Cheesy Zucchini Chicken and Rice Bake



  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. When the oil shimmers, add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until the zucchini is golden, 5-8 minutes.
  5. Remove the zucchini from the skillet and set aside.
  6. To the skillet, add the remaining oil and the onion.
  7. Cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Cook until the chicken is seared, 2-3 minutes.
  10. Add the butter, garlic, rice, orzo, and thyme, and cook until golden and toasted, 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
  12. Add the zucchini back to the skillet. Add the cayenne and a large pinch each of salt and pepper.
  13. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is mostly cooked.
  14. Once the rice is cooked, stir in 1/2 cup of the Havarti and 1/2 cup of the cheddar. If needed, transfer the rice to an oven-safe casserole dish.
  15. Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of each cheese over top the casserole. Sprinkle on the everything spice and chives.
  16. Transfer to the oven and bake 10-15 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted.
  17. Switch the oven to broil and broil 1-2 minutes, until the cheese on top is becoming crispy. Serve warm with fresh basil. 


To Make Ahead: Prepare the casserole through step 4. Let cool, then cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. To bake, remove from the fridge and let sit at room temp while the oven preheats. Bake as directed. 

To Freeze: Prepare the casserole through step 4. Let cool, then cover tightly. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for 2-3 hours. Bake as directed. 

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