Utilize Your Leftovers with a Scrumptious Chicken Casserole

Just when you think your leftover chicken is doomed in the fridge, a little bit of resourcefulness and pantry staples will help you bring that fowl back to life in a delicious casserole! The name of the money-saving game is "waste not, want not." This is also another easy weekday meal that can serve an entire family, or just for two with enough for a quick lunch for another day. Casseroles are also a great way to sneak in some veggies in your kids' and even husbands' diets!

Always remember, there's more than one way to make a casserole. The best part about these dishes is that you can interchange and entire pantry of ingredients and create your own, different versions with what you have available.

Cara's Easy Weekday Chicken-n-Broccoli Casserole Dinner:

- 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked Chicken, cubed (doesn't have to be uniform or any special size)
- half of a 16oz package Frozen Broccoli
- 1 cup Instant Rice, uncooked
- 1, 10.5oz can Cream of Mushroom Soup (cream of chicken works also)
- 1 soup can Milk
- 1/2 medium or large Onion, chopped
- 1 cup Button Mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook the instant rice according to package instructions and set aside. Heat oil in an extra large skillet, or even a dutch oven if you don't have one. Saute onions and mushrooms over medium heat, until onions become translucent and mushrooms reduce in size. Add broccoli and heat together. When broccoli is halfway warmed up, add the cubed chicken and heat, stirring occasionally. Add cream of mushroom soup, milk, and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Add cooked rice and stir to combine until heated and thickened. Pour mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish, preferably glass - another large ceramic casserole dish. Top mixture with cheddar cheese, and bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes (maybe 30 depending on your oven). Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Serves about 6.

Casserole Tips: Nothing here is set in stone. You could add other veggies, such as celery, green beans, peas or carrots. Fresh mushrooms aren't required, you could use canned or even leave them out, it's up to you. For added texture, top the casserole with about 1 cup of breadcrumbs or maybe french fried onions over the cheese for a little bit of crunch. Substitutions are allowed, if you don't have rice handy, you can use egg noodles or elbow pasta in lieu of the rice. Feel free to throw in some additional spices into your casserole (such as parsley, oregano, rosemary, garlic etc), but remember not to go overboard, because the cream soup has salt and other seasonings in it, and the leftover chicken might have seasonings from the last dish you made it for.

Make this casserole on your own, and don't be afraid to get creative with it. Wow your family with this savory, creamy classic!

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