Due to the whole BPA scare, we really do try to steer clear of canned foods as much as possible.  We also try to cook with real food as much as possible, so condensed soups are out on both counts.  But I really love the Chicken and Rice Casserole that my granny and my sister used to make.  I miss it!  So I decided to create a recipe for from-scratch Chicken and Rice Casserole.  If you cook with condensed soup, you can easily sub Cream of Chicken for the homemade white sauce to save time. I would probably still throw in at least some of the herbs to make it more flavorful, but my Granny used to make it all the time with just a can of cream of chicken soup, rice, chicken, and cheddar cheese!  I make this often on nights when Matt works, and I want some meaty comfort food.

Chicken and Rice Casserole (from scratch):

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour 1 cup milk

1/2 tsp (or to taste) salt or seasoned salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp marjoram (optional)

1/2 tsp basil 1/4 tsp dill (optional)

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 cup brown rice (uncooked)

1/2 cup parmesan

1 cup cheddar

2 cups water

as many frozen chicken strips as will fit in a baking dish

(All of those measurements for seasoning are approximate. So put in however much you think you should.)

Preheat oven to 375. Melt the butter in a small pot on the stove, whisk in flour until it’s all incorporated and let cook for about 30 seconds. Whisk in milk, a little at a time and cook until it thickens well. Stir in all the herbs, salt, and pepper. In a baking dish, mix the herbed white sauce, water, rice, and parmesan cheese together. Lay frozen chicken breasts on top. Cover and cook for about an hour. When it’s bubbling and the water has almost all been absorbed sprinkle on the cheddar cheese, cover again, and continue baking until cheese is melted and bubbly, and the rice is cooked through.