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Chicken and Rice Casserole

I typically save casseroles for the fall and winter months, but with the cool, rainy days we have been having, I have made this dish a few times this summer.  I like to serve this with a side of green beans or broccoli.  As with all dishes, tailor the ingredients to your liking!  Enjoy! --Emily (July 9, 2015)

Ingredients:
Basic cream sauce (~3 c)*        3 c cooked brown rice
~3 c cooked, diced chicken       2 TBSP lemon juice
1 can diced water chestnuts     1 c shredded cheese
½ sleeve crushed crackers       2 TBSP melted butter

Directions:
Combine cream sauce and lemon juice in a 3 quart baking dish; add water chestnuts, chicken, rice, and cheese, stirring gently with a rubber spatula.  In a small, separate bowl, mix the crushed crackers and butter; spoon over the chicken-rice mixture.  Bake for ~30 minutes at 375°F, or until the casserole is hot and bubbly.

Recipe for Basic Cream Sauce:
Ingredients:                                      
¼ c butter                         ¼ c flour
1 ½ c milk                         1 ½ c chicken stock (on sale this week!)
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: Fresh minced garlic (or garlic powder) and dried parsley to taste.

Directions:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat (if adding fresh garlic, do so now, heating for ~2 minutes).  Add the flour; whisk until bubbles form and cook for ~2-3 minutes. Gradually add in the liquid, whisking constantly.  Continue heating and whisking until thickened.  Add dried parsley if using.  Season with salt and pepper (note: I typically add around 1 1/2 to 2 tsp since the homemade chicken stock is unsalted). 


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