Saturday, May 18, 2013

All-In Chicken Dinner

I'm always saying to use whatever you have the house, so this week I found myself with chicken and rice.  This dish works equally as well with leftover turkey, and while I haven't tried it with other meats I anticipate it would work just fine.  I call it "all-in" because I go through my pantry and vegetable drawer and try to use what I have on-hand.  That's not to say that you have to do this, and you can just as easily follow the detailed recipe below and have a great meal in short order.

Not pretty but tastes great!
The recipe is easy and quick to make, particularly if you are starting with leftover chicken and rice.  If not, then you must begin by making the rice according to package directions and poaching the chicken until cooked through, which you can certainly do well ahead of time.  In fact if you are thinking of making this for an after-work meal, then do prepare the chicken and rice a day or more ahead and store it in the refrigerator until ready for use.  The entire meal will be ready in under an hour.

I believe the original recipe came from Paula Dean, although as I said above, I make variations on the original based on what I have on hand.  Feel free to do so adding or subtracting the vegetables as you prefer.  If you do add other vegetables and they are fresh, they may need to be cooked first as the finished dish doesn't bake that long in the oven.

I usually serve this dish with a side salad or a green vegetable.  Tonight it will be along side oven-roasted asparagus, as I'm trying to use that before it goes bad.  As you can tell, in our kitchen nothing goes to waste!

Ingredients
1 carrot peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 cup white mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed cream of celery soup
4 ounce jar pimentos
8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
2 14 1/2 ounce cans green beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup mayonnaise
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping
pinch of salt and pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F.  Microwave the carrots with a little water until tender, about five minutes.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about five minutes more.

Add the condensed cream of celery soup to a large mixing bowl and stir to loosen.  Transfer the ingredients from the skillet to the mixing bowl and stir to combine.  

Add all remaining ingredients to bowl except for the 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and stir together until thoroughly combined.

Makes 8-10 Adult Servings
Grease or spray a 4 quart casserole dish and pour in the mixture.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top.  Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling and center temperature is approximately 160F.  Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

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