Wednesday, February 03, 2016

the best chicken & rice casserole in all the land

i can't remember how old i was the first time my parents made this dish, but ever since my first taste it has been one of my favorites! a few years ago my parents gave me and my sister a family recipe book with a lot of our favorite recipes in it, so i figured it was time that i made this myself! before making this for the first time i had no idea what a roux was (#lazycooklife) or how much butter actually goes in this recipe! so it was a learning experience for me!

i will say that the recipe calls for a LOT of salt. Thomas loves salt on everything, but even he thinks it's a little salty tasting if you use the whole tablespoon (probably thanks to the sodium in the canned chicken)... so we plan to put less salt in the next time we make it. also, i normally don't like a lot of crunch or nuts in my food (#pickyeaterlife) but the water chesnuts & almonds really make this casserole, so keep those in! 


1 package Uncle Ben's fast-cooking long-grain wild rice
1/2 cup margarine
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 1/2 cup half and half
3 oz sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 package (2 1/2 oz) almonds, sliced (save some to top casserole with)

note: i would forego the salt, or at least half it, if using canned chicken

medium sauce pan
large pot
9x13 casserole dish


step 1) cook the rice in a medium sauce pan, per the instructions on the package and set aside.

step 2) make a roux using the butter, onion, flour, and broth. in a large pot, melt butter and saute onion until tender on medium heat. add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. add chicken broth and cook until it thickens and is bubbly.

step 3) take the pan off of the heat and stir in the rice, chicken, half & half, water chestnuts, most of the almonds, salt, and pepper into the large pan and mix well with the roux.

step 4) place mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan and top with remaining almonds. bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

this recipe is a little more involved than i normally like to make, because i'm a lazy cook! i did use canned chicken to save time, and it only took me about 40-45 minutes from start to finish. i didn't get the fast cooking rice so it took 20 minutes to cook, but that gave me time to get all of my other ingredients ready and figure out how to make a roux. now that i know what a roux is and how the recipe goes, i can see this being a quick meal to put together! plus, it is completely freezable, so next time someone is sick you can take them this instead of chicken noodle soup and they will probably love you forever!

note: after writing this post, i made the recipe a second time. this time around i used the fast cooking rice ;) i had everything chopped, stirred, cooked, in the oven, and everything rinsed off and in the dishwasher within 30 minutes, so i call that a win! also i cut the salt down to 1/2 tbsp and i liked it that way much better! especially if you use canned chicken, it's a safe bet to cut down on the salt or throw it out all together! 

are you a casserole person? if so, what are some of your favorite casseroles?

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