Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowls Recipe

Dive into the world of delectable flavors with our Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowl. This recipe is a simple yet delightful fusion of nutrition-packed broccoli, tender chicken, and creamy cheddar cheese sauce, served over fluffy rice. It's the perfect comfort food for a cozy dinner or a healthy meal prep option.

Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowls Recipe

The ingredients in this recipe are typically found in every kitchen, except possibly for the sharp cheddar cheese. While at the supermarket, ensure to pick a high-quality, flavorful sharp cheddar cheese, as it forms the crux of the creamy cheese sauce that ties this dish together. Remember, the better the cheese, the more delicious your cheesy broccoli, chicken, and rice bowl will be.

Ingredients for Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowl

Chicken breasts: High in protein and versatile, they form the base of this dish.

Broccoli: Adds a nice crunch and a ton of nutrients to the dish.

Rice: Serves as a hearty and filling base, can be any type you prefer.

Sharp cheddar cheese: Adds a tangy and creamy element to the dish.

Olive oil: Used for sauteing the chicken and broccoli.

Butter: Used in making the cheese sauce.

Garlic: Adds a nice aroma and subtle flavor to the cheese sauce.

Flour: Used as a thickening agent in the cheese sauce.

Chicken stock: Adds flavor to the cheese sauce.

Milk: Helps in achieving the creamy texture in the cheese sauce.

One reader, Hugues Hamlin says:

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This cheesy broccoli, chicken, and rice bowl recipe is a game-changer! The flavors blend perfectly, and the cheddar cheese sauce is divine. It's a wholesome and satisfying meal that's easy to prepare. I love how versatile it is, making it a go-to for my meal preps. Highly recommended!

Hugues Hamlin

Techniques Required

How to cook the chicken: Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side until no longer pink on the inside.

How to make the cheddar cheese sauce: Melt butter, sauté garlic, whisk in flour, gradually add stock and milk, then stir in shredded cheese until melted.

How to sauté the broccoli: Heat olive oil, add the broccoli, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until tender but still slightly crispy.

How to assemble the bowl: Toss the cooked chicken and broccoli with the cheese sauce until evenly combined, then serve over rice or portion into food storage containers.

How To Make Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowls (Meal Prep)

This is a game-changing dish for those who aren’t fans of broccoli but when you get a bite out of this hearty rice bowl recipe, it’s sure to please you.

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

    Meal Prep Bowls:

    • lbChicken Breastsboneless, skinless
    • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepperto taste
    • 2tbspolive oildivided
    • 2broccoli headscut into bite-sized florets
    • 1batchcheddar cheese sauce
    • 3cupsricecooked, or quinoa
    • cheddar cheeseextra, shredded, for topping

    Cheddar Cheese Sauce:

    • 1tbspbutter
    • 2garlic clovespressed or minced
    • 2tbspflour
    • ½cupchicken stockor vegetable stock
    • ½cupmilkwarmed
    • ¼tsppepper
    • tspsalt
    • 1cupsharp cheddar cheeseshredded

    Instructions

    Meat Prep Bowls:

    1. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.

    2. Cook chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside (and registers 165 degrees F with a meat thermometer).

    3. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before dicing into bite-sized pieces.

    4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same sauté pan.

    5. Add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper, tossing to combine.

    6. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is cooked and tender, but still slightly crispy.

    7. Transfer broccoli to a separate plate, and set aside.

    Cheddar Cheese Sauce:

    1. Heat the butter in the same sauté pan (or a separate saucepan) until melted. Add garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring occasionally.

    2. Whisk in the flour until evenly combined and sauté for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally. Gradually add in the stock, whisking to combine.

    3. Then add in the milk, pepper and salt, and whisk together until smooth.

    4. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer and thickens. Then stir in the shredded cheese, and stir until melted.

    5. Remove from heat and use immediately.

    Assemble:

    1. Toss the cooked chicken and broccoli with the cheese sauce until evenly combined.

    2. Serve immediately over rice. Or portion the mixture evenly into food storage containers along with the rice, garnishing with an extra sprinkle of shredded cheese and pepper.

    3. Refrigerate in sealed containers for up to 4 days.

    Nutrition

    • Calories: 810.84kcal
    • Fat: 28.18g
    • Saturated Fat: 10.70g
    • Trans Fat: 0.51g
    • Monounsaturated Fat: 10.84g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.48g
    • Carbohydrates: 95.25g
    • Fiber: 5.39g
    • Sugar: 4.88g
    • Protein: 43.72g
    • Cholesterol: 107.50mg
    • Sodium: 1142.17mg
    • Calcium: 323.92mg
    • Potassium: 1051.04mg
    • Iron: 3.28mg
    • Vitamin A: 185.95µg
    • Vitamin C: 181.13mg

    Essential Technique for Perfecting Your Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bowl

    When making the cheddar cheese sauce, it's important to gradually add the chicken stock and milk while whisking to prevent any lumps from forming. Also, make sure to cook the sauce until it thickens before adding the cheese. This will ensure a smooth and creamy sauce. Additionally, when sautéing the broccoli, avoid overcooking it to maintain its crunch and vibrant green color. This will add a nice contrast to the tender chicken and creamy cheese sauce.

    Time-Saving Tips for Making This Cheesy Broccoli and Chicken Recipe

    Prep ahead: Chop and cook the chicken, broccoli, and rice in advance to save time when assembling the bowls later.

    Use store-bought cheese sauce: To save time, consider using pre-made cheddar cheese sauce instead of making it from scratch.

    Batch cooking: Make a large quantity of this recipe and portion it into individual servings for quick and easy meals throughout the week.

    One-pot cooking: Consider cooking the chicken, broccoli, and rice together in one pot to minimize cleanup and save time.

    Invest in a rice cooker: Using a rice cooker can save time and ensure perfectly cooked rice without needing constant attention.

    Substitute Ingredients For Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowls Recipe

    • Chicken breasts - Substitute with turkey breasts: Turkey breasts can be used as a lean and flavorful alternative to chicken breasts in this recipe. They have a similar texture and can be cooked in the same way, providing a delicious and healthy protein option.

    • Kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt, providing a similar level of salinity and enhancing the overall flavor of the dish.

    • Freshly-cracked black pepper - Substitute with ground black pepper: Ground black pepper can be used as a substitute for freshly-cracked black pepper, providing the same peppery flavor and aroma to the dish.

    • Olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil can be used as a substitute for olive oil, offering a mild flavor and high smoke point, making it suitable for cooking the chicken and broccoli.

    • Broccoli heads - Substitute with cauliflower florets: Cauliflower florets can be used as a substitute for broccoli heads, providing a similar texture and flavor profile, while adding variety to the dish.

    • Cheddar cheese sauce - Substitute with cashew cheese sauce: Cashew cheese sauce can be used as a dairy-free substitute for cheddar cheese sauce, providing a creamy and flavorful alternative for those with dietary restrictions or preferences.

    • Rice - Substitute with quinoa: Quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice, offering a nutty flavor and a higher protein content, adding a nutritious twist to the dish.

    • Cheddar cheese - Substitute with nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast can be used as a substitute for cheddar cheese, providing a cheesy flavor and a boost of nutrients, while keeping the dish dairy-free.

    How to Beautifully Present Your Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowl

    1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the cheesy broccoli, chicken and rice bowl, focus on creating a visually appealing arrangement. Use a combination of vibrant colors and textures to entice the senses and elevate the overall presentation.

    2. Incorporate garnishes: Enhance the visual appeal of the dish by incorporating carefully selected garnishes such as microgreens and edible flowers. These elements not only add a pop of color but also bring a touch of elegance to the dish.

    3. Focus on precision: Pay close attention to the placement of each component in the bowl. Ensure that the chicken, broccoli, and rice are meticulously arranged to create a balanced and visually striking presentation.

    4. Utilize elegant serving ware: Choose serving bowls and plating dishes that complement the sophistication of the dish. Opt for minimalist, high-quality serving ware to showcase the culinary artistry of the cheesy broccoli, chicken, and rice bowl.

    5. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Use the cheddar cheese sauce as an opportunity to add artistic flair to the presentation. Drizzle the sauce in a deliberate and artistic manner, creating visually appealing patterns that enhance the overall aesthetic of the dish.

    6. Emphasize symmetry and balance: Arrange the components of the dish with a focus on symmetry and balance. Pay attention to the visual composition, ensuring that each element harmonizes with the others to create a cohesive and visually stunning presentation.

    7. Consider negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space to allow the dish to breathe visually. Avoid overcrowding the bowl and instead, strategically position the components to create an elegant and refined presentation.

    8. Highlight the cheese: Showcase the cheddar cheese as a focal point of the dish. Whether it's through a delicate sprinkle of shredded cheese or a carefully placed cheese crisp, draw attention to the star ingredient to captivate the judges' attention.

    Essential Kitchen Tools for Making a Delicious Rice Bowl

    • Saucepan: A saucepan is a versatile kitchen tool used for cooking sauces, boiling liquids, and simmering soups or stews.

    • Meat thermometer: A meat thermometer is essential for ensuring that meat is cooked to the correct internal temperature, helping to prevent undercooking or overcooking.

    • Sauté pan: A sauté pan is a wide, flat-bottomed pan with relatively tall sides, perfect for sautéing, searing, and frying ingredients.

    • Food storage containers: Food storage containers are essential for storing and preserving prepared meals or ingredients, keeping them fresh and organized.

    • Whisk: A whisk is a kitchen tool used for blending, whipping, and incorporating air into ingredients, essential for creating smooth sauces and batters.

    • Mixing bowl: Mixing bowls are used for combining ingredients, marinating, and preparing various components of a dish, making them a fundamental tool in the kitchen.

    • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile appliance that can be used for chopping, pureeing, and blending ingredients, streamlining food preparation processes.

    • Measuring cups and spoons: Measuring cups and spoons are essential for accurately measuring ingredients, ensuring precision in recipes and consistent results.

    • Cutting board: A cutting board provides a stable surface for chopping, slicing, and preparing ingredients, protecting countertops and ensuring safe food handling.

    • Olive oil: Olive oil is a staple ingredient in many recipes, used for sautéing, roasting, dressing, and adding flavor to dishes.

    How To Store and Freeze Leftover Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice

    • To store the cheesy broccoli, chicken and rice bowl in the refrigerator, allow the rice, chicken, and broccoli to cool completely before assembling the bowls. Once cooled, divide the rice, chicken, and broccoli evenly among airtight containers. Pour the cheese sauce over the top of each portion, then sprinkle with extra shredded cheddar cheese, if desired. Seal the containers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

    • For longer storage, you can freeze the cheesy broccoli, chicken and rice bowls. To do this, follow the same steps as for refrigerator storage, but use freezer-safe containers instead. Make sure to leave some space at the top of each container to allow for expansion during freezing. Label the containers with the date and contents, then place them in the freezer. The bowls will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.

    • To reheat the cheesy broccoli, chicken and rice bowls from the refrigerator, simply microwave them on high for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through. If the bowls have been frozen, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. You may need to add a splash of water or chicken broth to the bowl before reheating to help loosen up the cheese sauce and prevent the rice from drying out.

    • If you prefer, you can also reheat the bowls in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), then place the bowls in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.

    How To Reheat Leftovers

    • To reheat your leftover cheesy broccoli, chicken and rice bowl, start by removing it from the refrigerator and letting it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. This will help the dish reheat more evenly and prevent any cold spots.

    • If you're in a hurry, the microwave is your best friend. Transfer your leftover bowl to a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel. This will help keep the rice moist and prevent it from drying out. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the dish is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

    • For a more crispy texture, you can reheat your cheesy broccoli, chicken and rice bowl in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and transfer the leftovers to an oven-safe dish. Cover the dish with foil to prevent the rice from drying out and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the dish is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to crisp up the top.

    • If you have a little more time on your hands, you can also reheat your bowl on the stovetop. Transfer the leftovers to a saucepan and add a splash of chicken broth or water to help loosen up the rice and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the dish is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

    • No matter which method you choose, be sure to reheat your cheesy broccoli, chicken and rice bowl until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure that it's safe to eat. And don't forget to give it a good stir before digging in to distribute the heat evenly and mix all those delicious flavors together!

    Random Fact About Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowls

    The cheddar cheese sauce in this recipe is a rich source of calcium, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

    Is Making Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowls at Home Cost-Effective?

    This cheesy broccoli, chicken, and rice bowl recipe is a cost-effective option for households. The combination of chicken, broccoli, and rice provides a balanced and satisfying meal. The ingredients are reasonably priced and readily available, making it a budget-friendly choice. The overall verdict rates this recipe at 8/10 for its affordability and delicious taste. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $20, making it an economical and practical meal option.

    Is This Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bowl Healthy?

    The cheesy broccoli, chicken and rice bowl recipe is a well-balanced meal that offers a good mix of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. Here's a breakdown of the health aspects:

    • Chicken breast is a lean source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body.
    • Broccoli is a nutrient-dense vegetable, packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It's an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.
    • Brown rice (assuming it's used) is a whole grain that provides complex carbohydrates, fiber, and various nutrients like magnesium and selenium.
    • Cheddar cheese adds flavor and calcium to the dish, but it's also high in saturated fat and sodium.

    While this recipe has many healthy components, there are a few areas where it could be improved:

    To make this recipe even healthier, consider the following suggestions:

    • Use low-fat or reduced-fat cheddar cheese to decrease the amount of saturated fat in the dish.
    • Replace half of the rice with cauliflower rice to lower the carbohydrate content and add more vegetables to the meal.
    • Incorporate additional colorful vegetables, such as red bell peppers or carrots, to increase the variety of nutrients and antioxidants.
    • Use low-sodium chicken stock in the cheese sauce to reduce the overall sodium content of the recipe.
    • Experiment with different herbs and spices, like garlic powder, onion powder, or smoked paprika, to add flavor without relying on salt.
    • Opt for whole grain rice, such as brown rice or wild rice, to increase the fiber content and provide more nutrients compared to white rice.

    Editor's Opinion: Thoughts on This Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowl

    The recipe for cheesy broccoli, chicken, and rice bowl is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The tender, juicy chicken pairs perfectly with the crisp, vibrant broccoli, and the creamy cheddar cheese sauce ties everything together beautifully. The dish is versatile and can be enjoyed as a comforting meal at home or packed into meal prep bowls for a convenient and delicious lunch option. The recipe's straightforward instructions make it accessible for home cooks of all skill levels, and the resulting dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

    Why trust this Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowls Recipe:

    This recipe offers a delightful combination of cheesy cheddar sauce, tender chicken breasts, and crisp broccoli over a bed of fluffy rice. The cheddar cheese sauce is made from scratch, ensuring a rich and creamy texture that perfectly coats the chicken and broccoli. The use of fresh garlic and sharp cheddar cheese adds depth of flavor to the dish. With a focus on quality ingredients and homemade elements, this recipe promises a satisfying and flavorful meal that's worth trusting.

    Share your thoughts on this Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Bowls Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
    FAQ:
    What type of rice is best for this recipe?
    I recommend using long-grain white rice for this recipe. It has a fluffy texture and mild flavor that pairs well with the cheesy broccoli and chicken.
    Can I use frozen broccoli instead of fresh?
    Yes, you can definitely use frozen broccoli if that's what you have on hand. Just make sure to thaw and drain it before sautéing.
    Can I make the cheese sauce ahead of time?
    Absolutely! You can make the cheese sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. When you're ready to use it, gently reheat it on the stovetop, stirring constantly until it's smooth and creamy again.
    Can I use a different type of cheese for the sauce?
    Yes, feel free to experiment with different cheeses. While the recipe calls for sharp cheddar, you can try using other cheeses like Gruyère, Swiss, or even a blend of cheeses for a unique flavor.
    How can I reheat the meal prep bowls?
    To reheat the meal prep bowls, simply microwave them in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the contents are heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) until warm.

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