· 3 cups instant brown rice· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter· 1 large sweet onion, diced· 1 cup finely chopped carrots· 1 cup finely chopped celery· 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic· 1 teaspoon salt· 1 teaspoon dry thyme· ½ teaspoon pepper· 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth· 4 ounces cream cheese, whipped or regular cut into chunks· 1 pound chicken breast, cut into cubes· 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed· 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese· Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Step 1Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 12 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread rice on top.Step 2Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, thyme and pepper, and cook stirring often until the vegetables are just starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape vegetable mixture out onto the rice, covering evenly.Step 3Add broth to the skillet, increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and whisk in cream cheese until melted.Step 4Top rice and vegetables with chicken and peas. Pour in broth mixture, gently so as not to disturb the chicken and rice too much.Step 5Cover with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the rice has absorbed the liquid, about 45 minutes.Step 6Remove foil, top with cheese and return to the oven until melted, about 10 minutes. Let rest uncovered for 10 minutes and serve hot garnished with parsley if desired.