Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wild Rice Casserole

Growing up in Minnesota in the almost too distant past, we ate a lot of casseroles.  Someone died, there were casseroles, there was a wedding or baby shower, there were casseroles.  If there was a wedding reception in the church basement, yup...there were casseroles. And cake.  So growing up my mom always made this wild rice casserole and we always had two casseroles.  One was chicken and one was tuna.  My dad and brother hated the tuna, leaving it for me and my mom. It worked out great, since she only needed half a can of cream of something soup for one casserole, now she could use the whole can!!   Because I am feeling particularly nice today, you get two for the price of one. I'll post my mom's version and my version.  My version is the dairy free/gluten free one y'all, incase you didn't figure that out yet.  

The Goods for My Version: (I usually double the recipe so I can have left overs for lunch during the week).

1.5 cups of meat, shredded (I like to use chicken, but I'll used canned chicken or the sealed package of tuna if I don't have anything fresh)
1 package Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice-Original Recipe
6 oz of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (1/2 a small container) I tend to find this in the organic dairy section at my local Kroger, and in with the regular dairy at Market Street.  

Handful of potato chips, crushed to smithereens
And one batch of Mushoom Sauce to replace cream of anything soup.

What to Do:
Cook the rice according to the directions on the package, using extra virgin olive oil in place of butter.

Whilst the rice is cooking, whip up a batch of the mushroom sauce to use in the casserole and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

When everything is done cooking, mix the rice, meat, and mushroom sauce together either in a bowl or in your baking dish.  Then add 1/2 of a 12oz non dairy sour cream, and the crushed chips.  Stir it until incorporated, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Take it out, give it a stir and bake for another 10-15  minutes.  You can also microwave it on high for 10 minutes, then stir, then microwave for 10 more minutes.

The Goods for the 1970's Full Dairy Version:
1.5 cups of meat, shredded (if you were my mom it was 2 casseroles you were making so one was a can of chicken and the other a can of tuna)
1 package (per casserole) of Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice Original  Recipe
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 can or jar of mushrooms, drained (you can choose large or small depending on how much mushroom you like)
1 cup of cottage cheese
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, plus some for topping
1/2 can cream of something soup (mushroom, chicken etc.)
handful of breadcrumbs, ritz crackers (crushed up) or potato chips, crushed

What to Do 70's Style:
Cook the rice according to the package, using butter.  In a casserole dish mix everything together.  The 70's version is to use the oven at 350 degrees, cooking for 15 minutes, stirring and then another 15 minutes.   The 80's brought us a microwave, so cook it on high for 10 minutes and stir, microwaving another 10 minutes.  Top with a fresh sprinkle of cheddar cheese.

I am totally cool with this as a main dish.  My husband likes it as as side to a real meat.  We've had it with steak or roasted chicken.  Either way is fine by me.  

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