The Gourmet

Make delicious chicken casserole in less than an hour


Unless it came out of a box, I never used to enjoy cooking.That is, until my mom showed me how to make one of my favorite meals: chicken casserole. It’s a very simple meal you can make in a short period of time, and can usually last more than a day if portioned correctly.

To make this dish, you will need three to four chicken breasts, two cups of rice, chopped spinach, shredded cheese, and any combination spices you like for your chicken. 

Courtesy of Travis McMillan

To start, chop your chicken into quarter-sized pieces and season however you like. Normally, I season with salt, oregano, cilantro, garlic powder and — if I have it — Valencia orange peel. To time things right, I always start cooking the rice before the chicken. During this time, you should also preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Preparing the rice is even simpler — wash it and cook with some butter. However, I have been trying to spice it up lately by throwing in a few extra things. After it’s cooked and ready to bake, I add some basil, salt, thyme, garlic powder and red pepper. This is a great opportunity to get creative so add whatever spices you like.

After placing the chicken in the pan, I splash a bit of Italian dressing on to add a bit of flavor. Of course, you can cook with or without any type of sauce. While that’s cooking in the pan, I switch between stirring the rice and the chicken so it can cook evenly.

While you’re preparing your rice and chicken, make sure your spinach and cheese are out and ready to be added. I don’t always have time to buy fresh spinach, so, if I buy frozen, I leave it out to defrost ahead of time.

Once everything is cooked and ready, take out a baking dish and start with your first layer of rice. Flatten it down with a spatula and then pile on the chicken as evenly as possible. Then, pour some of the sauce from the pan in the dish to add a bit more flavor.

The addition (or not) of spinach depends on your tastes. Finally, sprinkle on a layer of shredded cheese and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Voila! Now you, your family and your friends have a great dish to enjoy together.