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Groovy Chicken & Rice Casserole Recipe

Updated on July 27, 2016

Peace ♥ Love & ... Casserole

Easy and versatile, Chicken & Rice Casserole is comfort food straight from the '70s.

Chicken & Rice Casserole
Chicken & Rice Casserole | Source

I love this casserole and have fond memories of eating the leftovers on Saturday afternoons while watching Soul Train. To me, it was almost as delicious as Don Cornelius!

The Best of the Casserole Queen

Ah, the 1970s—when bell-bottoms were groovy jeans, shag carpeting was all the rage, "salad" was made from Jello and canned-soup casseroles offered the ultimate in comfort food.

Today, jeans come in many styles, from skater peg-legs to seriously baggy; wood floors are in; and salads are green and organic.

But one thing hasn't changed: there isn't a more comforting meal than the casserole Grandma used to make with Campbell's soup, topped with a buttery cornflake crust or fried onions from a can.

My grandma embraced the casserole movement wholeheartedly, mastering a staggering number of dishes she'd make ahead and freeze. Although all of them were tasty, two were everybody's favorites, eggplant casserole and this chicken and rice casserole. She trotted them out regularly at potlucks and Sunday pitch-in dinners.

Grandma's chicken and rice casserole was my personal favorite and one of the main reasons I crowned her The Casserole Queen (behind her back, of course).

Hope you think it's groovy, too.

Rate it!

5 stars from 1 rating of Grandma's Groovy Chicken & Rice Casserole

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 C. or more celery, chopped
  • 1/2 C. or more onion, chopped
  • 1 small can water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 2-3 C. chicken, cooked and chopped
  • 1 1/2-2 C. leftover white rice, cooked
  • 3/4 C. mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2-1 C. cornflakes, crushed

Chop & sauté the celery until softened.

Step one? Chop the celery and sautee it in butter.
Step one? Chop the celery and sautee it in butter. | Source

Add everything else to the pan (except the buttered cornflakes.)

After sauteeing the celery, remove the skillet from the heat, add everything else to the pan and mix it all together.
After sauteeing the celery, remove the skillet from the heat, add everything else to the pan and mix it all together. | Source

Mix it up & smooth it into a baking dish.

Then smooth the mixture into a baking dish.
Then smooth the mixture into a baking dish. | Source

Sprinkle on the topping & bake at 350° F until bubbly & brown.

Top it the buttered, crushed cornflakes & pop it into a 350 degree F oven for about 25 minutes.
Top it the buttered, crushed cornflakes & pop it into a 350 degree F oven for about 25 minutes. | Source

Variations

  • Double everything & use a 9 x 13 baking dish to make casserole for 8.
  • If you love the crunch of water chestnuts, add two cans instead of one. Not a fan? Leave 'em out entirely and add more celery.
  • Substitute undiluted cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup for cream of chicken.
  • Add chopped almond slivers to the casserole proper and/or the topping.
  • Sauté the vegetables in olive oil instead of butter.
  • Top the casserole with buttered breadcrumbs or French's fried onion rings instead of cornflakes.

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter or Pam a 8 X 8 casserole dish. Set aside.
  3. Saute the celery in 1 T. butter until softened. Remove from heat.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (except 2 T. butter and cornflakes).
  5. Mix thoroughly. Then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  6. Spoon into prepared pan.
  7. Melt butter in microwave safe measuring cup.
  8. Add cornflakes to melted butter and stir.
  9. Sprinkle cornflake mixture over casserole.
  10. Bake casserole at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until the top bubbles and browns.

A Tempting Dish

I once caught my vegetarian niece standing over the kitchen sink in the middle of the night in her jammies, shoveling down a bowl of leftover chicken and rice casserole.

Even though she'd made our lives unbearable for more than a week, telling us how to cook "right" and demanding that everybody eat her special lacto-ovo-vegan dishes, I didn't say a word, just tiptoed back to bed without getting a drink of water.

Hey, it was the holidays, a time when just about everybody needs a little comfort food.

Get Cookin'!

Other Easy Ideas for Leftover Chicken

A chicken salad sandwich with pickle on the side, great for lunch!
A chicken salad sandwich with pickle on the side, great for lunch! | Source

Have you noticed that a small, whole chicken is difficult to find at the grocery store? Even the organic ones. Most tend to weigh 4 lbs. and upwards, so if you cook a whole chicken to make Chicken and Rice Casserole, you'll probably have leftover meat and broth. Here are four easy ways to use the leftovers.

Simple Chicken Salad

Chop or shred 2 cups chicken and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Add 1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise (enough to enfold the mixture). Adjust seasoning and then add optional ingredients of your choice, such as diced celery, chopped pecans and halved seedless grapes; or hot banana pepper rings and minced red onion.

Chicken & Noodle Soup

Sauté 1 chopped onion, 1 sliced celery stalk and 1 chopped carrot in 2 tbsp. butter or oil for about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp. thyme, 6-8 cups chicken broth and 2-3 cups chopped chicken. Simmer about 15 minutes, then adjust seasoning, adding more thyme, black pepper and/salt as needed. Finally, toss 2 cups egg noodles into the pot and boil for 5 minutes.


Pictured: leftover chicken & dumplings, another easy comfort dish that's easy to make with chopped, cooked chicken.
Pictured: leftover chicken & dumplings, another easy comfort dish that's easy to make with chopped, cooked chicken. | Source

What's your favorite chicken dish?

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Chicken & Dumplings

Sauté a small onion, one stalk chopped celery and two chopped carrots in 2 tbsp. butter for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 c. flour and cook, stirring, a minute more. While continuing to stir, slowly add three cups chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.

While the broth is cooking, mix together 1 cup flour, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. salt. Blend in 2 tbsp. butter with a pastry blender, and then stir in 1/2 c. whole milk or light cream.

Add 2 cups chopped chicken, ground black pepper and salt to taste to the broth. You may also opt to add vegetables, such as cooked green beans, peas or edamame (green soybeans) before dropping the stiff dumpling batter by rounded tbsp. into the broth.

Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes in order to steam the dumplings.

Chicken Pot Pie

Cook the vegetables in butter as for Chicken & Dumplings, adding flour and broth as described above. As the mixture thickens, roll out Pillsbury pre-prepared pie crust that has been allowed to soften outside the refrigerator in a 9-inch pie pan. Add chopped chicken as well as frozen peas and leftover cooked carrots and potatoes to the broth, then pour the mixture into the crust. Top with a second crust and seal it at the edges, cutting three or four small vents in the top. Cook at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes or until the crust has browned.

© 2013 Jill Spencer

Comments

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 12 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Hey Jill, It does. It's easy to make. I wish I have found the recipe for it anywhere. So I have to experiment with it for sure.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 12 months ago from United States

      Hey, Kristen! Those variations sound delicious!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 12 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Jill, great recipe hub. This reminds me of my mother's dish, sans the celery. It had frozen peas, fried rice and chicken brother and chicken pieces. I couldn't find the recipe online or in her cookbook for this easy dish. Thanks for the recipes and the leftover ones, too. I'll try it this spring.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 3 years ago from United States

      Hi Minnetonka Twin. Hope you do get a chance to try the recipe this fall. It's real comfort food, tempting enough to seduce a vegan. (: Thanks for commenting! -- Jill

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Tis the time of year to bring out the casserole recipe's. I am so excited about all the great recipe's you gave us and am putting it in my recipe folder. I have never tried the chicken and rice dish with cornflakes but it sounds fabulous! Great hub, Great pictures and great information. Loved the story about your vegan niece. LOL

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 3 years ago from United States

      Hi Marsha. I'll have to look around for that eggplant casserole. I've never made it, but ... I remember that it contained cubed eggplant, soup (of course!) and that it was topped with bread crumbs and cheese. Thanks for commenting! --Jill

    • Marsha Musselman1 profile image

      Marsha Musselman 3 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Mmm chicken and rice. We've had that a bit in recent years although I don't make it exactly the way your recipe shows. Maybe I'll try it your way sometime.

      I'd also be interested in hearing about the eggplant casserole.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 3 years ago from United States

      Thanks for reading, IslandBites!

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Interesting recipe!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 3 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the votes & share, Rajan! Appreciate it.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      The chicken and rice dish looks very inviting. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

      Voted up, interesting and shared.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 3 years ago from United States

      Yep, it's a keeper. Thanks, Leslie!

    • lesliebyars profile image

      lesliebyars 3 years ago from Alabama

      This recipe sounds delicious and easy. What more could you ask for. I voted up and useful.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 3 years ago from United States

      Glad you liked it, W1totalk. Thanks for stopping by! --Jill

    • W1totalk profile image

      W1totalk 3 years ago

      All good ideas. Great article. and Video lol.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Hey Glimmer Twin Fan! Had to dance solo, I'm afraid. My mother wouldn't let me have stuffed animals. (They wouldn't have matched her interior design.) Glad to know I wasn't alone though! Did you say Don's signature line with him, too?

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      This is comfort food. Yummy. Pinned and shared. Just curious though, did you do the Soul Train dance line? I would line up my stuffed animals and dance down the middle. That was a long long time ago!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Hi Blossom! Thank you. The light in our kitchen is awful, so I'm glad the food looks appealing.

      Torrilynn! Thank you so much for the vote! Glad you stopped by.

      Hi ryanjhoe. Appreciate your comments. Nice to hear from you!

      Deb, don't jack my memories!!! lol Actually, I once had an acquaintance tell me a story of my childhood as if it were hers. (We'd gone out to lunch a few months before, and I'd told her the funny story, you see, which she then blithely retold to me at our next lunch.) Crazy, huh? But not you, too, Deb. Not you!!! (; All the best, Jill

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Fabulous, Jill! This will definitely warm the heart and bring back your memories of Soul Train. Wait a minute! What am I doing with YOUR memories?

    • ryanjhoe profile image

      ryanjhoe 4 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      Looks delicious an this article arouse my appetite. Thanks for sharing!

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      thanks for this chicken and rice recipe

      looks simple and absolutely delicious

      thanks again for sharing

      Voted up

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      A good recipe and great photos, too. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      @livingsta--Isn't that a scream? lol But it is a tempting dish. Hope you like it! --Jill

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you for sharing this easy and tasty recipe. Made me chuckle when I read about your niece, but that again tells me the tempting taste it would have had. Definitely worth a try. Voted up and sharing!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Hi Faith Reaper. I bet your recipe's good, too, but thanks for sharing mine--er, my grandmother's. All the best, Jill

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Thanks for sharing your Chicken & Rice Casserole recipe here. I have one that I use and love too, but I will try out your recipe, as it is a little different and sounds delicious too.

      Voted up and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks, peachpurple! Appreciate it.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      looks good to me. Great ideas what to do with left over food. Voted up

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