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5 ratings, avg : 5.00

Easy and comforting, this filling casserole makes a great midweek dinner. Cook the chicken and rice together to save time, and add some Greek yoghurt to the béchamel to lighten it up and give it some zing. Also, there are crackers involved, so read on…

First of all, Happy New Year! Let’s see what 2016 has in store for us! Did you have a good holiday? Are you all cooked out? Even if you are, I imagine you still need to make dinner now and again. If inspiration – or lack thereof – is your issue, I’m here to help. How about a casserole? It’s filling, it’s easy, it’s nutritious (especially when cooked from scratch like this one) and it’s comforting. Just right for dreary January evenings. It’s not the quickest dinner you can make, but it really is easy and worth the effort. What’s more, you can make a big one and keep it for the next day as well, either for dinner or a great packed lunch for the office.

Ok, I’m sure you are skimming past all this in order to get to the cracker part. Well, you’re here. I made two versions of this casserole. One with yoghurt added to the béchamel, and one without. One with a breadcrumb topping and one with a cracker topping. Notice I haven’t mentioned anything about diets throughout this post? Yeah, not there yet. So crackers. In the topping. Amazing. I’ve done it before, can’t remember when but it’s been a while (I’m trying to think why I left it so long). Anyway, so my second trial for this dish found me without bread, and rather than going without a topping I thought I’d use up some crackers I had leftover from my marathon holiday cheese-eating sessions. Not that they would have been wasted… I still have a log of goat’s cheese that I’m saving for a special occasion. Like a new episode of Law & Order SVU or something (what’s up with all the shows stopping suddenly?). Anyway, I’ve veered off track again. So yes, I bashed them up in a plastic baggie and mixed them in instead of stale breadcrumbs. You should also do this. The amount won’t kill your NY resolutions (it might pinch or poke them a bit), and the taste and crunchiness are definitely worth it.

I think I might be experimenting a bit more with casseroles. What is your favourite? Let me have some ideas!


plenty of salted water for boiling
375 gr long grain rice (the 10 minute cooking time kind)
700 gr chicken thighs, skinless, boneless, cut into 3 pieces each
75 gr butter
75 gr flour, plain
750 ml milk
3/4 tsp salt (depends on the cheese you use)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
200 gr Greek yoghurt
100 gr chesse, grated (I’ve used gruyere or cheddar, both good)
100 gr baby spinach leaves

For the breadcrumb topping (it’s good, but skip it and go to the next one. Really.)
80 gr stale breadcrumbs
40 gr cheese, grated
30 gr butter, melted
1 pinch salt (depends on the cheese you use)
1 pinch white pepper
1 pinch thyme, dried

For the cracker topping (hello)
100 gr crackers, bashed into fine crumbs
40 gr cheese, grated
50 gr butter, melted
1 pinch salt (depends on the cheese you use)
1 pinch white pepper
1 pinch thyme, dried

Show me more ideas and suggestions

You can switch the spinach and use peas (from frozen) or any other veg you fancy like broccoli.

Step 1

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add the chicken and the rice and boil on medium high till the rice is done (10 minutes). Drain and leave in the colander, sitting on top of the saucepan (you’ll need it later).

Step 2

In the meantime make the béchamel. Heat the butter over medium high till melted. Add the flour and stir continuously with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes. Turn heat to medium and switch spoon for a whisk. Add half the milk while whisking quickly, so it doesn’t go lumpy. When you’ve seen there are no lumps add the rest of the milk and switch back to the wooden spoon. Turn heat back up to medium high and keep stirring till it starts to thicken. When it does (about 5 minutes), take the pan off the heat and stir in the salt, white pepper, nutmeg, Greek yoghurt and cheese. Set aside.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 160C fan assisted (180C conventional). Set the colander next to the pan and transfer the chicken using your fingers to break it into smaller pieces. Add the rice, then the spinach and mix. Add the béchamel and stir well till incorporated. Pour mixture into a large baking dish and even out the top.

Step 4

In a small bowl mix the crackers (or breadcrumbs) with the cheese, butter, salt, pepper and thyme. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.

Step 5

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and slightly bubbling at the sides. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve with a green salad.

The Greek version of this recipe is sponsored, thus the packaging in the photograph. All products featured on TFC are tested by me, and I would gladly use them regardless of sponsorship. Opinions expressed are my own and are truthful.

5 ratings, avg : 5.00

So, what do you think? Leave me a comment!

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