On Sunday, I made a casserole intended to fill in whatever meals we didn’t feel like preparing this week – this seems like a tried and true “meal prep” for the lazy/busy. It turned out to be a great plan because I got sick on Monday and have been fighting a cold during these busy school days. Today, however, I am free of work (fall break!) and finally attempting recovery. Also telling you about the delightful casserole I made.
So, I tend to rely pretty heavily on cheesy foods when I’m cooking, mostly because of my love of it, but I challenged myself to create a casserole that wasn’t cheese-themed. What emerged was inspired by, though not truly similar to, this chicken bake that uses onion as a centerpiece instead of cheese: http://www.plainchicken.com/2015/10/french-onion-chicken-and-rice-bake.html?m=1#more thanks for the inspiration, Plain Chicken!
I started with wild rice and jasmine rice (bottom of the bag for each) and poured a big can of french onion soup over them. That went into the oven while I cooked the chicken in a frying pan with just a bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking. I was hoping that with so much soup, the rice would cook up nicely before I even added the other ingredients, and sure enough; I chopped veggies till the rice soaked up most of the soup liquid. I added what i had: an onion, 4 stalks of celery, two bell peppers, some tomatoes, and some leftover butternut squash soup, mixed it all together with the chicken once it was cooked, and layered it over the rice. For a crusty topping, I crushed a sleeve of saltines, mixed them with the chicken juices leftover in the pan, and then topped with those delicious crunchy onions that people use on top of green bean casserole. I used a lot of them, but mostly so that I wouldn’t singlehandedly snarf them as a snack.
Finally, I cooked it at 350 for about 40 minutes – while most of the elements were individually safe to eat already, I wanted the veggies to soften and the flavors to meld. In the end, the casserole was pretty low on the spicy-meter (i put some salt and pepper in, but nothing else) but Husband added his customary hot sauce and I mixed in a little barbeque sauce into my portion, and it was delicious. Honestly, I’m glad that it was a little bland, because when I’m eating the same thing for a lot of meals in a week, it’s nice to be able to re-season it slightly differently each time. It’s not as beautiful as perfectly portioned meal preps, but it has served us well through the days of my cold.