth (I used vegetable broth)
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded (I used about a cup)
Top with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used about a cup)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the oil in a medium dutch oven over medium heat.  Saute the onion, celery, and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minutes.  Add the chicken, rices, salt, pepper, and garlic salt.  Reduce heat to low.  Meanwhile, prepare cheese sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper.  Slowly pour in the broth, whisking continuously.  Whisk until thick and boiling, then stir in the cheese until melted.  Pour the cheese sauce into the rice mixture then transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Top with additional cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted through.  I cooked the casserole for about 15 minutes, since everything was already cooked and warmed through, then I placed it under the broiler until the cheese was bubbly and brown.