Parmesan-Baked Chicken and Broccoli

Just so you know, your personality never goes on vacation.  Make sure anyone you're planning to vacation with (or marry) knows this in advance.

In my case, if you haven't figured it out by now, I have some OCD bossypants Type A tendencies.  At home and in the kitchen, at work or on vacation, it's how I operate.  It's in the genes.

Fortunately, I'm lucky that my husband accepts (and even loves!) these genes.  He might even be on board with tiny Type A rugrats some day.  At least that's the implied ultimatum I gave him on our wedding day:  Take it or leave it!  Right, honey?

So, what does Type A on vacation in Disney World look like?  Ummm, well.  I'm a terrible relaxer!  I don't like to slow down, and there's so much to do in Disney!  Who wants to stay still?  Wait...right?

I'm proud to say that after three days we fully explored two theme parks, watched a few parades, had several fantastic meals, got some sun, and wrapped it up with the Super Bowl.  That mid-afternoon jalapeno margarita pit stop in EPCOT?  Totally necessary.

But don't ask me about the several mid-afternoon ice cream and beer stops.

It was an awesome weekend, courtesy of my generous and fun-loving parents, but now it's back to work and back to routine.  So, in an attempt to get a leg up on dinner options for the week, we stopped for groceries on the way home from the airport (before we even rescue-fed the cat, oops).

What do you do when you're at the grocery store with no list and no dinner ideas?  You pick out a few veggies that you like, a few different types of meat, and you hope to God your pantry has a few staples to fill in the gaps.

Then you resign to focus on how to slap it all together while on the treadmill or in a boring work meeting.

So, in the spirit of search engine optimization, I've decided to name this recipe "Parmesan-Baked Chicken and Broccoli" not "Off-the-top-of-my-head-at-the-grocery-store Casserole with Some Sort of Versatile Meat and Casserole-Friendly Vegetable."

You'll thank me for the diplomatic name when you fall hard for this one and try to search for it later.

This is reality, people.  This is an easy, uncomplicated, off-the-cuff, real-life, winter weeknight dinner.  How's that for adjectives?  Aren't those good words?  Yes.

And when you decide to use pork or turkey instead of chicken, or toss in any other vegetables that look yummy because you really just need to get home to feed your black and white tuxedo cat, I'll totally support that decision!

I'll stick by you, I promise.  Our personalities are for life!

Parmesan-Baked Chicken and Broccoli
Adapted from
Yields 6 servings

1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
2 bags of boil-in-a-bag instant brown rice
1/3 c dry white wine
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 c low-sodium, fat free chicken broth
2 tbs corn starch
1/3 c parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  Steam the broccoli in a steamer basket inside the pan (or cook directly in the boiling water) for 2-3 minutes.  Drain, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the broccoli green.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add the onion, and saute for 2 minutes, or until soft.  Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.

Open the bags of rice and add them to the pan.  Saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the white wine, and saute for an additional minute, or until the liquid is absorbed and incorporated.

Scoop the rice mixture into a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish, and spread into an even layer.  Top with the reserved broccoli and the chicken.  Combine the broth and corn starch in a small bowl, and mix well with a whisk.  Pour the broth/corn starch mixture into the casserole dish over the rice and chicken.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle evenly with the cheese, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

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