creamy chicken rice casserole



1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled

1 cup long-grain white rice

1 (10-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables

2 (10-ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup

2 ounces Velveeta cheese, cut into chunks

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup Panko crumbs



You can poach the chicken or cook it in the slow cooker the night before.
To poach, place the chicken in a medium saucepan with the grated chicken bouillon cube. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring the water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Save the poaching liquid for the sauce. Remove the chicken and once it has cooled down a bit, cut it into small pieces.
To cook the chicken in the slow cooker, place it in a 6 quart slow cooker, add the crumbled stock cube and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook over low heat for 4 hours. Keep the cooking liquid, remove the chicken and when cool, cut it into small pieces.
If you are not ready to make the casserole dish, refrigerate the chicken and cooking liquid for up to 48 hours.

Cook the rice according to the package directions. Make sure to add salt (about 1/2 teaspoon) so that the rice is seasoned. This step can be done while the chicken is cooking to save time.
Microwave frozen vegetables, cooking them a little less than the recommended cooking time. They will cook more in the oven.
In a medium saucepan, combine the condensed chicken soup, 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid, the chicken, velveeta cheese, thyme and pepper. Heat until the cheese is melted.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
Add the mixture of rice, chicken, vegetables and chicken soup to the baking dish and stir gently to combine evenly.
In a small bowl, combine the panko crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the pan.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Uncover and cook for 10 minutes.