Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Unless you have a large family I know this sounds like a lot. However I'm a big believer in cook once eat twice, or three or four times, or cut the recipe in half.

This can be baked as one large casserole, use a 4 quart dish, if needed or two smaller casseroles, two 8-9-inch baking dishes, or individual casseroles, 7 or 8, 8-12-ounce shallow baking dishes. For individual casseroles adjust your cooking time accordingly. If frozen, remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Bake, covered at, 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 55 more minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and almonds, and bake 5 more minutes.
 
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
10-12 servings
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2 (6.2-ounce) packages long-grain and wild rice mixture
1/4 cup butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 (8-ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
5 cups chopped cooked chicken
4 cups (16-ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
2 (10 1/4-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 (8-ounce) containers sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
1 (2.25-ounce) package sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare rice according to package directions.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add celery and onions. Saute' 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice, water chestnuts, chicken, 3 cups cheese, and next 5 ingredients.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 4-quart baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and almonds; bake 5 more minutes.

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