Casseroles are beautiful things. Rather like preparing for Lent, you take whatever you have in your cupboards, combine them in a pan and bake it for thirty minutes. In this instance, I decided to make a chicken and rice casserole because those are the two principle things I had in my larder besides spaghetti and meatballs.
With any rice dish, it is important to start with the rice. While it is cooking, you are free to put everything else together. Since Kimmy got me a rice cooker for Christmas, this freed up my stove to cook the chicken. I decided on boiling it because I thought I might save the broth for something later. I also set the oven to preheating.
I then unpacked the Christmas present from Greg's family, a food processor, which I used to chop the chicken. I did not turn it into chicken goo like my mother did when she went a little chop happy with her first food processor. Learn from others' mistakes, children.
Since the rice was still cooking, I combined the chicken with a really old can of cream of mushroom soup that has been sitting in my cupboard since who knows when, and a can of green beans, which had not been sitting there half as long as the soup. Once the rice finished, I added that, too, and stirred it all together with a giant spoon.
I then went back to the cupboard to see what else I could throw in and settled on a few handfuls of slivered almonds that have also been sitting there a while, but not from lack of use. Seriously, it's like the never ending bag of slivered almonds! (If only. Those things are going up in price.) I also sprinkled some Italian bread crumbs over-top, finally finishing off one of the canisters. There's one more to go, so expect to see more of these crumbs in the future.
With the oven heated to 350F, I popped the casserole in and set the timer for 30 minutes. When it was finally finished, I eagerly dug in and ended up devouring about a third of the casserole in that first sitting. I wasn't really sure how adding the green beans would turn out, but they were delicious! And definitely added some much needed variety to the dish. I think the softer texture of the canned beans worked better than frozen or fresh would have.
Sadly, the casserole did not last long. It was just too tasty. But it was a great way to end 2011! I've got some ideas going for 2012, but they may take some time to implement. Be sure to check out my newest endeavor Haiku A Day every now and again while relaxing with some fine food or a beverage of your choice. I will always be writing! I hope you keep reading.
Happy New Year!