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Cricket Hill Chicken Casserole

(Not the greatest picture because this was made for an impromptu friend gathering…living in the present means no-time to waste staging photos : )

Every home needs a go-to casserole recipe and ours is a compilation of childhood and nostalgic favorites. Think classic green bean casserole meets chicken and wild rice….however, there are no condensed soups involved. It’s quick to prepare and can be enjoyed right away or later. This is a great weeknight meal for family or company and a great recipe to have in your repertoire for Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s so good, promise!

What you need:

1 whole rotisserie chicken

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup sliced baby portobello or white button mushrooms

1 1/2 cups pre-cooked brown or wild rice

1 zucchini chopped into bite sized pieces

1 cup artichoke hearts (1 8 oz jar) chopped into pieces

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 cup half and half

2 tbsp butter

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup crispy fried onions, plus more for topping

salt and pepper

Prepare your casserole dish, I like to do this by taking the paper off of a stick of butter and rubbing what’s left on the bottom and sides of the dish. Now place in your pre-cooked rice (I like to buy frozen brown rice…you can easily find at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods) into the dish. In a large skillet drizzle about 2 tbsp of olive oil and place over medium heat. Add in your mushrooms and zucchini and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently stir around and lightly brown your mushrooms and zucchini. After about 5-7 minutes pour in your chicken broth and parsley and let simmer to reduce down the broth.

While the veggies are simmering and reducing debone and remove all the meat from the chicken and place in the casserole dish with the rice. Also add your artichokes and 1 cup of fried onions to the dish. Keep an eye on the veggies and stir occasionally. When the broth has reduced by half add in your butter and half and half and lower the heat to low. You want the cream to gently simmer, but stir often so that it doesn’t curdle. After a few minutes of low bubbles the sauce should start to thicken up. Now turn off the heat and stir in your parmesan cheese. Remove the pan from the stove top and pour the mushroom/cream mixture into the casserole dish with all of the other ingredients. Stir everything well to combine and top another half cup or more of crispy fried onions on top so that they are evenly distributed across the dish. This should be baked at 350 for about 30 minutes or so until heated through and slightly browned on top. It can be made and stored in the refrigerator 1-2 days in advance. Enjoy!

***this recipe is highly adaptable, I used zucchini because we are at the end of September and its still abundant, you could use broccoli, spinach, green beans, or just double the mushrooms and artichokes…anything goes really but I would never make this without the mushrooms or crispy onions!

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