Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's for Dinner? Chicken, Broccoli & Wild Rice, Crockpot Style

On one of our first grocery shopping adventures after moving here, we picked up a James Foods (a local company) Chicken Broccoli & Wild Rice frozen casserole at our local Teeter Totter (that's what we've been calling the Harris Teeter grocery store). It was really good and not too salty, which seems to be increasingly difficult to find in pre-made convenience foods.

When I went back to Teeter Totter I was kinda shocked to see the price was regularly $7.39 ($1.85/serving), but they were on sale at $4.97 ($1.25/serving), so I went ahead and got a couple for those nights when we have no plan for dinner.

The last time we made it I really read the ingredients list and thought it could adapt it and make something similar in the crockpot, so I set out to find all the pieces to the puzzle. After stops at 3 grocery stores and we still hadn't found plain wild rice, I ended up going with a pre-packaged mix for the rice and wild rice.

On the one hand, that made it easier because I didn't need to mess with rice-to-wild rice porportions, but it also meant I couldn't control the sodium in the dish if I used the included spice packet.

Next to Scoob's kalua pig, this has been the best crockpot recipe I've ever tried—and I made it up myself!

I forgot to take a picture of it, and besides,
I've yet to see a crockpot dish actually look appetizing.
(And the frozen version doesn't really look like this either.)

Chicken, Broccoli & Wild Rice

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 6 hours

    1 pkg Uncle Ben's long-grain and wild rice mix (or your favorite brand)
    1 Tbsp extra virgin oilive oil
    1 can low-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup
    ¼ cup light mayonnaise
    2 frozen chicken breasts
    2 carrots, roughly chopped
    2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
    1½ cups mushrooms, quartered
    1 banded-bunch of broccoli, cut the crowns into florets, peel and roughly chop the stems

  1. Add the olive oil, mushroom soup, and mayonnaise to the crockpot along with however much water the Uncle Ben's package directions call for, add the Uncle Ben's seasonings packet and whisk together, then add the rices.

  2. Place the chicken in the mixture, followed by the veggies. Smoosh things down in the crock so that the liquid covers everything. Cover and set on high for 6 hours.

  3. Before serving, fish out and shred the chicken breasts then mix the shredded meat back into the crockpot.

I love that I can just toss in the chicken still frozen because that seems to be my weak spot when it comes to cooking at home—I think far enough ahead to make sure I have things on hand for dinners, but forget to take things out of the freezer to thaw so they're ready to be cooked when dinner time rolls around.

When I make it again (and I will!), I'll cut back a bit on the water and probably swap half of it out for broth. (Of course, wouldn't you know it, I broke my crockpot with this one. The dial snapped right off after I set it to high.)

Although my total cost for making this was about $8.75, it also made enough for about 8 servings whereas the pre-made frozen one only had 4 servings. So even when it's on sale, the homemade version comes out ahead at $1.10/serving. I also know I had way more veggies in mine, so score on the nutritional front, too!

I'll continue to hunt for plain wild rice; if I can start with raw rices instead of Uncles Ben's or the like, I can cut the cost of the recipe further. I used to get it at Trader Joe's in CA, so the next time we're near a TJ's I'll make sure to look for it. Otherwise, my best bet is Amazon, but I hate the idea of getting groceries that way and would rather our money support the local economy.


  1. Sounds yummy, except for the broccoli part... yes, I'm still 5 years old on the inside. :) I'll bet it'd be super yummy if you made it with just wild rice (as opposed to the wild rice/rice blend) too.

  2. Oh, that sounds YUMMY! But I'm really surprised that there aren't any bulk food sections in any of your local markets. That's the first place I'd look for it. Hope you find some...plain wild rice is a fun ingredient to work with. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. I even tried the local food co-op. Now they did have a long-grain brown rice and wild rice mix in bulk, which means I can have more control over sodium and seasonings, but they didn't have just plain wild rice.

  4. I didn't use the mayo and added some onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, black pepper, Parmesan cheese then crumbled ritz crackers on top. SO GOOD!