Once a month we’re featuring a new family-friendly dish for our Kids Can Cook section from the Hatfields. The dairy-free teen cooking star is Katherine and this week she is sharing a wonderful weeknight meal: Southwest chicken and rice casserole. Her mom, Sarah, has the pictures and details for us …
I love casseroles, and this Southwest Chicken and Rice version is a great one because it is made of simple ingredients that come together into something greater than the sum of their parts. This is a recipe that was given to my sister by a friend of the family. The original casserole had more of a Cuban flair, but I altered the seasonings to please my Mexican food-loving family. Since we always have homemade seasoning on hand (included in the recipe), as well as the other ingredients, this is an easy weeknight meal.
Young cooks can easily assemble this rice casserole with its microwaved roux–no hot stove!–using precooked rice and chicken. All the adult helper needs to do is put the casserole in the oven.
Older children and teens can of course cook the rice and chicken themselves before making the casserole, so their parents can take a night off from cooking!
We always cook more rice than we need to go with one meal, and we often have a cup or two of chicken leftover from roasted chicken or sauteed chicken breasts. This Southwest chicken and rice casserole recipe is a perfect way to stretch those leftovers into a meal while giving the kids something easy to cook.
To serve, our kids like to eat this Southwest chicken and rice casserole with tortillas; it is also great wrapped in lettuce leaves or served with a side salad and pinto beans. For those who like a spicier dish, serve the casserole with sliced jalapenos or hot sauce.
Special Diet Notes: Southwest Chicken and Rice Casserole
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free, optionally egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and optionally soy-free. Just be sure that you select the buttery spread and mayo that are right for your needs.
For a gluten-free, dairy-free Southwest chicken and rice casserole, substitute your favorite thickening gluten-free flour blend for the flour.
- ½ cup dried minced onion
- ¼ cup sweet paprika
- ¼ cup non-GMO cornstarch (can sub tapioca or arrowroot starch)
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram (or oregano)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup dairy-free buttery spread or non-hydrogenated margarine
- ¼ cup all-purpose or white-wheat flour
- 4 tablespoons water
- ½ cup mayonnaise or vegan mayo (for egg-free)
- ¼ cup Southwest Seasoning (above)
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
- 4 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice
- Place all of the ingredients in a large jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine. Use as directed in the Chicken and Rice Casserole instructions that follow.
- Store leftovers in the jar and use ¼ cup per pound of meat or meat substitute in recipes.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease a medium-sized casserole dish (such as an 8x8-inch).
- Place the buttery spread in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on HIGH for 20 seconds to melt.
- Whisk in the flour and the 4 tablespoons of water. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
- Stir in the mayonnaise followed by the Southwest Seasoning. Add the chicken and rice and stir until evenly coated.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared casserole dish, cover, and bake for 30 minutes.