Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nourish ~ My Go To Meal for Make Ahead, Eat In, Take Out, Stick It In the Freezer, Company's Coming, Sunday Dinner

Welcome to Nourish: 31 Days of Family, Food, and Faith. This is Day 26. To see the rest of the series click here!

Fifteen and a half years ago I had a baby. He was three weeks early and I was not quite ready food-wise, not quite ready meaning totally unprepared. As you would expect with a first grandchild and a first nephew, my mom and my sister hit the scene and before they left me and my Man to raise our son on our own devices, they filled my freezer with three or four casseroles worth of what my family has named Waltz Chicken. 

When my sis handed over the recipe it was originally called “Will's Chicken” but there was some kerfluffle about "Will" not being a nice person and so the dish was renamed “Walt's Chicken".  I never did know who Will was, but apparently Walt was a nicer guy. Somewhere along the way though, I began thinking of “Walt's” as “Waltz” and...there ya have it, “Waltz Chicken” officially the most shared dish in my repertoire. I hardly ever make just one recipe at a time, it’s so simple to just make to…one for us now and one for us later OR one for someone needing food now and one for us later, you get the idea.

The ingredients in this dish are admittedly a little on the indulgent side. So, use this dish as just that an occasional indulgence. You can lighten it a little by going with a low fat cream of chicken soup and completely omitting the corn flake/butter topping...if you must.

Waltz Chicken

Here's what you'll need:

4 chicken breasts, cooked and cut or pulled into bite size pieces
4 chicken thighs, cooked and cut or pulled into bite size pieces
(or any combination of the above, I often just boil a whole bird and use all of the meat which works just fine)
2 1/2 cups cooked rice (1 cup uncooked equals 2 1/2 cooked)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup mayonnaise 
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups crunched corn flakes (or Honey Bunches of Oats, etc. if you are in a pinch or even Goldfish crackers work beautifully, as do Ritz crackers)
1/2 cup butter, melted

Here's what to do:

Get a big ole bowl and combine chicken and cooked rice. 

Then add the chicken soup and onion, lemon juice, mayo and cheese and stir to combine.

Cover the mixture and refrigerate for three hours or really, you don't have to refrigerate it at all if you are in a hurry. While you wait for mixture to marry in fridge, combine the melted butter and crushed corn flakes. When done chilling (if you did) place mixture in a greased 9x13 casserole dish and evenly spread buttered cornflakes on top. Bake in a 300˚ oven for an hour…or again, if in a hurry, in a 350˚ oven for 30-35 minutes, until heated through. 

Is this the most adaptable recipe or what?! 

SUNDAY LUNCH: If making for Sunday lunch, prep to the baking point and put oven on auto bake. Another option: bake it while you get ready for church and reheat when you come home. Either way...easy delicious and your house smells like Sunday.

NOTE: If you are making this to freeze, place the mixture in a freezer bag and freeze flat instead of letting it chill in the fridge. Label the bag with the name of the dish AND the instructions, you'll be thankful that you did when you pull it from the freezer. When you are ready to prepare your freezer meal, allow it to thaw in the fridge for a day and then place in the greased 9x13 casserole and bake as directed above. 

Family recipes are always keepers and this is my favorite casserole.

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