I love quick and easy recipes that give me leftovers all week long that taste as good as they did on day one. Especially recipes that don’t use pre-package processed ingredients.
This chicken and rice casserole fits that description completely. It is perfect for busy families or busy times of year like the week before Christmas.
I absolutely LOVE that classic chicken and rice recipe we all grew up on that uses a can of cream of chicken soup over the chicken.
But have you ever looked at the ingredient list of the canned creamed soups! Yowza. I refuse to buy them anymore as I’ve shifted to trying to eat more healthy.
I’ve been missing my childhood chicken and rice casserole for a few years now.
One day I decided to try to recreate the recipe without the canned cream soup or the boxed Lipton onion soup, and this is what I came up with. It doesn’t taste exactly the same, but its really good and I promise you it is more healthy.
Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you. It comes together really fast.
And while I do understand that some people may not think 45 minutes in the oven is quick, it only takes about 10 minutes standing in the kitchen to put this together…and that qualifies as quick and easy in my book.
Chicken and Rice Bake:
Cream Soup Substitute:
1/3 cup powdered milk
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Lipton Onion Soup Substitute:
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 cups water (or use chicken stock instead of water and chicken soup base)
1 tsp chicken soup base or bouillon granules
1 cup uncooked white rice
6 skinless chicken thighs (feel free to use your favorite chicken parts or even a cut up whole chicken)
1 teaspoon paprika
In one bowl, combine the cream soup ingredients and in another bowl combine the onion soup ingredients.
NOTE: If you want a large batch of cream soup substitute, you can find the full size recipe that I used on Food.com. I did leave out the chicken stock granules since I use a chicken stock paste, and plan to add 1 tsp of the paste for each 1/3 cup (equivalent to one cup of soup) when I’m cooking.
Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and place the uncooked rice across the bottom.
Combine the water and chicken soup base (or use an equivalent amount of chicken stock) with 1/2 of the onion soup. Pour over over the rice.
Place the chicken parts throughout the pan with the pieces not touching. If you use chicken with skin on it, place the skin side up.
Sprinkle the remaining onion soup substitute over the chicken. Then pour the cream soup substitute on top of the chicken, evenly distributed among all of the pieces.
As you can see, a lot of the dried ingredients will float into the water. That’s ok.
Top the entire pan with a light sprinkle of paprika. I use Hungarian paprika but you can use any type of paprika.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and chicken is done (poke a piece of chicken in the fattest part with a fork and press down…if the liquid comes out pink, keep cooking).
NOTE: The original recipe called for cooking at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, then covering it with foil and cooking for 30 minutes more. That’s the way I made this recipe. Based on a similar chicken and rice recipe that I made (totally different spices but similar amounts of rice, water and chicken), I think 45 minutes at 375 degrees should work fine. If you find the chicken is getting too browned before it is done, cover it with foil.
See my note above…I should have covered this with foil earlier. Lesson learned.
Add a salad or a vegetable, and you’ve got a well balanced healthy meal without processed ingredients.
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