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Monday, February 10, 2014

Salsa Chicken Casserole

This is my second attempt at posting this recipe. The first time I made this meal it didn't work out quite right. I didn't use a big enough baking dish so it was overflowing with chicken broth. To keep it from dripping into the bottom of the oven I placed a baking sheet on the lower oven rack to catch any drips. This turned out to be a brilliant idea in terms of cleaning and a horrible idea in terms of cooking. The baking sheet blocked the heat from the baking dish resulting in an hour long baking time being extended to two hours and even then the rice was still crunchy in the middle of the dish.

I got it right this time y'all. I used a larger baking dish and nixed the baking sheet underneath and the rice turned out perfectly cooked in the proper amount of time.

I would say as far as simplicity goes that this is on the "could put this together in my sleep" end of the scale. It's a one dish meal, you just throw everything in a casserole dish and bake it. The salsa lends a burst of flavor to the rice which, I know, can get a bit bland sometimes. The chicken is almost steamed, leaving it tender and perfectly cooked. Add a few flour tortillas (or corn if you're doing that gluten free thing) and you have a lovely homemade Tex-Mex meal.

I skipped the cheese this time. I'm trying to cut back on fat and cheese is just loaded with it. I found that I didn't really need the cheese in this dish at all, even though the pictures would look infinitely better with some gooey melted cheese on top. The choice is yours.

Salsa Chicken Casserole

Source: Adapted from Budget Bytes via Normal Recipe

1 cup rice
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry black beans)
1 (16 oz) jar salsa
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
2 large chicken breasts
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I'd say the cheese is optional. I skipped it this time and it was just fine without it.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9x9 baking dish with vegetable oil spray.

Combine the rice, corn, beans, salsa, chicken broth, chili powder, and oregano in the baking dish and stir briefly. Slice the chicken breasts at an angle into 3 pieces roughly the same size and thickness.

Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture and push them down in the liquid just a bit. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

After an hour test the rice to see if it is done, if not then replace the foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until it is done. When the rice is cooked, sprinkle the cheese over the top of the casserole and bake uncovered for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Serve with warm tortillas.

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