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This is similiar to others, but this one incorporates almonds for some added crunch! You can make and freeze the casserole ahead, or make two small casseroles.
- 2 (6 1/4 ounce) packagesfast-cooking long grain and wild rice blend
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 4 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 medium vidalia onions, finely chopped
- 2 (8 ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 5 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 (10 1/4 ounce) cans 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- 1 (16 ounce) container light sour cream
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
- 1⁄2 cup soft breadcrumbs
- 1 (2 1/4 ounce) package sliced almonds, toasted
- Prepare rice mixes according to package directions. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add celery and onion. Saute 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in water chestnuts, rice, chicken, 3 cups cheese, and next 5 ingredients.
- Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 15x10 baking dish or a 4 quart baking dish. Top casserole with breadcumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and almonds; bake 5 more minutes.
- You can divide this casserole evenly between 2 11x7 baking dishes. Bake as directed above or freeze casserole up to 1 month. Remove form freezer, and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover casserole, and bake 55 more minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese adn almonds, and bake 5 more minutes.