TEX-MEX CHICKEN AND RICE CASSEROLE
prep time: 20 minutes Bake: 25 minutes Oven: 425 Stand: 5 minutes Makes: 6 servings
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 6.9-ounce package chicken-flavored rice and vermicelli mix (In other words, Ricearoni, but I use Walmart's brand)
14 ounces chicken broth (1 can, if you're using canned)
2 cups water
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup chopped, seeded tomato (2 medium) Lacking fresh tomatoes, I rinsed and drained a pint of home-canned tomatoes and chopped them. Works fine.
1 4-ounce can of diced green chile peppers, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (my own addition)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. In a saucepan cook onion and pepper in hot oil over medium heat until tender. Stir in rice and vermicelli mix (including seasonings packet); cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes (liquid will not be fully absorbed).
2. Transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl. Stir in chicken, tomato, chile peppers, chili powder, basil, cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Transfer to a 2-quart casserole.
3. Bake, covered, in a 425 degree oven about 25 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes.
MAKE-AHEAD DIRECTIONS: Prepare as above through step 2. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Bake, covered, in a 425 degree oven about 40 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes. You can also freeze this, but allow more cooking time.