Friday, January 21, 2011

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole (Better Homes and Gardens)

This is what we had for dinner today; it makes six servings, so we'll have it again tomorrow.  We absolutely do not have seconds; it's a house rule.  Today I heated a can of spinach and made a small tomato and lettuce salad to go with it.  We really try to push the vegetables around here.  

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.

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