Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chicken Alfredo and Rice Casserole

     This recipe from Better Homes and Gardens caught my eye for two reasons, not only is it just the right amount for baking in your 2 qt. dutch oven, it gave me an excuse to try a packet of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice.  The rice is precooked, comes in a vacuum sealed 8 oz. packet and is perfect for camp cooking.  All you have to do is break apart the rice before opening the package then mix it with the rest of the ingredients.  Of course you can make your rice any way you like, from scratch is always the best but this baked and tasted wonderfully in this casserole.  One packet was about 2 cups, that's all I added and the dish was very creamy. 
     In my 8 inch dutch oven it baked with 8 coals in a ring around the bottom and 12 on the lid.  After 30 minutes I added the crumb topping and in 10 minutes it was golden brown and bubbling away. If you don't want to mess with frozen peas, try adding chopped scallions, finely chopped green bell pepper or even a can of green chilies.  I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem but then again, what's not to love about anything cooked with Alfredo sauce and a buttery, crunchy topping.

Chicken Alfredo and Rice Casserole
1 10 oz. container refrigerated Alfredo pasta sauce
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups cooked white rice OR 1 8.8 oz package Uncle Ben's Original Ready Rice
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup bottled roasted red sweet peppers, chopped
1 Tblsp chopped fresh basil OR 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 Tblsp butter, melted
2-3 Tblsp grated Parmesan cheese

     Lightly oil or spray 8 inch dutch oven.
     In large bowl combine pasta sauce and milk.
     Stir in rice, chicken, peas, sweet peppers and basil.
     Transfer to prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
     Combine bread crumbs, melted butter and Parmesan cheese.
     Sprinkle atop bubbling casserole.
     Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.
     Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
     Serves 4.

You can even mix casserole ingredients right in your dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until bubbling
then sprinkle on topping

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until golden brown

A creamy casserole for your smaller oven

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