This creamy chicken and rice casserole is a fast and healthy 30-minute meal made right on the stove top, making it a favorite one-pot dinner that feeds a family of four for under $10.
This recipe is brought to you by Kroger
Easy Chicken and Rice Casserole
September is Hunger Action Month. As someone who has the access and the means to buy/grow/order food at my fingertips (or within a short walk or drive) every day of the week, this public initiative is a reminder that it isn’t nearly as easy for far too many. Helping others cure food scarcity is near and dear to my heart. And I hope to yours too.
So when Kroger asked me to participate in their #ZeroHungerZeroWaste donation challenge, I immediately said count me in. And now I’m challenging you to join too.
It’s one thing to donate that stray can of beans at the back of your pantry or the expired box of crackers. But it’s so much more to make healthful eating approachable and economical, showing families that there are better choices to easily cook and eat at home.
That’s why I’ve created this easy one-pot chicken and rice casserole to show you and those I’m donating it to that fast and easy dinners don’t have to come from a cardboard box, or sodium-loaded freezer meal, or be expensive. They can just as easily come from real good, real food. And for many who are food challenged, most of the ingredients can be kept on hand in the pantry with little waste to be had.
Since my daughter was little, I’ve been a huge advocate in teaching her that there are too many kids in our local community (not to mention the world) who aren’t as fortunate as she is. That giving back is even better than getting. That sharing is caring.
That’s why my daughter and I are now part of the National Charity League, a mother/daughter volunteer organization that focuses on philanthropy. My daughter’s grade’s partnered charity is our local YWCA, an amazing organization that supports women and their children during times of transition until they get back on their feet.
Because some of these women have literally escaped situations with only the clothes on their backs and their children in tow, the YWCA supplies clothing, child care, job opportunities and educational skills, legal services, and offers housing for them and their children.
And of course, they help with food. And that’s why so am I.
see more: 30 Comfort Food Casseroles to Make Now
Join Me: #ZeroHungerZeroWaste Challenge
The YWCA works closely with the Utah Food Bank and local food pantries for food assistance. More than 40% of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten, yet 1 in 8 Americans struggle with hunger. Food waste undermines food security. Food waste is a major problem, but Kroger is also making it part of the solution.
I am a HUGE fan of Kroger’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative. Not only because they have accelerated food donations to give 3 billion meals by 2025 while advocating for public policy solutions to help communities divert food waste from landfills, but because of the type of donations they’re providing.
Donate not just more food, but more balanced meals.
I’m making it easy for you to join in the challenge. Here’s how:
• Download or print the printable recipe card for this One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Rice recipe, purchase the ingredients at your local grocery store (Smith’s is my fave), and include the recipe card with your donation to an organization like the YWCA. (If donating the items for this recipe to a food bank or pantry, please replace the fresh and frozen ingredients with canned, replacing the butter with canola oil, and skipping the cheese.)
• Download or print this list of items needed by local food shelters then head to your grocery store and purchase items from the list and donate to a local food bank or pantry.
• Then, challenge your friends, work place, or social organization to do the same.
Just think of the change we can all make if we all commit together !!
Share your work with the challenge by taking a pic and posting it to Instagram then tag @foodiecrush and add the hashtag #ZeroWasteZeroHunger so we can all be inspired together.
What’s in This Chicken and Rice Casserole?
I’ve made plenty of creamy chicken sauced recipes before, but knowing this recipe needed to feed four people for under $10 and also be shelf stable, there were a few adjustments to be made.
To achieve that creamy sauce without the cost to my $10 ingredient limit, and to limit the calories of heavy cream or a flour, butter, and milk slurry, I took a tip from one of my fave macaroni and cheese recipes and used a can of evaporated milk to achieve the creamy consistency. Bonus points for using a shelf-stable ingredient too.
In this recipe, I cook the diced, uncooked chicken from my Smith’s meat counter directly in the sauce, so no browning is needed.
I kept things even healthier and used Kroger’s Simple Truth line of organic ingredients for my chicken broth, butter and frozen peas. I love this brand because it’s organic, but since it’s a Kroger brand, I find its actually about the same price as some of the non-organic products.
Because, just like me, food banks say they prefer “whole, unprocessed or minimally processed foods” to help people create healthy meals, I’m more than happy to choose Simple Truth for my donations too.
- Download my list of what to donate to local food banks and make a difference.
- Where to donate food in Utah: Utah Food Bank pantry partners
- Find your own local food bank: Feeding America pantry partners
How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole
To make this easy chicken and rice casserole, you’ll first need to melt the butter in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt and thyme. You want to cook just until the onion softens, stirring occasionally.
Add the rice and carrot and cook for another couple of minutes. Next, add the chicken broth and evaporated milk and stir in the chicken, more salt, and the black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Stir, cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes.
Lastly, stir in the peas and top the creamy chicken and rice casserole with shredded cheese. Pop the lid back on to melt the cheese and heat the peas, then serve.
Can I Make This with Ground Chicken?
Yes, ground chicken would work well in this recipe, as would shredded baked chicken or a rotisserie chicken. To make this shelf-stable and donation-friendly, you can use canned chicken or even sub in canned tuna.
Can I Use Brown Rice?
I’m sure you could, but brown rice takes much longer to cook than white rice. But if you have brown rice on hand and don’t mind the extra cook time, go ahead and use it.
Tips for Making the Best Chicken and Rice Casserole
Double check that you bought evaporated milk and not sweetened condensed milk. Evaporated milk isn’t as thick or sweet — sweetened condensed milk would totally throw off the flavor of this creamy chicken casserole.
You’re welcome to throw other frozen or canned veggies into this chicken and rice casserole. If you’re using canned vegetables, make sure to drain them well before adding them in.
If you have leftovers of this easy chicken and rice casserole, I recommend reheating them on the stove over medium-low heat and not in the microwave. Microwaving chicken and rice casserole often dries it out.
More Easy Casserole Recipes You’ll Love
- Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole with Onion Rings
- Slow Cooker Mediterranean Egg Casserole
- Salsa Verde Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Turkey Avocado Tetrazzini
One-Pot Chicken and Rice Casserole
- 3 tablespoons Simple Truth butter
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Private Selection dried thyme
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 carrot diced
- 3 cups Simple Truth chicken broth
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken (about 2 breasts or 4 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 10-ounce bag frozen peas or 1 15-ounce can of peas, drained
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Melt the butter in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the thyme. Cook until the onion softens, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and carrot and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and evaporated milk and stir in the chicken, the remaining salt and the black pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Stir, cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring so the rice doesn’t stick to the pot.
- Stir in the peas and add more chicken broth or water if the mixture is too thick. Sprinkle with the cheese and cover with the lid to melt the cheese, and serve.
More Creamy Chicken Recipes You’ll Want to Make Too
- Creamy Chicken Pesto Penne With Broccoli
- Easy Chicken Breasts with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- Instant Pot Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 30-Minute Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts
Craving more life balance, less stress, and better health? Check out my Nourished Planner, the daily planner to help create simplicity and under-schedule your life.
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This post is sponsored by Kroger. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. There may be affiliate links in this post of which I receive a small commission. All opinions are always my own.