Sometimes, more attention to the details is a little more bothersome but the end result pays off. So it is with this casserole. There is some pre-cooking involved (rice and chicken) but the superior flavor of the casserole makes it all worthwhile. The recipe is not at all difficult but it does take just a bit longer to prepare than the traditonal "quick casserole". It took me a few weeks, off and on, to develop this recipe and, after a couple of trials, I found that the chopped artichoke hearts added just the right flavor to enhance the overall dish. I gave a lot of attention to keeping the instructions clear on this one. You can also make it up ahead, bake it, and freeze it for re-heating later. I hope you enjoy it!
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 14 ounces canned artichoke hearts, drained, but not rinsed
- 10 ounces cream of chicken soup
- 10 ounces cream of mushroom soup
- 1⁄2 cup 2% low-fat milk
- 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules or 2 chicken bouillon cubes, mashed
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1⁄2 large onion, diced
- 4 cups white rice, cooked
- 1⁄2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1⁄2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- cooking spray
- In a small pan, melt the butter, add the olive oil and sautee the parsley and onion until tender. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325-degrees F.
- In a four-quart cooking pot, fill 2/3 full with hot water and bring to a boil. Stir in the bouillon and kosher salt, then add the chicken breasts. Reduce heat to a low boil, covered, for 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, remove chicken breasts and chop them into 3/4 inch chunks, trimming off any small pieces of fat or gristle as necessary.
- In a large mixing bowl, blend together the two soups, seasoning salt, and the sauteed onions/parsley (no need to drain). Mix the flour into the milk until lumps are gone and add it to the mix.
- Spray a large casserole dish with the cooking spray. Spoon in 1/3 of the soup blend. Next, spoon in the rice and lay the chicken pieces evenly on top of it.
- Roughly chop the artichoke hearts and add them to the remaining soup mix. Spoon this blend onto the chicken and rice.
- Mix together the two cheeses and top the casserole with it. Bake at 325-degrees F. for 30 minutes, covered. Then, uncover the casserole and BROIL on high (middle rack of oven) for about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that it does not burn. You want just a few brown spots on the top.
- Remove casserole from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes prior to serving.
- NOTE: I use 3 of the frozen-type chicken breasts, which are actually breast HALVES. (I put them into the boiling water while still frozen.) Also, I use one cup of dry Basmati rice (cooked in 2 3/4 cups of water, with 1 tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of salt) to generate my four cups of rice. See my "Beginners' Rice" recipe for help.