Mr. How Sweet is a man of many moods. He is not a man of many foods. He likes to eat a lot of the same foods. Surprisingly, he likes to eat a lot of the same foods together. In casserole form.

If his food does not come in casserole form, he has been known to mix and mash it together until it looks like it did. I think I’ve heard of other people doing this… other people who are 3-years old.

Don’t mind this slop-pile mess of ugliness. It may not be pretty, but it has a… delicious personality.

Some of the most unattractive foods are the tastiest. Just look at chocolate-covered bacon.

It really doesn’t get much easier than this. You can throw any ingredient in that you would like. I’m willing to bet that you will throw in more vegetables, but I won’t hold that against you.

In fact, I bet you can hide lots of veggies in here for veggie-haters. Except for me, of course. I’m a vegetable sleuth. You can’t fool me.
Not only is the rice bake fast and easy, it is healthy and nutritious too. It’s packed with lots of protein from the yogurt, chicken, beans and cheese. And other good stuff from the brown rice.

This recipe was born out of my desire to think outside the boring chicken box again. And to save Mr. How Sweet from a lifetime of plain, dry, flavorless chicken. I know I’ve said it before, but that just isn’t happening in this house. Even if it he wants it to. I wear the pants.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

serves 4-6

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and shredded

4 cups cooked brown rice

3/4 cup frozen corn

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup plain greek yogurt (you can use sour cream)

1 4 ounce can green chilis

1/2 cup chunky salsa

1 cup grated cheddar & monterey jack cheese (low-fat cheese works too!) + more for topping if desired

cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for cilantro and mix thoroughly to combine. Make sure the yogurt and cheese is stirred in throughout the entire bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and top with extra cheese if you would like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

To make this process easier, I always have cooked chicken on hand, and use Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice. If you have those two things, this mean can be throw together in a matter of minutes! It can also easily be made ahead of time and reheated.

Who needs pretty foods?

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158 Responses to “Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake.”

  1. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — November 18, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

    for some reason, my husband likes things like that too. I could have a dinner on a plate all separated and he could put up his nose at it. However, if I mashed it all together and drowned it in some sort of sauce, he’d be alllll over it.


  2. #
    Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun — November 18, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    Saved for post baby easy meal recipe. :D

    And even though you say its not an attractive meal, you still make it look like one.


  3. #
    Pam — November 18, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    I agree – sometimes the ugliest foods are the most delicious, but there isn’t anything ugly about your casserole – very colorful & looks delicious!


  4. #
    Courtney — November 18, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    I think you’ve also saved me from boring dry chicken! Hooray, this looks awesome! :)


  5. #
    Melissa — November 18, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

    Yum! This looks awesome! I made your Enchilada Lasagna the other night & added green chiles, so this is basically a variation plus rice. Will be making it soon!!!

    BTW, is it awful that I like to take something that is already super carby (rice bake, tortilla-filled lasagna) and scoop it up with tortilla chips???


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

      Of course not. It’s an excellent idea.


  6. #
    Marisa @Loser for Life — November 18, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

    I agree, Jessica! Some of my sloppiest foods are the most tasty!

    Love this recipe! Hmmm…wonder if I can get my kids to eat it, too!


  7. #
    Estela @ Weekly Bite — November 18, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

    I happen to love casseroles! One dish meals are the best :)


  8. #
    Krystina (Basil & Wine) — November 18, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

    Some of the most unattractive foods are the tastiest. See: Indian food.


  9. #
    MelissaNibbles — November 18, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

    I mix all my food together. I’m not 3 though, I’m 5.


  10. #
    Rebecca - Thru Thin and Thick — November 18, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

    that looks delicious!! and you may have solved my conundrum as to what to make for dinner tonight!

    you know, since I have a freezer full of chicken, and more chicken!


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

      Let me know if you make it!


  11. #
    Michele @ Healthy Cultivations — November 18, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

    This looks really good. You can’t go wrong with cheese baked in the oven… I love how bits of the cheese get just a little crusty! Oh. So. Good.


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

      That’s my favorite part too!


  12. #
    Lauren — November 18, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

    Yes… I think my husband could eat BBQ chicken pizza every day of the week and not tire of it! This casserole looks great – and I don’t typically go for casseroles. Great recipe!


  13. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — November 18, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    I love chicken and veggie-loaded casseroles, especially in the winter when it’s cold and raw veggies don’t satisfy my need for hot food. This sounds lovely! I really need to get some of the Uncle Ben’s rice though – I have regular brown rice that takes forever to cook – hence the reason I don’t get through it very fast – patience is not one of my strong points!


  14. #
    Talia @Texas Gunslinger — November 18, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

    Oh man, this looks phenom! I am SUCH a rice girl. I could never have another pasta dish as long as I live (which would break my Italian husband’s heart) and I don’t really eat bread, but I LOVE rice and anything with rice in it is a winner in my book…especially casseroles! YUM! :)


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

      I totally get it… bread and pasta aren’t my drugs of choice either!


  15. #
    Liz @ Blog is the New Black — November 18, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

    Hahahahaha, vegetable sleuth. I think I love you.


  16. #
    Peggy — November 18, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

    This doesn’t look like an ugly mess at all! It’s beautiful and I bet it was super tasty too!


  17. #
    Heather — November 18, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

    girl, i’m about to post an ugly mess on my blog today too. yours look incredible next to it!


  18. #
    Victoria (District Chocoholic) — November 18, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

    This *is* pretty food. It has cheese AND greek yogurt. And green chiles! Oh to be back in New Mexico. I think I know what I’m making for the day after Thanksgiving. I mean, you said it’s healthy, so it’s totally cool to eat the whole thing for lunch on Black Friday, right?


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

      Oooh you could make it on Black Friday with leftover turkey!


      • Victoria (District Chocoholic) — November 18th, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

        And bonus, when I go shopping, I won’t buy clothes for myself because I won’t want to try anything on after eating the whole thing. Money-saving tips.

  19. #
    Jil @ Big City, Lil' Kitchen — November 18, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    hahaha I love this post! Too funny.


  20. #
    thehealthyapron — November 18, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

    Oooo after our vegetarian week…I want to make this!


  21. #
    Sara P — November 18, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

    First off….just want to say that I love the blog and all of the recipes (even though I am a vegetarian! LOL).

    Secondly, I was going to say that my husband is very similar to yours. He enjoys throwing all of his food together and if he had it his way, it would be covered in cheese and eaten with a home made tortilla. Did I mention that we live in Texas? :) I made something very similar to this the other day, but instead of using greek yogurt, I used green chile tomatillo enchilada sauce and it turned out fabulous! I would highly recommend it! Sometimes I think the best recipes are the ones that are invented and made without any sort of structure! :)

    Thanks for filling my day with wonderful recipes! :)



    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

      Thank you for reading! That is so funny – last night while we were eating, I turned to him and said “I bet this would be good with some enchilada sauce too!” Great minds think alike!


  22. #
    Tracy — November 18, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

    This looks like the kind of dish my hubby will love. I’ll definitely have to give it a try!


  23. #
    CaSaundra — November 18, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

    Oo this looks good–sometimes comfort food comes best in casserole dishes :-) May not be pretty, but almost always tasty!


  24. #
    Alina @ Duty Free Foodie — November 18, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

    That look totally amazing!

    I am putting this on my list of recipes to make for dinner.

    I heart cheesy goodness.


  25. #
    Erica — November 18, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

    Bakes rock. Lots of leftovers. I like to make these at the start of a very busy week. That way, if time gets too crunched, leftovers are easy to grab and reheat.


  26. #
    Kim in MD — November 18, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

    Casseroles are not always the most attractive food, but they sure are good! YUM! :-)


  27. #
    Leah @ Why Deprive? — November 18, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

    I love casseroles! My mom always made them when I was a kid, so that’s probably why. They feel very nostalgic to me.
    Having less dishes to wash is nice too. :)


  28. #
    Jami — November 18, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

    Ha Ha Ha! I think your husband and mine may be related! It’s good to know I am not alone. :)


  29. #
    Jenna — November 18, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

    Drool. Just sitting here looking at that makes me want lunch right now. Maybe I will just detour to Moe’s today because looking at the black beans and cheese is causing my mouth to salivate.


  30. #
    Ellen@FirednFabulous — November 18, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

    Black beans, chicken, cheese, salsa…so many of my favorite things all in one dish! I’m like Mr. HS, I eat the same things over and over. AND I drink Diet Coke over the sink ;)


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

      You’d get along fabulously!


  31. #
    Katie @ Healthy Heddleston — November 18, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

    Looks delicious Jessica! I love meals like this where you can just through things all together bake and you’ve got something yummy!


  32. #
    Shanna @ Shanna Like Banana — November 18, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

    “cheese” and “bake” will get me every time!


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

      Me too… me too.


  33. #
    Danielle — November 18, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    Yum, this looks so good, and definitely something my husband will like. I think this will be a dinner for this weekend! Thanks!


  34. #
    EatLiveRun — November 18, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

    I’m going to make this for Almanzo next week…he’ll loooove it!


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

      Let me know if you try it!


  35. #
    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — November 18, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

    I love these kinds of dishes. I make a similar one and it’s great because husband is happy and it lasts for a few days, not just one night!


  36. #
    vanillasugar — November 18, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

    i love these dishes. especially when i’ve made extra and planned ahead to freeze them for those nights when i have no time to cook and want serious comfort food.


  37. #
    Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes — November 18, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

    love the “healthified” take on a chicken and rice casserole…Most have so many calories creeping through them that I never bother making them..just give me dessert instead :) Thanks for sharing…
    cathy b. @ brightbakes


  38. #
    nico — November 18, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

    I love this! It looks like “Mexican Lasagna”, but I hate when people use that name because it doesn’t really make sense … Mexican Italian? I don’t think so. But this DOES look pretty; probably because of the color you add with the cilantro. It is 8:30 am, and I am so craving this.


  39. #
    Casper — November 18, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

    While I can appreciate some of my foods being eaten as an individual component, I too often will mix my food together. Give me eggs, hash browns, and sausage, and ketchup and guess what you get! It all mixed together and thrown on some toast! Yummy! Some things taste better on their own but some taste better mixed together with the other foods they are meant to be with :)


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

      Well, that does sound good mixed together. :)


  40. #
    Jamie @ Food in Real Life — November 18, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

    I’m not much of a casserole person, but this sounds really good to me. You also made it look pretty on that colorful plate with the fresh herbs! SOLD!


  41. #
    Blond Duck — November 18, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

    I would love to eat that. But I know Ben won’t touch it. Sigh.


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

      He won’t?! I’m shocked! It’s man food. What’s in it that he wouldn’t like? You are right – you and Mr. How Sweet do have the same taste buds. :)


  42. #
    Moni'sMeals — November 18, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

    Yum! pretty no, but I bet it tastes incredible! hehe. Total man food! :)
    I like the twist on using Greek yogurt.


  43. #
    Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) — November 18, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

    You did it ! ….you made a pile of casserole look pretty :D


  44. #
    mags — November 18, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

    Looks delicious. And you’re right… one could hide a lot of veggies in there if one wanted to.


  45. #
    Ashley — November 18, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

    Oh this looks delicious! Yum! Yum! Yum!


  46. #
    Jenna — November 18, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

    Being from Minnesota, I love a good casserole/hot dish/bake. They are really the ugliest meals you will ever come by, but the tastiest. I’d take tasty over pretty anyday.


  47. #
    Kacy — November 18, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

    I can’t think of any veggies I would want in there because it looks great as is!


  48. #
    Eliana — November 18, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

    This looks perfect to me. Who needs pretty foods when there’s tasty foods?


  49. #
    Sues — November 18, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

    I think this looks perfectly pretty! Also, I like that Mr. How Sweet mashes his food together. It’s SO much better than people who can’t stand their food touching. He likes the “marriage” of flavors :)


  50. #
    The Menu Mama — November 18, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

    Yummy! This looks great. I think casseroles are fantastic but my husband is not usually a fan. I think he would go for this, though!



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