I am loving this casserole. I have made it several times in the last few months. Not only is it so easy to make, but the flavor is AMAZING. It's extra cheesy and you get great stretchy cheese pulls as you take spoonfuls!!!
I always seem to have a little of everything leftover in my fridge, especially chicken, ham and Swiss cheese and this casserole helps me use up some of those ingredients. I wanted an extra-creamy sauce, but didn't want to use canned soup. Not that I'm against that, because I use canned soups all the time, but I wanted something different for this casserole. The sauce is a piece of cake to make and only takes a few minutes, it's well worth it. The buttery cracker topping is the perfect finishing touch.
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Chicken Cordon Bleu Rice Casserole
3 c. cooked rice
2 c. cooked diced chicken
1 c. chopped deli ham
1 1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 c. milk (I use 1%)
3 oz. cream cheese
1 Tbl. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp. table salt)
1 Tbl. unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. onion powder
pepper, to taste
3/4 tsp. chicken bouillon powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the Sauce: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, add the milk, cream cheese, flour and kosher salt to a blender and blend until smooth. When skillet is hot, melt one Tablespoon of butter and add the minced garlic, stirring constantly for 20 seconds or until fragrant. Pour blended milk mixture into the hot skillet and stir. Stir in the Italian seasoning, onion powder, pepper and chicken bouillon powder. Continue stirring until sauce it thickened and creamy, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the cooked rice, cooked chicken and chopped ham. Pour half of the mixture into a greased 8X8-inch baking pan (or you can use a 9x13) and top with half of the shredded cheese. Pour remaining chicken mixture over the top and cover with the remaining cheese. In a small ziplock, combine crushed crackers and melted butter and toss together until evenly coated. Pour cracker mixture over top of the casserole. Bake in preheated oven, un-covered, for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and serve. Serves: 4-6.