Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

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I’ve talked before about my menu planning and grocery lists.  It’s totally an obsession.

I start by creating menus in the notes app on my iPad.  I generally start with dinners and put numbers 1-8 (Yes, I know I only need seven dinners for a week, but I always plan on eight in case I don’t get back to the store when I plan to or in case I don’t want to make one of the planned meals.  After I’ve planned dinners, I move to breakfasts.  I don’t number these.  I just list a few things that I know I can make whenever I want.  Lunches are pretty much the same.  During the school year, I plan lunches with a lot more structure, often using parts of the dinners made the night before.  For example, if we have pulled pork one night, I will make pulled pork wraps or sandwiches in lunches the next day.  If we have fried chicken, I will slice leftover pieces and lay them over salads.  My menu list usually includes a couple of treats to make during the week, too.

Once I’ve made my menus, I make my shopping list.  I know the things I have in the freezer and pantry, so I just include the things I need to make each meal.  Then I add in things I’m out of or running low on:  paper towels, salt, olive oil, toilet paper, cream cheese…the essentials!

Once the list is ready, I copy and paste it into a text message and send it to my phone.  I haven’t taken a paper grocery list to the store in years.

When I go to the grocery store, I usually stick to my list.  Of course, something may catch my eye and remind me that I’m running out of it at home, but I am not prone to wander from my list.

Unless Christopher is with me.  And he’s hungry.  Which is always.

One thing that I usually cannot resist is a freshly-roasted rotisserie chicken.  If I’m passing by the deli and I see one of the workers slide a fresh one into the case, I grab it.  I can’t help myself.  We have never – and I mean NEVER – just eaten a rotisserie chicken as part of a meal.  But I have used a truckload of them in recipes.  I love it because it already has great flavor and saves a ton of time.

When I bring one home, I usually put the other groceries away and then sit down to pick all the meat off the bones and shred it.  If I absolutely can’t do it right away, I will put it in the refrigerator.  But before I do shred it, I will pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes to warm it through.  That makes it easier to pick the meat off.  It’s hard to get all the meat off the bones when it’s cold.  Once the meat has been picked off and shredded, I put it in a zippered bag and either freeze it or refrigerate it until I need it.

Brees loves rotisserie chicken days.  He sits at my feet and waits for me to give him the skin!

I decided to use some tonight in this recipe.  This Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole is awesome.  Because it’s cheesy.  And chicken-y and rice-y.  And it’s easy and delicious.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

  • Meat from 2 rotisserie chicken, removed from the bone and shredded
  • 2 family-sized (12-oz.) boxes of Zatarain’s Yellow Rice, prepared according to directions
  • 2 15-oz. cans of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 10-oz. cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, corn, soup, salt, and cheese.  When rice is cooked, add it to the mixture and stir to combine.  Pour into a large casserole (I used a lasagna pan) or into two 9X13 pans.

Bake for 1 hour.

Well Duh #1:  If you can’t find the family-sized Zatarain’s, you can use 3 regular-sized boxes.  If you can’t find Zatarain’s in your area, I’m sorry for your loss.  Zatarain’s is based in New Orleans and has been cranking out Cajun favorites like shrimp boil, Creole mustard, red beans and rice, jambalaya, fish fry, and many more since 1889.  I’m sure you can use another brand of yellow rice, if you must, but don’t tell me about it!

Well Duh #2:  Of course, you can cut this recipe in half, but it’s better if you make two casseroles and freeze one.  Just use a disposable pan and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil.  DON’T BAKE the one you’re freezing!  When you’re ready for it, just pop it into a 350-degree oven for about an hour – or until it’s warm all the way through.

Well Duh #3:  I used a fiesta blend cheese.  It was on sale.

My tribe gobbled up a lot of this dish!  Elizabeth declared it “a keeper.”  I froze about half of the remainder in a big zippered bag.  The other half, I divided into 1-cup servings and froze in small zippered bags so we can heat up one serving, if we want.  This was easy and fairly quick to put together.

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