Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recipe: My Mom's Chicken and Rice

I come from a long line of women who are amazing cooks. 

My mom makes the best Mexican food (she grew up in the southwest), the BEST french fries, and some unbelievably bizarre but delicious things from random stuff in the fridge.

My gramma made the best fried chicken in the whole world, some of the most amazing German food ever, and would never turn away anyone who was hungry (that's where I get my "bring whoever" attitude - she would put coffee on as soon as she saw a car in the drive and never let anyone leave her house hungry!).

(With my mom in 1955, in New Mexico)

My great-grandmother, who I never met, is legendary as a fantastic cook and, as my mother says, "an actual saint."

So I come from some ladies who knew how to make delicious, if not fancy, food that brought people together. 

And who traditionally have fantastic hair, but that's another story.

My mom's Chicken and Rice is an example of a meal I grew up with - not too complicated (so you could spend more time with your kids/family/whoever happened to pop by), nothing too fancy (cause if I can't find it at the grocery store, I probably don't need it), but plenty of flavor and PLENTY of it (because you never know who will come by!). It's one of my favorite things she makes, and it's super simple and delicious.

What you need for 2 medium size casserole dishes: 

Chicken breasts/tenderloins - about 10 tenderloins/5 breasts
2 boxes Minute Rice
2 large cans Cream of Chicken soup
1 large can Cream of Mushroom soup
3 tablespoons butter
Garlic powder
(an Arkansas staple - if you can't find it, whatever type of seasoning you like)

Start by cutting up the breasts/trimming the fat from the tenderloins and heating the oven to 350.

Salt and pepper the chicken, then add garlic powder and Cavender's to taste.

Cook the rice according to the directions, minus one minute.

You'll probably have to do this in a couple of batches, unless you have a massive microwave.

When the first bowl of rice (one package Minute Rice) is done, open a can of Cream of Chicken soup. 

Fluff up the rice, then add it in. 

Then, add half of the can of Cream of Mushroom soup.

(My mom just uses Cream of Chicken, and I love it like that, but I like the earthy flavor of the Cream of Mushroom. So basically you need 2 big cans, but they can be whatever - both CofC, one CofC and one CofM, one CofC and one Cream of Broccoli, whatever!)

Before the soup.

After the soup - this is about the amount of soup to rice you want. Goopy but not like soup, and not too dry.

Do the same thing with the second bowl of rice.

Take 2 medium size casserole pans - whatever size is fine, just not huge, and not tiny. I had one 9 by 13 and one 9 by 9 or so.
Rub the butter in the bottom of the pans - you want them to be really buttery so nothing sticks.

Put about half of each bowl of rice in each dish, lay the raw chicken on top, then cover with the rest of the rice.  Then add more salt and pepper - I love things peppery so I add a lot, but however much you like is fine. Just be careful with the salt since the soup has quite a bit.

So in each dish you will have half a bowl of rice, half the chicken, and then the other half. Very easy to multiply for more or fewer dishes.

Cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

When you take off the foil, it should look close to this:


This amount easily fed me and Kyle for several meals. Two helpings each that night, 1 each for lunch the next day, 1 for dinner, and then at least 4 more servings a couple of days later.

All for around $15.

So good. 

Thanks lady ancestors for the great recipes and inability to make just a couple of servings of anything!

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