Friday, March 1, 2013

Mom's Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

You know those friends you have who make you laugh just thinking of the hilarious memories you have made together?  Well then there are those people who make you snort while laughing so hard you are no longer making any noise.  

That is my friend Cathy.  

She is the only person I know who could write and entire college essay on the pros and cons of condiments and make it worthy of scholarships and accolades.  She is such a riot to be around and will have you in stitches with her quick wit and spot on sense of humor.  

Cathy and I have been friends since the summer before our freshman year in high school.  We went through our awkward phases of high school together long before either of us knew what a pair of tweezers and some well places highlights could do for our appearance.  

We stumbled our way through college with each other as a sounding board for the trials and tribulations that most 18 year old encounter the first time they are away from home for any extended period of time.  

We have seen each other through so many different highs and lows and through it all we have only gotten closer and kept on laughing!

Aside from always keeping me laughing, Cathy is one of the most generous souls I have ever met.  She gives of herself without ever asking of anything in return.  

People like that are quickly becoming few and far between.  

When I decided to do a series on my blog of budget friendly means Cathy was the first one to step up and send me some of her recipes!  Here is the first one from Cathy's lovely list that I thought I would try!  Enjoy and thank Cathy Sue Cleavage....I love you! 

Just so you know, I added the broccoli and mushrooms myself just because I love them but you could leave them out of add any other veggies you like, so long as they do not produce to much liquid (i.e. I wouldn't use frozen spinach)

Mom's Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
6 oz Uncle Ben's Wild Rice, prepared by directions on the box
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup flour
1 c. whole milk (I think the original recipe called for Half and Half, but I always use milk b/c that's what's always in the fridge. And it lightens it up a smidge for just a weeknight meal)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon season salt
dash of pepper
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 crown of broccoli, trimmed
1 small container fresh baby bellas, sliced

Cook chicken at 375 degrees.  I add a pat of butter to the top of each breast topped with a little salt and pepper and then I put some chicken broth in the bottom of the dish to keep the chicken from drying out.
Melt butter over medium heat in a pot or dutch oven.
Add onion and cook till transparent.
Add flour, stir and let cook for 1 minute.
Gradually add milk and chicken stock 1/4 c. at a time, switching off and stirring constantly. 
**(This is where you could deviate from the recipe and use whatever white sauce you usually make. But, I have to say that I love the combination of the chicken stock and milk. The milk lightens it up a bit but still tastes creamy and rich and the stock adds a depth of flavor that's awesome. This is how I always make my white sauces now.)  Stir in pepper and season salt.
Add raw broccoli, mushrooms, cooked rice and cooked chicken.
Stir in parsley
Pour into a greased pan and bake at 425 for 30 min or till bubbly.
**** if you're bringing it to someone else for dinner, stop at the second-to-last step and include the baking instructions (425 for 30 min or bubbly) when you drop it off
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  1. Ruthie – I just discovered your blog and I love it! This meal looks great. One question – about how long do you cook the chicken?

    1. Thanks Julie!! I cooked the chicken at 375 for about 30 minutes.