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French Onion Chicken & Rice Casserole

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Elevate Your Dinner Game with French Onion Chicken & Rice Casserole: A Flavorful Recipe with Keto and Low-Carb Options

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French Onion Chicken & Rice Casserole is a comforting and satisfying dish that combines the rich flavors of French onion soup with tender chicken and fluffy rice. This hearty casserole is perfect for cozy family dinners or potluck gatherings, and it’s sure to become a new favorite in your recipe repertoire. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll guide you through every step of preparing French Onion Chicken & Rice Casserole, along with FAQs, cook notes, variations, and even keto and low-carb options to accommodate different dietary preferences.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 packet French onion soup mix
  • 3 cups halved brown or white mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley

Instructions:

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  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the uncooked rice, whole milk, cream of mushroom soup, cream cheese pieces, chicken broth, French onion soup mix, halved mushrooms, and dried thyme. Mix well to combine.
  3. Pour the rice mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  4. Arrange the chicken tenders on top of the rice mixture in a single layer.
  5. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  6. After 45 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle the shredded Gruyere cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  7. Return the uncovered casserole to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  8. Remove from the oven and let the casserole cool for a few minutes before serving.
  9. Garnish with roughly chopped parsley before serving.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • For extra flavor, you can sauté the mushrooms in butter or olive oil before adding them to the rice mixture.
  • Feel free to customize the protein by using boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts instead of chicken tenders.
  • Substitute the Gruyere cheese with Swiss cheese or mozzarella for a different flavor profile.
  • For a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and add extra vegetables such as diced bell peppers, carrots, or peas.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Replace the white rice with cauliflower rice for a low-carb alternative. Simply pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble rice grains, then proceed with the recipe as directed.
  • Use heavy cream instead of whole milk to reduce the carb content of the dish.
  • Skip the cream of mushroom soup and use a combination of heavy cream, chicken broth, and grated Parmesan cheese to create a keto-friendly sauce.
  • Swap the cream cheese for full-fat cream cheese or mascarpone cheese for extra richness and creaminess.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I use instant rice instead of long grain white rice?
    • Yes, you can use instant rice if you prefer. Follow the package instructions for cooking time and liquid ratios, and adjust the recipe accordingly.
  2. Can I prepare French Onion Chicken & Rice Casserole ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can assemble the casserole up to a day in advance and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Simply cover the baking dish tightly with foil or plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. Bake as directed when ready to serve.
  3. Can I freeze leftover French Onion Chicken & Rice Casserole?
    • Yes, you can freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake in a preheated oven until heated through.
  4. Can I add extra cheese to the casserole?
    • Absolutely! Feel free to sprinkle additional shredded cheese over the top of the casserole before baking for extra cheesy goodness.

French Onion Chicken & Rice Casserole is a delicious and versatile dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its creamy rice base, savory chicken tenders, and melty cheese topping, it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Whether you’re looking for a comforting weeknight dinner or a potluck favorite, this casserole has you covered. Plus, with keto and low-carb options available, it’s easy to customize to fit your dietary needs. So why wait? Gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to enjoy the irresistible flavors of French Onion Chicken & Rice Casserole