Chicken And Rice Casserole
August 25, 2016
A few years ago, this dish was created and I believe it is Simply the Best Chicken and Rice Casserole! One of the ladies, at the bank where I worked, brought a chicken and rice casserole on food day. It had come from the freezer department at the grocery. To disguise that, she had placed it in her own casserole dish and baked it! Everyone ‘assumed’ she had made it. Clever!
Never having had this casserole before, as I ate, I realized that chicken and rice casserole had the possibility of being very good. This one, however, was pretty bland. The crunch of the slivered almonds in it was an interesting surprise. Contemplating how this dish could be improved, my search was on for a recipe.
This is the culmination of bits and pieces from a few different recipes, changing ingredients a little, and the end result is a very flavorful recipe.
Remembering this casserole the other day, I hurriedly searched through my binders of recipes and could not find it.
Yesterday, as Memphis slept, the binder with main dishes in it was searched page by page. There it was, a torn piece of paper with the handwritten recipe, ingredients on the front, and directions on the back. The evidence of some of the ingredients having been scratched out and changed was still there. Recipe here►Chicken and Rice Casserole.
One thing that hit me with the ‘frozen’ casserole was that the meat lacked much flavor. The chicken tenderloins in this recipe are seasoned before cooking and before adding them to the casserole. That is one of the reasons this is the best recipe for chicken and rice casserole!
Not only does the chicken have flavor! By including the leftover goodness from cooking them in the skillet to make the sauce, the sauce is even more flavorful.
See that? ▲ That is flavor left in the bottom of the pan! Adding the butter, flour, and thyme to this goodness in the pan makes a nice roux. The combination of milk and chicken broth added creates an even more flavorful sauce. ▼
The cooked chicken tenders were just sliced and added to the sauce.
In most of the recipes, frozen carrots were added. While frozen peas are delicious, I am not a fan of frozen carrots. They seem to be spongy. Yuk!
Instead, I used fresh carrots that were sautéed in a tablespoon of butter. Then a tablespoon of water was added and the skillet was covered with a lid until the carrots were crisp tender. (It did not take long!) The carrots continued to cook tender in the oven.
After layering the rice, the vegetables, and the almond slivers, the meat and sauce were poured on top. That was followed by grated cheese and soft bread crumbs, which were tossed with melted butter. Could it be much more simple?
If you are looking for a flavorful one-dish meal, this could be it! It can actually be prepared a few hours in advance and then baked for less than a half-hour. I am pretty much convinced this is Simply the Best Chicken and Rice Casserole!