Good skillet dinners like this cheesy broccoli rice skillet dinner, are essential to your meal planning repertoire. They’re simple, relatively fast, and low mess, which makes them perfect for busy families committed to eating home-cooked dinners together.
I wasn’t always a “skillet dinners girl” but I come to love them more and more every day.
Several months ago, my slow cooker conked out on me, so while I love my Instant Pot, I also started doing more stove top meals, and found them to work really well for me.
Of course, everyone has a different situation, and I know that we do life a little differently here in the New household than you might. Namely, we both work from home (or on the farm), and we homeschool. So for us, our main meal of the day is usually lunch instead of supper.
So at around 11:00-11:30, I start putting lunch together while the kids sit at the kitchen table doing their school work – near enough that I can help them with whatever they might need while I’m cooking.
And I really like that routine.
This cheesy broccoli rice skillet dinner is one I start closer to 11:30 because it comes together fairly quickly. It’s also worth noting that I don’t spend the whole half hour cooking – once you get the rice added, it’s hands off for 20 minutes or so.
So we’re talking about 10-15 minutes of active cooking time.
My mom used to make a version of this recipe that I still think of very fondly. In her version, she added Cheez Wiz, and steamed broccoli to cooked rice, stirred it up, and used it as a side dish.
In my version, we don’t use Cheez Wiz. I don’t even know if that stuff is made anymore. 😅 And we focus more on protein and vegetables to make this a well-rounded one-pot meal.
It’s just as good as I remember it, with all the cheesy goodness and texture, but made with real cheese and ingredients that I consider to be more wholesome.
Obviously I love this recipe for it’s delicious comfort-food flavor and texture. But also important to me is its adaptability to what I have available, such as swapping meats or types of rice. And secondly, it’s important because I consider this a very frugal recipe. Rice is very inexpensive. The quantity of meat and cheese can be raised or lowered to accommodate your budget.
These are qualities I look for in most of my dinner recipes, such as stuffed cabbage casserole, and even turkey shepherd’s pie. As much as I’d love to have Sous Vide pork loin every day, it’s more of a treat.
Cheesy Broccoli Rice Skillet Dinner
Some notes about this recipe:
The protein you use is flexible. I use sausage from our pasture-raised hogs, which uses quality ingredients, and I love the flavor. You could also use your favorite sausage, hamburger, ground turkey, or chopped chicken. Just be aware that it will impact your flavor.
- Don’t be afraid to drop the cheese for dairy-free family members. I wouldn’t call the cheese in this recipe optional, but my husband does as he avoids most dairy, and still loves it.
- Feel free to make grain swaps. While I feel like the texture of white jasmine rice is unbeatable, brown rice is also good (allow for more cooking time), and quinoa is delicious too.
- Onions and peppers add so much flavor to this skillet dinner, but if you have picky eaters, they can be left out. My kids absolutely love this meal without the peppers, so I often make it that way for them, and then make a separate version for my husband and I. That may be questionable parenting, but it’s nice to give them a meal they truly enjoy rather than half enjoy sometimes, ya know?
- In the recipe below, you’ll see that we want a little extra water left in the skillet after the rice is finished cooking. That helps your cheese melt in to become a little “saucy”. It’s delicious!
Cheesy Broccoli Rice Skillet Dinner
- 1 lb of sausage or ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper (of any color – I like orange), seeded and chopped
- 2 cups white rice, uncooked
- 3–4 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Brown sausage or ground beef with onions and peppers
- Drain if needed
- Add rice to skillet and toast for a minute or two
- Pour in chicken broth and 1 cup of water
- Cover, and bring to a simmer
- Let simmer 10 minute
- Add broccoli without stirring
- Continue simmering until rice is done, adding more water if necessary if the rice dries out
- When rice is done, you want a little water left in the pan, this starchy water helps emulsify the cheese, making it more “saucy” as you mix it in. So if your rice is dry when it’s done, stir in about half a cup
- Stir in cheese
- Season with salt and pepper
- Serve hot
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