We had crockpot chicken and rice on Tuesday for dinner. I'm not really a recipe follower, but I find recipes on the interwebs and mix it up or just try and wing it. For the original dish, I took a 3lb bag of frozen chicken breasts and tossed them in the crockpot. I poured a jar of premade gravy on top and sprinkled it with a packet of Lipton onion soup mix. Set it for four hours on high. Bam. Done. Then I steamed up way more rice than we could ever eat to go with the chicken. Why is it that a cup of uncooked rice makes like six cups of the good stuff? Don't answer that. I know why. But why can't I ever remember that I don't ever need a whole cup?
So what do we do with all the leftovers? We pretend that we love leftovers and wouldn't ever let them get moldy in the fridge. We try to be resourceful. We wait a couple of days and make a casserole, of course! You'll need your leftovers and a few other items for this dish.
Lunchy's Cheesy Chicken and Rice Florentine Casserole
3 cooked chicken breasts, diced or shredded
2 cups of cooked rice
2 cups frozen spinach
5 teaspoons flour
2 cups milk, divided (I used skim)
1/3 cup light sour cream
8oz shredded cheese, your choice. I used a hodgepodge of white cheddar, Mexican, Italian and goats cheese. Reserve 1/4 to sprinkle on top of the casserole.
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
In lieu of the salt, pepper and garlic powder, I use Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt...if you've never used it before, it's great for recipes like this one. And on eggs. And a salad. And everywhere. My father used to buy it when I was a kid and I was shocked to find it still being sold a few years back. Now it's a staple in our house.
Grease your baking dish. Set oven to 350. Mix the chicken and the rice together and spread into your baking dish. Top with frozen spinach. Pour stock over the top of the spinach.
Now to make the cheese sauce: whisk together flour and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl. Pour mixture into skillet over medium heat then add remaining 1-1/2 cups milk. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened, 7-10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat then add 3/4 of the shredded cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and stir until smooth.
Pour cheese sauce over top of the chicken, rice and spinach. Bake at 350 until bubbly and heated all the way through, about 25-30 minutes. Because this is a leftover dish, all of the food should already be cooked so basically you're just reheating it all. Yum!
My cheese sauce looks a little thin because I didn't have quite enough cheese and didn't adjust for that...don't worry, if you follow the recipe, yours will be way better! Ahhhh...the hazards a of being a self-taught, lazy cook. I didn't even know how to cook anything when I got married. My husband likes to tell people how I only had a stack of sliced cheese and a case of beer in my fridge when he moved in. After about 14 years, I've learned a thing or two. Now I make at least two meals a day, and typically one is from scratch. I wish I had begun blogging earlier in my journey. When I stayed home with the girls it would have been nice to have a record of our growth together. Way back then, though, there wasn't really a platform for it.