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I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  Did you get any time off?  I had 4.5 days with my family, friend, dogs, and bald boyfriend, and they were all glorious!

I also have gained approximately 19.5 pounds in those 4.5 days, so prepare yourselves for some healthy food in the near future!

In the meantime, though, let’s make something creamy and comforting with our leftover turkey because it’s raining and gross here today!

This wasn’t originally a turkey dish, and I make it year-round with chicken.  It’s a VERY easy traditional southern casserole that can be made well in advance and has about 1,392 variations according to what YOUR grandmother did.  This is how I make it, though!

Chicken (Turkey) and Rice

This is so easy and you’ll just love it – trust me!

  • 3 medium chicken breasts (or leftover turkey, enough to cover a medium baking dish!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small can cream of mushroom soup (I use low sodium and low fat – it tastes the same!)
  • 1 cup whole milk or half and half
  • sliced swiss cheese (enough to cover whatever baking dish you’re using)
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

First, brown the chicken if you don’t have any leftover turkey.  Cut the chicken into cubes, and brown it in a hot pan with the olive oil.

Fabulous!  Shake the chicken around for about 5 minutes until it starts to brown, then remove it from the heat and spread in the bottom of your baking dish.

Keep the pan at medium heat – we’re going to use the same one for the veggies!

Peel the onion and one clove of garlic.  Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic.

Add the onion to the pan and saute it for 2 minutes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until it starts to soften.

When the onion has started to soften, add the garlic and stir for one more minute.  Then spread the onions and garlic on top of the chicken in the baking dish.

Now comes the cheese!  I’m using a block of cheese, but the sandwich-sized slices work great too!

Lay the cheese on top of the chicken and onions in one even layer.

Fabulous.  Now, for the two very sophisticated sauce ingredients:

Soup and milk.  Easy, right!  Dump the soup into a bowl or other liquid-holding apparatus.

Then, use the soup can to measure the same amount of milk or half and half and get some of the stuck soup bits out of the can.

Add the milk to the soup and stir around, then pour the whole fabulous goop over the chicken, onions, and cheese.

This is quite possibly the easiest thing I’ve ever showed you how to make, and just imagine if you’d skipped the whole “cooking the chicken” series and used leftover turkey!  Seriously. Let’s move on to the topping!

Fancy, huh?  Sprinkle the top of the dish liberally with bread crumbs, then top with the parmesan.

Now, at this point, you can cover the dish and keep it in the fridge for a few days, or you could freeze and bake it in several years.  Or months.  Or whatever.

Please show pity on my dog who never gets to eat, ever.

She’s just famished in this picture.  Just ask her.

When you’re ready to bake the chicken or turkey, preheat the oven to 375F and bake the dish for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on 1. your oven, 2. how cold the dish was when you put it in, 3. a myriad of other factors.  When the top is brown and the gravy is bubbly it’s all done!

Don’t be stingy with the parm and breadcrumbs – they’re the best part!

This is cozy and delicious and easy.  You can throw it together after work and while it bakes you’ll have 30 minutes to go on a run!  Then you can dig in guilt-free.  Sort of.  Serve this with hot white rice, or even some short cut pasta with butter and herbs if you’re feeling fancy.  Enjoy this one!