Snowed some last night. Interesting patterns on the chicken fence..
Cold and 16 degrees F here on the Prairie this morning. Supposed to be warming up in the middle of the week to the mid 40's . Days like this are good ones for making one of our favorite dishes, chicken and rice casserole. It's pretty easy to put together, basic ingredients, and it is in the oven at a low temperature for 3 to 3.5 hours. SO...you get the added advantage of the tantalizing aromas swirling around your house for most of the afternoon. It is easy, it is hearty, and it reheats well. Since I am always looking for ways to stretch the food budget, I really like that you can make this casserole with your choice of chicken pieces. You could use a cut-up fryer, or all boneless skinless breasts, or like I do usually-leg and thigh quarters. Our local stores have bags of the leg and thigh pieces on sale regularly for anywhere from 49-69 cents a pound. You cannot buy usable protein at a better price than that. Even dried beans, which are a good combinable protein are more than that these days! When they post the sale, I will buy from 20-50 pounds (calm down-they come in 10 lb bags!) and bring it home, wash the pieces, and repack it into dinner sized portions. I freeze it and there you are. I always have it on hand. We like dark meat. If you don't, buy the boneless skinless breasts. (I buy those too, when I find them on sale at $1.99/pound. ) A note: this is one of the few times that I use things like canned soups. I simply have not found a better or more economical way to do it and get the same wonderful taste.
Ingredient List for Dragon Woman's chicken and rice casserole
2 cups uncooked rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
2 soup cans water
6 thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 stalk finely chopped celery
3/4 cup slivered almonds
salt and pepper (preferably fresh ground)
granulated garlic (optional)
1 stick melted butter
chicken of your choice--8 breasts or a cut up chicken or 6 legs and thighs
Note: I usually use long grain brown rice. It's nutrition content is superior, it's taste is heavenly-all nutty and chewey. However, you can use white rice or whatever you like, the measurements stay the same. If you insist on using white rice, I would recommend Basmati, which smells like buttered popcorn as it cooks, or Jasmine rice, which is also good.
Butter a 9x13 baking pan. Pour the dry rice in the bottom. Add the cans of soup, mix in the water, mushrooms, celery, onions and almonds. Mix this concoction as well as you can. Dip the chicken pieces in melted butter, and lay on top of the rice mixture. Season the chicken pieces with the salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Put this pan into a preheated 250 degree oven and bake for 3 hours or so.
Get all your housework done while it's in the oven...or read a really good book. I have just started a new Amy Tan book called "Saving Fish From Drowning"...so I'll be over there in the wing back chair with a cup of tea beside me.
I usually serve this with a simple salad or a big helping of home grown and canned green beans. Hubby is partial to those green beans, but I rarely ask him. lol I check my pulse and see what sounds good to me today. He is always a willing participant in this experiment. I rarely serve bread with it, because of all the starch and carbs from the rice...but you do whatever feels good.
Let me know how you like it! (It's what we're having for supper tonight!)