Introduction: Chicken Casserole

If you're like me and grew up in the Midwest loving savory foods and casseroles, just like chicken and rice, or are looking to try something new then this chicken casserole is the food for you. This chicken casserole is mainly chicken and rice based but also has some green beans to add to the homey country feeling. When I was a kid my grandparents would grow their own green beans at home and boy did those really add some flavor. Whether cooking for a potluck or preparing a few meals worth of food this casserole is a sure fire way to bring people to the table.

Step 1: Ingredients and Cookware

The ingredients you will need for this dish are as follows:

  • 6 oz package of wild rice (I prefer Uncle Ben's long grain wild rice)
  • 14.5 oz can of french-style green beans (Home grown works too)
  • 10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. can water chestnuts*
  • 1 oz. pkg. slivered almonds*

Most if not all of these ingredients can me found in just one trip to a grocery store. I personally get all of these ingredients from Meijer but your favorite local grocery will most likely carry these ingredients.

*The water chestnuts and slivered almonds are optional, my family prefers the casserole without nuts, but if you are looking for an extra crunch or just really love nuts feel free to include them.

The cookware you will need includes:

  • A large baking sheet
  • A 9x13 baking sheet
  • A pot to cook rice in (Alternatively a rice cooker will work)
  • A measuring cup
  • A stove
  • An oven
  • A colander (Or anything that can be used to drain cans)
  • A thermometer (Optional)

Step 2: Preparation

  1. The first step is to cook the four chicken breasts.
    • Bake the chicken at 400 Fahrenheit until it reaches an internal temperature of 165-170 Fahrenheit or roughly 30-40 minutes depending on how thick your chicken breasts are.
    • Seasoning is optional for the chicken because it will get most of its flavor later on in the process, but I season the breasts with salt and pepper.
    • Alternatively, you could heat up the chicken in a pan or boil it but I find that baking the chicken is usually the easiest way to go.
    • Once the chicken is cooked shred the breasts into small pieces (Included pictures should give you a size estimate).
    • Set the chicken aside for later.
  2. The next step is to prepare the rice.
    • Cook the rice on the stove top while the chicken bakes in the oven so that they will finish around the same time.
    • I cook the rice in a large pot so that I can later mix the ingredients in the same pot without losing any flavor, although it is not necessary.
    • Cook rice 5 minutes less than directed on package (unless it’s the 5 minute variety) For example if the instructions for the rice end with a 10-15 minute simmer only let the rice simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Drain the green beans.
  4. Drain and slice the water chestnuts if you plan on adding them to the casserole.

Step 3: Baking

  1. Once the chicken and rice are done, mix in the remaining ingredients except for the cheese (If you didn't use a large pot for the rice you can just mix the ingredients directly into a 9x13 dish). This is also when you would add the nuts if you so desire.
  2. Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 baking dish. If you plan to take these to an event the aluminum trays shown in the pictures are a great idea so you don't have to worry about your dishes getting damaged. These can also be found in most grocery stores, dollar stores, or online.
  3. Top the dish with the shredded cheese and make sure to evenly distribute it.
  4. Lastly, bake the casserole uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Serve Up Smiles

Okay, you won't really be serving up smiles, you'll be serving a casserole, but a home cooked meal is one way to bring people together. In any case enjoy the food! This dish reheats well and can feed a family, or one very determined college kid.

If you're planning on taking the casserole to a pitch in lunch at the office or any other event one nice little extra touch I like to add is some faux branding on the lids, its as simple as photo-shopping a chefs hat and mustache on to your mom or yourself for that matter so everyone knows who made it and it stands out a bit.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!