Wednesday, December 2, 2009

TC's mom's chicken with crunchy rice

I've become increasingly--sometimes annoyingly--obsessed over what I buy and prepare for my family to eat. I'm more and more about local, organic, whole foods. I'm less and less about additive-laden convenience foods.

But, sometimes? You need to fall back on one of those you-could-make-it-in-your-sleep-and-it's-just-as-good-every-time recipes. Especially one of those you-could-make-it-in-your-sleep-etc. recipes that your mom always made for you when you were a kid.

And the truth of the matter is? Sometimes, those comfort foods require a can of Campbell's Cream of Somethingorother. (Yes, Campbell's. I actually make pretty much every soup I eat these days from scratch, but when I don't, it's Campbell's--for no reason other than that it's what my mom always used. Substitute another brand at your own risk.) And so you buy it, and you use it, and you love it--and you just don't look at the list of ingredients. It's better that way.

Now, I'm not going to claim that this is the most delicious recipe you'll ever taste. But it's easy, and it's good. Hell, it's butter and rice and chicken and Cream of Somethingorother soup. How could it not be good?

Actually, it's really, really, realllllllly good.

TC's Mom's Chicken with Crunchy Rice
  • 3 chicken breasts (because that's what fits in my baking pan)
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 can of cream of somethingorother soup (Mom used cream of mushroom, but my family objects to mushrooms, though I think in the photo of up there you'll see I sneaked them in by using cream of chicken and mushrooms)
  • 1/2 can of water
  • butter
[Note: My mom used to also include a package of Lipton Onion Soup in the mix described in step #2, and would sprinkle paprika over the top to give it all some color before popping it into the oven. I don't do either of these things, but you're welcome to give it a try.]

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a casserole or baking dish.

2. Mix together rice, soup and water in the baking/casserole dish. Place chicken on top of mixture. Plop (I can't think of a better way to describe it) dabs/dots of butter on top of the chicken and the rice/liquid.

3. Cook, uncovered, for about an hour and fifteen minutes, or until the rice around the chicken is browned and crunchy on top.

See what I mean? Couldn't be easier.

By the way...While this may be the first of my mom's recipes I'll be sharing here, it absolutely won't be the last. Coming up some time this month, in fact, will be both her latke recipe, and her chicken soup with matzoh balls recipe. Which, to be honest, are also her mother's recipes--i.e., my grandmother's recipes. And possibly even my great-grandmother's recipes. (And my aunt will be leaving the full genealogy of these recipes in the comment section in five, four, three...)

The chicken with crunchy rice, though? I'm pretty sure that one originated with my mom. And if I hear otherwise, I'll be sure to let you know.

So what recipes do you guys make that were handed down to you from your mom or dad or further back? How much of what you cook for your kids (or yourself) is the same as what you were fed as a child?


  1. That looks yummy and super easy, but I am forbidden (by my health-freak husband) to make anything with cream of something soup! Maybe I will sneak it in some day when he's out of town. My mom used to make plenty of casseroles and we always ate them, but I rarely make them. On a day to day basis, we eat very differently than I did growing up. We used to eat TV dinners occasionally! I think my husband would divorce me if he saw something like that in our house!

    My Italian (born there) grandmother made everything from scratch, of course, and when my mom married my father he insisted she learn how to make decent spaghetti sauce. So, I know how to do that, as well as lasagna and meatballs. And she does have a great turkey stuffing recipe, too.

  2. So, Lori, on which Friday coming up would you like to guest-post that spaghetti sauce for us? ;-)

  3. We still use my gr-grandmother's pie crust recipe. BEST EVER crust.

    Something my mom used to make which I NEVER will? Tuna noodle casserole. GAG! ;-)

  4. I was all set to make this tonight and then noticed my can of cream of whatever soup was dated three years ago. I used plain broth instead. *That* I always have on hand!

  5. You could always add condensed milk, broth, and whatever seasonings you wanted to use in place of the can of soup for a "healthy" alternative.

  6. I am actually making this tonight; it's the kind of day where Nik won't let me have 5 minutes to myself. But this? I can manage. :-)

  7. Tuna noodle casserole is my favorite dish from when I was a kid. I don't make much from then because 1) my mom wasn't big on cooking, and 2) when she did cook, it was generally heavy on the meat and/or dairy, and very light on the spices. But I love tuna noodle casserole, that is some comfort food. I don't do it exactly the same as she did, but it is pretty similar. Also it's the only way my kids will eat mushroom soup (I use Imagine soup made with soy milk, but it's pretty much the same thing.)

    Oh, and salmon patties, but I haven't done that for a while. I usually just go ahead and buy the salmon fillets now. Semi-funny story: my daughter just told me about this delicious dish her dad makes, with *crackers* (which would be the salmon patties.) I asked her, "Who do you think taught your dad to make those? If your dad knows how to cook anything, it's because I taught him!"

  8. Chiming in late on this, but I've got three recipes in regular rotation that my mom made. Two are casseroles - what can I say, I'm from the midwest. :-)

    They are (in no particular order): grilled lamb chops marinated in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, & curry powder; an inside out stuffed pepper casserole; and a "ruben" casserole.

  9. Oh, Hil, I hope you check back here. Because I really NEED you to write up that inside-out stuffed pepper casserole for us as a guest post. PLEASE? ;-)

  10. Here's a tip for those who'd prefer not to use the (highly processed and full of chemicals) soup: cream-of-something-or-other soups were subbed into recipes that fifty years ago would have called for a simple white sauce...which is the EASIEST of sauces and incredibly flexible. To make a white sauce: melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour and stir until it's mixed well. Cook five minutes, then add a cup of milk or broth or stock or white wine or very dry vermouth -- whatever floats your boat -- and lower the heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to prevent lumps from forming, and simmer (don't boil) until thickened, about five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Voila! Use it wherever a can of cream soup is called for.