i have made this before and frozen it...i've also made it with or without the rice...all ways equal the same thing..amazing!
chicken & rice casserole
what you need...
1 package sliced almonds
2 boxes fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice mix
1/4 cup butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (99% fat free is best)
2 cans chopped water chestnuts, drained
8oz container sour cream (fat free works!)
1 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (2% reduced fat)
2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
what to do...
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 4 to 6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Prepare rice mixes according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add celery and onions. Sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, next 6 ingredients, rice, and 3 cups cheese.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch baking dish or 2 (11- x 7-inch) baking dishes. Top with breadcrumbs.Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese, and top with toasted almonds. Bake 5 minutes.