Archive for March 6th, 2018

Yummy Casserole!

March 6, 2018

It never hurts to have a few quick and easy casserole recipes at your disposal (or prepared and in your freezer) for those times when you just need a quick and easy meal. Here’s one with wild rice that you can make with chicken (regular or Cajun-spiced) or shrimp.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Ingredients
1 package (2-1/4-ounce) of sliced almonds
2 boxes (6.2-ounce each) of fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice
1/4 cup of butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cups of cooked chicken, diced
2 cans (10-3/4-ounce each) of cream of mushroom soup
2 cans (8-ounce each) chopped water chestnuts (drained)
1 container (8-ounce) sour cream
1 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
4 cups (16-ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups of breadcrumbs

Directions
1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan for 4-6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant (stir occasionally).

2.  Prepare your rice according to the directions on the package.

3.  While rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the celery and onions and saute for 10 minutes (or until tender).  Stir in the chicken and the next six ingredients, the rice, and 3 cups of the cheese.  Spoon this mixture into a lightly greased 15×10 baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and top with the toasted almonds before returning to the oven for an additional five minutes.

To Make Ahead
Follow steps 2 and 3 above then cover with aluminum foil and freeze for up to one month.  Remove from freezer and allow to stand at room temperature for one hour.  Toast your almonds as directed in step 1, then bake your casserole (covered) at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking for 55-75 minutes (or until thoroughly heated.  Sprinkle with 1 cup (4-ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese and toasted almonds and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Or you can try these tasty variation:

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole
Substitute 2 pounds of peeled and deveined , medium-sized raw shrimp (41/50 count) for the chicken; 2 cups (8-ounces) of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and 2 cups (8-ounces) of grated Parmesan cheese for the cheddar cheese; and 1 cup of dry white wine for the milk.

Cajun Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Omit the salt and the pepper.  Reduce the chicken to 2-1/2 cups.  Prepare as directed, sauteing 1 pound of chopped andouille sausage, 1 diced green bell pepper, with the celery in step 3.   Stir in 1 can (15-ounce) of black-eyed peas (drained) and 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning into the rice mixture.