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Salsa chicken & rice casserole

The irony of it is a total knee-slapper. There have been days lately that I have been so busy in the kitchen I have forgotten to figure out something for dinner. Since most of my kitchen time these days is spent working on my upcoming cookbook, I have jars upon jars of pickled things, sauced things, sweet and sticky things but dinner is often the last thing on my mind. As much as my kids would probably love to be handed a fork and a jar of pickles for dinner, it's not my idea of a family meal.

This salsa chicken and rice casserole lets me use up some of the salsa in my house right now (cuz there's lots of it!), while spending virtually no time cooking. Brown rice is sprinkled in the bottom of a casserole dish, the chicken breasts are layered on top, and a mixture of salsa and water is poured over the chicken. It gets seasoned with salt and pepper and baked in the oven, topped with cheese at the end and finished under the broiler until golden and bubbly. Simple and tasty.

Here's how to make it:
Makes 3 servings

1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 1/2 lb (675 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (about 3 breasts)
2 cups (500 mL) salsa
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) water
salt & pepper
1 cup grated cheese such as Monterey Jack, mozzarella or Cheddar

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Spread out rice in a large casserole dish. Place chicken breasts on top of rice. In a mixing bowl, combine salsa and water. Pour over chicken and rice. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour. Sprinkle cheese on top of casserole. Turn broiler on high and pop casserole back in oven for about 5 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly.

What's your all-time favourite casserole? Leave a comment and share your recipe ideas...