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Got Leftovers? Make This Chicken and Rice Casserole with Lemon and Parmesan

More often than not we have one meal a week that I just call Leftovers Night. The night is either a hodgepodge of different things that have been leftover from various meals re-heated separately or, if the ingredients go well together, some type of stir fry, hash or casserole for dinner. When we had some leftover vegetables and a rotisserie chicken in the fridge the other day, it seemed to be crying out to be made into some type of casserole and I had seen this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for a chicken and rice casserole recently and found this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

Chicken and Rice Casserole with Lemon and Parmesan

2 tablespoons butter

2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin

1 onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press

1 cup long-grain white rice

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

1/2 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves

25 Ritz crackers, crushed to coarse crumbs (about 1 cup) or crunchy bread crumbs

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides. Add the carrots and the onions and cook until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir until the rice is evenly coated. Add the water, chicken stock, heavy cream, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low, cover the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and is just tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in the cooked chicken, the asparagus, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and the tarragon and season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish and sprinkle the Ritz cracker crumbs over the top to coat the top of the casserole. Bake the casserole until the topping is browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the casserole to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe makes great use of all kinds of leftovers and comes together nicely to form a one pot dish filled with chicken, rice and vegetables. The chicken stock and heavy cream create a nice sauce that goes throughout the dish and you get a hint of the lemon and the cheese in each bite. I really liked using the Ritz crackers as topping as well and it gave some added buttery flavor and crunch to the dish. This would work well with any type of leftover chicken or turkey and you can put it all together in under 40 minutes, making it great for a weeknight and for easy clean up.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Leftovers, One Pot Meals, Poultry

 

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A Mighty Nice Chicken Rice Soup

It’s been kind of a hectic Monday so far, so I am glad that tonight’s dinner is something of a simple one to make. Chicken rice soup is very easy to make and doesn’t take long to cook at all. The other nice thing about it is that you can add lots of different things to it to make it more interesting (it can be a great way to empty out the fridge).

Chicken Rice Soup

6 cups chicken stock (I am using homemade. If you want my method, check it out here.)

1/2 cup white rice

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

1 cup raw or cooked chopped boneless, skinless chicken, or more

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Put the stock in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. When it is just about boiling, turn the heat down so it bubbles, but not too vigorously. Stir in the rice, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are all tendered, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the chicken. If it is raw, cook until it is cooked through, another 5 to 8 minutes.  If it is cooked, cook 2 or 3 minutes, until it is hot. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with parsley and serve.

It’s a very simple soup to make. I am adding some leftover vegetables we have to the pot, but some good ones to add might be onion, zucchini, parsnips,potato,sliced mushrooms, corn kernels, peas, thinly shredded cabbage or other greens. You could make it Chinese style by adding some garlic and ginger when you add the chicken and then add some peas and sliced mushrooms, and season with a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce. Other things that might be good to add would be any fresh herbs, or spices, croutons for a garnish, barley or quinoa instead of rice, cooked tortellini or other small pasta or add  some small pieces of rind from Parmesan cheese (along with the stock) or grated cheese for garnish.

You could just leave this as a one pot dish, but I’ve decided to add some biscuits to dinner. You can always buy some and just heat them up, or use Pillsbury or Bisquick and make some, or you could try this quick and easy recipe and have some homemade in 30 minutes.

Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until the dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gather together into a ball. Knead the dough briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut the biscuits into rounds using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter or 8 wedges using a knife. Place the biscuits on the parchment-lined baking sheet. (The baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.) Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

The key to these biscuits, like any quick bread, muffin or scone, is to not overwork the dough. The more you mix the dough. the more you develop protein in the flour and the tougher the biscuit will become.

That’s the meal for tonight. You could add this one to the quick and easy column for the meals we have made. Tomorrow will not be so quick and easy. We’re going to make a nice French-inspired, romantic meal for Valentine’s Day tomorrow. We’ll start off with some Riesling Onion Soup with Herbed Croutons, then have some Ribeye Steak with Shallot-Red Wine Sauce, Sauteed Spinach and Pine Nuts, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Warm Molten Chocolate Cakes. It’s going to be a great meal, and it really isn’t as much work as you may think. As always, if you have any questions, comments or recipes, feel free to leave a comment here and I’ll get back to you. Enjoy your soup and have a great night!

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Biscuits, Breads, Poultry, Rice

 

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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

Laissez Faire

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