Creamy casseroles may just be the reigning champion of comfort foods. They are typically made in a large, glass dish, filled to the top with cheeses, noodles, rice or sauces. Generally they are known for their layers of ooey, gooey, bubbling, hot, goodness. More often than not, the smell of it baking in the oven will have your tastebuds dancing before your first forkful.
This hearty Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole will warm you up on even the coldest night!
This Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole is one of my favorites. While this version is very different than the one i grew up on, these simple casseroles are always a winner to me. I loved chicken and rice as a kid. It was a popular, onion soup based sauce that was poured over whole pieces of chicken and rice, then covered in foil and baked for an hour or two. Since it was most cost effective, my mom always purchased a whole chicken, cut it into pieces and made a big 9 X 13 glass dish of this specialty and we had it in the Fall and Winter. My brother, sister and I were always busy with after school sports or activities and we would come home from school tired and hungry. I loved walking in the front door and being greeted with the smells of delicious food cooking and knowing goodness was happening in the kitchen.
This recipe, for what I call Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole, is the epitome of comfort food. I first made this dish 30 years ago and loved it immediately! I used to boil a whole chicken and take the meat off the bone, a somewhat labor intensive task, but that is what you did when you wanted to save money, or didn’t have any to start with. However, I love to make it more now that there is the added convenience of being able to buy precooked chicken that I can shred or precooked and already shredded chicken, packaged and ready to go.
The “Santa Fe” portion of this dish, comes from the tender, green chilies. They aren’t spicy, they are more for the warm, earthy flavor, not to add heat per se. When you blend the green chilies with sour cream, ricotta, cheddar and cream cheese, you have a winner. However when you top that off with crushed corn chips, you have a FAMILY FAVORITE!
Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole
- 1-1/2 cups sour cream
- 1-1/2 cups cottage cheese or ricotta
- 1 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
- 2 4 ounce cans green chilies (can use mild or hot)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 3 cups cooked, white rice
- 3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
- 3 cups grated, mild cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 cups crushed, corn chips
- Blend together sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese and 1 can of the chilis until smooth in food processor, transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining 1 can chopped chilis, can of soup, white rice, chopped chicken, salt and half the grated cheese. Stir this together in a large bowl by hand.Place in a greased 9 x 13 pyrex dish. Top with remaining grated cheese and sprinkle crushed corn chips on top of that.Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly, approximately 45 minutes.*You can add a can of chopped Jalepenos to kick up the heat if you'd like!
You can make this up a few days ahead of time and keep it covered in the refrigerator, so you then have the ease of just popping it in the oven on a busy school night when you are short on time or patience. It is fabulous leftover and has an even more green chili flavor. It travels well for potlucks and you can always make a double batch, freeze half and you are a meal ahead for the month. I hope you love this Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole as much as we do! Enjoy!
Do you have a favorite childhood casserole that you have redone as an adult and love as much as I love Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole?