Dinner inspiration tends to come from somewhere. Yesterday I opened the fridge at about
11 AM, it was already too late to defrost something from the freezer. Amongst about a million jars of condiments sat a half eaten rotisserie chicken. Hmmm. I closed the fridge and went back to my office.
I started checking the weather, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest...'cause that's what I do when i don't know what to cook. I finally came across this recipe, which inspired me to make the one you see here today.
Recipe inspiration is one of the reasons I love food blogs, as well as looking and reading about food in general. You just never know what is going to give you an idea to get dinner on the table.
I went back to the kitchen and shredded my chicken and looked around the pantry for a jar of sauce.
I do keep a few hunks of fancy cheese in my fridge drawer. Gruyere is one of my absolute favorites. Its higher fat content makes it one of best melty-cheeses around, adding savoriness without overshadowing the flavors of other ingredients. Have you ever had it in fondue, cordon blue or melted over French onion soup? O-M-G.
Here are a couple of products I used in this dish and that I rely on often on a regular basis. First, these freeze-dried herbs. Have you seen them at the market? I absolutely love them and go through them so quickly. 1 Tablespoon fresh = 1 Tablespoon of dried. My favorite is the freeze- dried garlic.
And I always have a few jars of Classico Alfredo sauce in the pantry. It was a quick and easy solution in this recipe that worked well. My kids always love a little bit poured into their red sauce for a creamier, lighter taste. It's a staple around here.
From this recipe I was able to make two casseroles. Both are in 2-quart pans. It would have worked well in a 9 x 13 as well. But, with two, you can freeze one for later or take one to a friend!
Crunchy Gruyere-Alfredo Chicken Bake
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 2 cups uncooked batsmati rice
- 3 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup creamy alfredo sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 pound Gruyere cheese, sliced
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 2-1/2 Tablespoons dried basil, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large 12" saucepan, add chicken, rice, stock, alfredo and pepper. Bring to a boil and stir the ingredients. Cover and simmer on low until rice is done, about 15-20 minutes or until rice is soft to the taste. (It's okay if there is a little liquid. This will keep it it moist in the oven.)
- Cover bottoms of 2-quart pans with cooked rice mixture. Add a layer of Gruyere and a 1/2 Tablespoon of basil on top of the cheese. Cover cheese with the remaining rice mixture and repeat with another layer of cheese and basil.
- Mix panko with butter and remaining 1/2 Tablespoon basil until fully incorporated. Sprinkle over the top of the casseroles. Place in oven on the top rack. The rice and chicken are already cooked. Time spent in the oven is only to melt the cheese and brown the crumbs. Placing in the top rack will help accelerate the process. About 15-25 minutes depending on your oven.
Savor every bite.