Monday, June 12, 2023


I had one of those annual Southern Living Recipe books years ago, and this came out of that book.  However, you can find the original here.  It says you can prepare it up to a month before and freeze.  I didn't but whenever I know I am getting company this will be on my list of make-ahead meals to put in the freezer.

Make-Ahead Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

1 (2.25 oz) package sliced almonds
2 (6.2 oz) boxes fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice mix
1/4 cup butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 (10-3/4 oz) cans cream of mushroom soup 
2 (8 oz) cans chopped water chestnuts, drained (I used sliced)
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups (16 ozs) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 4 to 6 inches, or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Prepare rice mixes according to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add celery and onions.  Saute 10 minutes or until tender.  Stir in chicken, next 6 ingredients, rice and 3 cups cheese.  Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 15 x 10 inch baking dish or 2 (11 x 7 inch) baking dishes.  Top with breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese, and top with toasted almonds.  Bake 5 minutes.

To make ahead: prepare as directed but do not put the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top yet or the toasted almonds.  Cover with aluminum foil and freeze up to 1 month.  Remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.  Toast almonds as directed.  Bake casserole, covered, at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake 55 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.  Sprinkle with 1 cup (4 ozs) shredded Cheddar cheese and toasted almonds.  Bake 5 more minutes.

I bought a package of already toasted sliced almonds that was meant to be sprinkled over salads.  It's called All Natural Almond Accents, Original Oven Roasted, Flavored Sliced almonds in a 3.5 oz. (99g) packet.  There are different flavors but I chose the plain.  

I also bought pre-cooked chicken as I was running short on time.

You can lighten the recipe by using low-fat products wherever you feel like it

I still had a few ingredients already in the pantry I wanted to use up and found 1 can of cream of mushroom and 1 can of cream of chicken soup.

As a side dish I roasted a mixture of vegetables bought from the supermarket.  They had packets of pre-cut-asparagus along with sliced mushrooms, and I also added another packet of mushrooms and sliced onions with a few sprigs of rosemary. These I placed in a shallow baking pan and drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  I preheated the oven to 450 degrees F. and left them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on whether you like them crisp or tender.  There was a very subtle flavor of rosemary, very nice.

For an appetizer I bought a container of hummus and surrounded it with cubed bread for dipping, but sticks of celery and carrots would be nice also, and whatever you think of you'd like.  The bread was one of those lovely crusty loaves we got from our local supermarket. 

As a dessert I was going to serve up ice-cream and cookies, all nice and simple, but no one felt like dessert after eating this delicious meal.

I made this for company but there were leftovers for at least two more days.


  1. Hooray for prepare ahead meals - and leftovers.

  2. Looks like a heartwarming winter food!

    1. Yes, very much so. We actually had this before it got too hot :)

  3. Hello,
    Another yummy recipe, thanks for sharing.
    It is nice having enough for leftovers.
    Take care, have a happy new week!

    1. You are very welcome :) and I totally agree! You take care and have a happy new week also.

  4. It looks so comforting and loaded with flavours!

  5. This looks really good. I like just about anything if it has chicken in it.

    1. Me too, we have a lot of chicken meals :) Thanks Ann!

  6. Sounds like a wonderful meal! But who doesn't want ice cream and cookies!! I feel faint...Lolol

    1. LOL! Now that made me laugh, thanks Donna, with hugs :)

  7. That is a good plan, to keep something in the freezer!

  8. looks yummy and i like that idea of freezing it ahead of time. keep one ready and use it when you don't want to cook or shopp

    1. It comes in useful, especially so when we take visitors out for site seeing, and all come back pretty tired. Taking it out of the freezer to thaw overnight and just heating it up makes it a breeze :)

  9. Looks yummy. I wonder if my 'Grands' would enjoy it. Have a good week, Denise.

    1. Seems to me that these would be good for grands Ellen. In fact, I used them for young ones and they liked it :) I hope yours does too.

  10. That is what happens.... no one feels like having dessert after eating a delicious meal.


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