I baked a casserole right as the heat of summer set in. All the bloggers with an ounce of sense are posting popsicles and ice cream or salads and meals prepared without an ounce of heat.
Meanwhile, I crank up the oven. I tell myself I do this for readers in the Southern Hemisphere who might find their way to this space during their present winter. But really, I do this because I sometimes lack an ounce of sense.
Speaking of ounces, after writing this recipe tonight and seeing it called for 1/2 an 8 ounce package of cream cheese, I think I know why I liked this casserole so much. I am fairly certain I whisked the whole 8 ounce block into the mix.
And by fairly certain, I mean almost certain. Almost to the point of 100% certainty.
The flavor that shone thorough all of the cream cheese deliciousness was the lemon. I was surprised by its presence (just one lemon, juiced and zested, is called for), but it really made the dish.
I modified some of the measurements seen below from the original recipe by 1/4 to 1/2 cup or so, but given the nature of casserole, the recipe is fairly forgiving.
Unforgiving, unfortunately, is not a term I can apply to the current state of my pants vs. my waist after eating the equivalent of one block of cream cheese over a five-day period.
My advice to you to avoid such a predicament is to share this with family and friends. They’ll thank you for it. Enjoy!
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
- 2 medium leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced (1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup milk
- 1, 14½ ounce can or box of chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 lemon, juice and zest of
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1-2 pounds rotisserie chicken, skin removed
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- Optional garnishes: parsley and lemon zest
- Saute the carrots, leeks, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until tender, about 6 minutes.
- Add the milk, chicken broth, and flour to the skillet and stir until slightly thickened.
- Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat.
- Whisk in the cream cheese until melted.
- Stir in lemon juice and lemon peel and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the rice into a 2-quart baking dish.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over the rice, then gently press pieces of the torn chicken over the rice mixture.
- Stir the bread crumbs into the melted butter, then sprinkle over the casserole.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.
- If desired, sprinkle with fresh parsley and lemon zest before serving.