Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Busy season.  Hmmm, that sure is thr right way to describe this time of year.  Sometimes I feel like I'm pulled in a million different directions and by the end of the day my limbs look like Gumby's.  It's this feeling that usually has me pretty resigned to eat whatever boxed rice dish we can find in the back of the pantry when I get home from exercising or a meeting after a long day at work.  It's also this feeling that makes me want to say heck with dieting, let's just order a slice from the pizza spot in our neighborhood.  But even that takes planning and energy.  Ugghhhh!

This is when a good old fashioned casserole comes in handy!  And for you very efficient home cooks, a casserole that comes with its own make ahead tips like this one from Cooking Light.  I made this Sunday evening knowing we'd have plenty for the week ahead when cooking just wouldn't be a priority.  It was delish with a capital D!!!  I skipped on the margarine and just used some olive oil cooking spray when I lightly toasted the rice-and-vermicelli mix - you might as well cut out any additional fat if you can, right!  I also picked up a rotisserie chicken (BBQ flavor for its smokiness) from Bi-Lo and Mark shredded it for me skipping the entire saute the chicken for six minutes step.  I don't really like the texture of reheated cubed chicken, so if I'm making something I know will generate leftover, I use a rotisserie chicken.  I found that by the end of the baking time, the topping wasn't as crispy as I would have liked so I broiled it for a few minutes.  I am telling you, you will not feel like you're eating light when you try this dish.  It was creamy and hearty and just truly yummy!

What's your favorite casserole?  Aside from this one, mine is my dad's tuna casserole.  Mmmmm!

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)
1 (6.9-ounce) package one-third-less-salt chicken-flavored rice-and-vermicelli mix with chicken broth and herbs
1 tablespoon margarine
2 1/4 cups hot water
Vegetable cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup presliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat, reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/4 cup crushed multigrain crackers (about 6 crackers)
1 tablespoon margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Cook rice mix in a large nonstick skillet according to package directions, using 1 tablespoon margarine and 2 1/4 cups hot water. Remove mixture from skillet; set aside. Wipe skillet with a paper towel.

Coat the skillet with cooking spray, and place over high heat until hot. Add chicken, mushrooms, and garlic powder; sauté 6 minutes or until chicken loses its pink color. Combine rice mixture, chicken mixture, sour cream, pepper, and soup in a bowl; stir well. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Combine cracker crumbs, margarine, and poppy seeds; stir well, and sprinkle over chicken mixture. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Make-Ahead Tips: You can assemble the casserole ahead of time, omitting the cracker-crumb mixture; cover and chill in the refrigerator or freeze (thaw frozen casserole overnight in refrigerator). Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes; top with cracker-crumb mixture, and bake as directed.

Nutritional Information
Calories:334 (18% from fat)
Fat:6.8g (sat 1.6g,mono 2.2g,poly 2g)


  1. I am a big fan of turkey tetrazzini and baked ziti.

    that recipe looks very tasty! I may have to give it a whirl! :)

  2. Ok, I commented in one of my videos that casseroles are my FAVE!! Seriously, I love just about any kind of casserole. My mom makes this awesome biscuit casserole with hamburger meat, green peppers and onions, cheese and then puts Grands biscuits on top!!! I may have to post that recipe, now that I think about it :)

  3. Oh wow this sounds so good! We actually might have this for dinner tonight!

  4. That sounds wonderful; I LOVE casseroles for their ease and comfort. I am printing this and trying it soon!

  5. Oh my.... this looks delicious!!! I dont know if I can find the one-third-less-salt chicken-flavored rice-and-vermicelli mix with chicken broth and herbs. Ugh...any replacement ideas?

    I love casseroles! :)

  6. Silvia, good point. I could not find the low sodium either!! I used the regular, but I left like cutting out the margarine likely helped. Also, I used unsalted crackers for the topping to counterbalance the sodium in the rice mix.

    I hope that helps! I had it again for dinner tonight, and mmmmm!!!

  7. Yum. I love casseroles like this. I can't find gluten free cream of chicken or mushroom soups so casseroles are kind of off limits for me since that tends to be a common ingredient. :( But my fave was definitely a tuna casserole my mom made when we were growing up. It had egg noodles and was just delicious. :)

  8. I WILL be making this! Looks delish. Paris! How exciting! My best friend is there now and says it is amazing!



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