Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not Quite Grandma’s Chicken and Rice Bake

StouffersI saw something in my grocer’s freezer that I really wanted. I don’t know if it was some craving for comfort food at the tail end of my cold or what, but I saw this Stouffer’s frozen meal and really wanted it. I couldn’t find a bigger photo on the web, but as I walked by it really caught my eye, as well as my appetite.

No, I didn’t buy it, but I did start thinking of how I could make something similar at home. Since I didn’t follow a recipe, I’ll tell you exactly what I did. I did start in the frozen foods section, using Morningstar Farms frozen meal-starter chick’n strips.


1 cup rice, cooked (my favorite instructions for basic white rice here)
2 stalks celery, roughly cut
1 cup carrots, roughly cut
1 cup frozen peas
1 can vegetarian cream of mushroom soup
Shredded cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper

Start by cooking the frozen chick’n in a bit of oil (I used Earth Balance as I was looking for a buttery taste) in a skillet. It will brown if you use some oil or margarine and patiently turn it from side to side. Once I started cooking these strips, it smelled like a KFC with the eleven herbs and spices. Set those aside, then cook the veggies in the same skillet.

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Add the cream of mushrooms soup to the veggie skillet and thin it with half a can of water. Add a bit more salt and pepper if you like. I was careful not to add too much because the strips seemed so well seasoned and I knew the condensed soup tends to be salty, even though I used the reduced sodium kind. Finally, mix in the rice and transfer to a casserole dish. Bake at 325F for half an hour. Some recipes include some cheese, so I tossed on some leftover shredded Swiss. We both really liked our cheesy bites.

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