At a recent prayer group reunion, the subject changed to food. Mary, Lisa, Sonja, Judy S., Katie and I met for lunch. (Kathy P. couldn't make it.). Katie started the chicken casserole discussion on behalf of her daughter, JoJo. I volunteered that I did not have a recipe in my mind I could give them then and there. However, I said I was seeing the "Casserole Queen" that evening and she was sure to have what they wanted.
Sure enough, my friend Ann Burckhardt has this "Chicken and Rice with Two Soups" recipe in her cookbook, "Hot Dish Heaven." It is an outstanding collection of classic casseroles from Midwest kitchens.
Although not a recipe to think of for holiday entertainment, it will be included in the Village News Holiday Cookbook available exclusively to Village News subscribers and those who extend their subscriptions.
Why will it be included in a holiday cookbook, you might ask? The answer is simple: sometimes the cook needs something simple for the family while preparing for guests. This chicken casserole will be a perfect choice of "fix and forget."
Ann's book is best available through her publisher, The Minnesota Historical Society, http://shop.mnhs.org/products/hot-dish-heaven.
"Hot Dish Heaven" is truly a cookbook treasure that would be welcome in almost every home. Ann was the cookbook editor at Betty Crocker kitchens. She has written or edited over 25 cookbooks including the original edition of the popular Betty Crocker Cook Book. Ann is a true professional and my friend of many years.
Chicken and Rice with Two Soups
1 cup uncooked white rice or 1 ¼ cups brown rice or wild rice (or mixture of the three)
2 ½ -to 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up or 1 ¼ pounds boned chicken breasts or thighs
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
10 ¾-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
2 ½ cups water, as needed
Heat oven to 325 degrees (300 degrees for glass baking pan)
Spread rice in the bottom of a 9-x13-inch baking pan. Arrange chicken pieces on top of rice, skin side up. If using chicken breasts, cut breasts in halves with kitchen shears. Pour onion soup mix into a small bowl and stir together the enclosed bouillon granules and dried onion. Sprinkle onion mixture evenly over chicken pieces. In a medium bowl, stir soup and 2 cans of water (2 ½ cups) together; pour over all. Cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil. Bake for 2 hours.
Makes 4-6 servings