Run Nelly Run

Run Nelly Run

Running through life as self-proclaimed house wife, mother, homeschooler, and wanna-be chef

Chicken & Rice Casserole

I must really be a Minnesotan at heart..because, nothing says fall and comfort food like a “cream”-based casserole.

I’m going to go nostalgic here again, so bear with me.  My parents were always great about feeding us well.  I loved that my Mom & Dad really loved food and it showed in their cooking.  One of my favorite meals, as a kid, was Chicken & Rice Casserole.  Their version went something like this

  • Chicken thigh, with skin on
  • Cream of chicken soup
  • Rice
  • Seasoning I am not aware of 
  • and of course…Love….because that’s what makes any dish really yummy, right!

I had a lot of left over Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup and remembered my favorite family meal.  Being a dairy-free family, I made it a mission of mine to make this dish as similar as possible to the original, (or better!).  I think I did it! Smell alone would make a vegan eater into a convert of all things chicken…

The house smelled like Thanksgiving, that’s the only way I can describe it…it just screams comfort.

I started off with all of these ingredients, (the kale and whole mushrooms will be roasted and used as a “topper” for the actual casserole.


I found an exceptionally large onion at the store and decided to only use half, that was a good call.  I want this to be chicken & rice casserole, not onion soup.


I heated a cast-iron skillet and sautéed the onions until they started to turn golden.  


they were a minute shy of being done here!

Once the onions were golden brown I mixed them in with white basmati rice and poured them on the bottom of a casserole dish, (it has to be big enough to fit 8 cups of soup, 2 1/4 cups rice, and 6 large chicken thighs).


My parents never did this next step, but I do remember that the chicken skin was always a rubbery texture that usually was peeled and discarded. 

I seasoned the thighs skin with S & P before I placed them skin-down in the skillet.  I let them cook until they had a nice, golden-brown crust.



looking good already!

Next I poured the soup over the rice and stirred it all up a bit…there will be a lot of soup to rice ratio…do not fear! rice soaks up moisture.  

Then I placed the chicken thighs in the casserole dish, wiggling them down into the soup/rice mix.

Placed all of it in a 350 oven and cooked for an hour.  It smelled magical by 45 minutes!

For the mushroom/kale topping…I cleaned and quartered my mushrooms.  I used pre-chopped/packaged kale, which all I did was take the fibrous stems off some of the pieces.  I tossed both the kale and mushroom together with some coconut oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder


Roasted the topping off in a 375 degree oven

All that was left was to plate and devour.  It was a hit! 

food photography is not my forte, I apologize!

food photography is not my forte, I apologize!

I asked my husband if this was blog worthy and he replied with an enthusiastic, “YES!”

Chicken & Rice Casserole
Serves 4
Dairy-free, MN-reminiscent, comfort food
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 1/2 lrg. yellow onion
  2. 6, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  3. 8 C. Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
  4. 2 C. white basmati rice
  5. 1 lb. cremini mushrooms
  6. 2 cups chopped kale, (or one small bunch)
  7. S & P
  8. 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  9. 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  1. Preheat oven 350
  2. Heat cast-iron skillet over medium high-heat
  3. Add oil
  4. Saute onion until golden brown ~ 3 minutes
  5. Remove onion and stir with rice in bottom of large casserole dish, (needs a cover!)
  6. Season chicken thigh skin with S& P while still in package
  7. Place chicken, skin-side down in skillet
  8. Cook on skin-side until golden crust forms ~ 5 minutes
  9. Add soup to rice mixture and stir until combined
  10. Top rice/soup mixture with chicken thighs skin side up (I wiggled my chicken in the soup mixture a little so they were partially covered)
  11. Cover and bake for 1 hour
  12. Turn off heat and allow to sit 5 minutes
  14. preheat oven to 375
  15. toss mushrooms and kale in oil
  16. season with salt, garlic powder, and onion powder
  17. spread on a rimmed baking sheet, (mushrooms contain water and will make a mess with a cookie sheet)
  18. bake for 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness, more time = more crispy
  1. This is not the prettiest dish, but it is oh-so-good!
  2. Careful when browning chicken skin....chicken thigh contains fat and water. fat + water = is wise to use something to shield you from spitting hot liquid!
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