Friday, June 18, 2010

fof: chicken taco casserole

This is one of those recipes that I pulled off the internet in desperation one night. The process went something like this: "OK, I have a little leftover chicken and some rice... what can I make?"

Sadly, this is an all-too-familiar scenario in this house of little planning.

This particular dish has become a staple for our family, because it is somewhat healthy and it is a great way to use up a little bit of chicken (from a rotisserie chicken, from a chicken breasts picked over by picky children, from chicken used to make chicken stock; you get the idea). The rest of the ingredients are easily kept on hand in case of emergency.

The dish starts with rice; I am not a purist, so I make mine in a casserole dish in the microwave. I use brown rice and, because I have hungry boys, about 1.5 cups of rice with 3 cups of water and a little olive oil and salt for taste. You could use less rice if you don't need all the starch to fill up those bellies.

While the rice is cooking, mix your shredded chicken or whatever meat you are using (about 2 cups is ideal, but I have made it with less) with a small can of tomato sauce and a packet of low sodium taco seasoning. Yes, I could make my own taco seasoning -- I could make my own sauce, for that matter -- but without descending into the realms of possibility, I note that this particular dish is all about quick last minute assembly when I'm under the gun.

After the rice is cooked, pour your chicken/tomato/taco mixture on top of the rice.

Top with refried beans, spreading them out as if you are frosting it. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and pop in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese melts and the beans heat up, about 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and/or on tortillas if you are so inclined. My LSH loves it with siracha hot sauce.

I forgot to take a picture after it came out of the oven. It was attacked before I had a chance! So here's what it looks like, half-eaten. No one will ever accuse this of being a real cooking blog. But here's the recipe, in the off-chance that the picture above makes you think you might want to try this:

Chicken Taco Casserole
1.5 C brown rice, cooked according to directions
2 C shredded chicken (or other leftover meat)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 package taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1/2 C cheddar cheese or to taste
sour cream (optional)

Cook rice in 2.5 quart casserole dish. Mix chicken, tomato sauce and taco seasoning in a separate bowl and then pour on top of cooked rice. "Ice" mixture with refried beans and then sprinkle with cheese. Warm in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream, tortillas and hot sauce if your tastes are so inclined.


  1. This sounds like a tasty meal but I think that I could make it even quicker for nights that get home at 6:25 to a starving family. Maybe they could even make it! I always cook double the rice and freeze half. If we start with that rice and replace the time in the oven with the microwave it could be almost instant? Have you ever tried it in the microwave? Does it heat through? Also, have you tried it with that soy ground beef replacement stuff?

  2. They could definitely make it, it is that easy (and I think it would work with that meat replacement, too). It is a great meal for making ahead and sticking in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to warm it up. I've never tried the microwave because I worried the beans would pop and explode all over the inside, making more work for me in the end...