Creamy Chicken-and-Rice Casserole

Adapted from Cooking Light, January 1995
6 servings of approximately 1 1/3 cups each

1 (6.9-ounce) package lower sodium chicken-flavored Rice-a-Roni
1 Tablespoon light butter 
2 1/4 cups hot water
Non-stick cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup presliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat, reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/4 cup crushed multigrain crackers (about 6 crackers)
1 tablespoon light butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Cook rice mix in a large nonstick skillet according to package directions, using 1 tablespoon margarine and 2 1/4 cups hot water. Remove mixture from skillet; set aside. Wipe skillet with a paper towel. Coat the skillet with cooking spray, and place over high heat until hot. Add chicken, mushrooms, and garlic powder; sauté 6 minutes or until chicken loses its pink color. Combine rice mixture, chicken mixture, sour cream, pepper, and soup in a bowl; stir well. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Combine cracker crumbs, margarine, and poppy seeds; stir well, and sprinkle over chicken mixture. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Make-Ahead Tips: You can assemble the casserole ahead of time, omitting the cracker-crumb mixture; cover and chill in the refrigerator or freeze (thaw frozen casserole overnight in refrigerator). Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes; top with cracker-crumb mixture, and bake as directed.

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 334(18% from fat); FAT 6.8g (sat 1.6g,mono 2.2g,poly 2g); IRON 2mg; CHOLESTEROL 68mg; CALCIUM 19mg; CARBOHYDRATE 30g; SODIUM 687mg; PROTEIN 32.2g; FIBER 0.2g


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