Nailed it or Failed it: Teriyaki chicken casserole lives up to expectations

Published 1:37 pm Saturday, April 22, 2017

By Sarah Condley

As I keep telling you, we really like chicken and I am always looking for a new way to fix it.

Brad loves casseroles, and they are typically real easy to throw together.  This recipe looked like it fit the bill for a pretty easy supper, so I printed out the recipe and added it to my chicken recipe folder.

Email newsletter signup

The other night we had plans that included us getting home late and I thought we’d be grabbing a bite of supper out, most likely at Culver’s — Brad’s favorite fast food place.  Our plans changed around lunchtime, and since I had not put anything out to thaw, I decided to stop at the store on the way home and get some chicken.  Once I got home I’d figure out how to fix it.

This recipe is the first one I saw when I opened my chicken folder and after checking the refrigerator and freezer to make sure we had some kind of stir-fry vegetables (we had a bag in the freezer) I decided this was the night’s winner for supper. Since there were some random vegetables in the refrigerator I decided we’d have a salad too.

Because Brad likes wild rice I decided I’d make half the dish using that type of rice and the other half using plain white rice (my portion). So the first thing I had to do was get some wild rice cooking for Brad’s half of the dish — it takes about an hour. Then I had to clean the chicken. Now the recipe says to spray the baking dish with cooking spray, but I don’t like the sticky feel that is left behind with cooking spray so I just used a little Crisco and greased the dish. After cleaning the chicken it I set it aside in the baking dish while I prepared the sauce to pour over it for cooking. The sauce took no time to put together and it thickened quicker than I thought it would when I added the cornstarch/water mixture.  I poured 1 cup of the sauce over the chicken and put it in the oven for 30 minutes, hoping Brad would be home at a decent time. The recipe calls for 2 boneless breasts, but the package I bought had 3 in it so I used all of them.

After putting the chicken in the oven I realized I needed to get some white rice cooking for my portion of the dish since I don’t like wild rice.

After the white rice was on the stove I started getting ingredients ready for a salad to accompany the casserole. Now Brad is a vegetable lover and enjoys all kinds in his salad.  Me on the other hand, well you know I don’t like green stuff so my salad consists of Romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, a little celery, mandarin oranges, chopped pecans, and a few of those French’s fried onions.  I figure if it’s got lettuce as the base it’s considered a salad.

The chicken had been in the oven about 15 minutes when I decided I better check and see what was in the frozen stir-fry mix.  I opened the package and poured it into a microwave safe pan and decided it needed a little more variety. I opened the freezer to see what else I had and found a partial package of sugar snap peas. Now, I don’t like peas but I don’t mind a few sugar snap peas if they are mixed in with something else.

I poured a few into the pan and still thought it needed something. I rummaged through my refrigerator and found some fresh broccoli. I do like broccoli, but only steamed or in something like this dish.  I rinsed a little bit of the broccoli, cut it up and put it in the microwave dish — I knew I had enough vegetables because the lid barely fit.

About that time Brad walked in. He asked what was cooking and when I told him I bet you can guess what he said — of course he wanted some shiitake mushrooms added.  So back to the refrigerator I went, I grabbed some mushrooms, wiped them off and sliced them. I decided to wait and add the mushrooms to the dish when it was placed back in the oven with the other vegetables mixed in.

About that time the oven timer sounded. I popped the veggies into the microwave and then took the chicken out of the oven and began shredding it with two forks. About this time both types of rice were ready. I could not believe the timing was working out for this dish.

I decided I’d try dividing this dish in half while it was still in the 9×13 pan and put 2 cups of white rice in the entire thing, added the microwaved vegetables and then stirred everything together.  Then and only then did I add 1 cup of wild rice and the mushrooms to one side of the dish for Brad (I didn’t want them getting in my part). After Brad took a look he wanted a little more wild rice so I added 1/2 cup more to his side.

I added a little more of the sauce as called for in the recipe, and stirred each side gently so as not to get those mushrooms or the wild rice in my half.

Everything went back in the oven for 15 minutes.

When the dish came out we were both ready to eat. Brad said the blessing and we ate our salads, then served ourselves some of the casserole. We both liked this dish. It was filling and I felt like it was a good way to get some vegetables in my diet.

About half way thorough eating Brad said he thought sprinkling some cashews on top would be good. We both added some to our uneaten portion and agreed this dish is yummy.

I nailed this casserole and look forward to having it again. Of course it was way more than the two of us could eat so we enjoyed it again as leftovers. This would be an easy dish to fix if you were expecting company. I recommend the cashews as a crunchy garnish. If you don’t have frozen stir-fry vegetables you could use any combination that you like from the produce section — it will just take a little more prep time.

Teriyaki chicken casserole

—3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

—1/2 cup water

—1/4 cup brown sugar

—1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

—1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

—2 Tablespoons cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons water

—2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts

—1 (12 oz.) bag stir-fry vegetables

—3 cups cooked brown or white rice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.

Combine soy sauce, ½ cup water, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan and cover.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Remove lid and cook for 1 minute once boiling.

Meanwhile, stir together the cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons of water in a separate dish until smooth.  Once sauce is boiling, add mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine.  Cook until the sauce starts to thicken then remove from heat.

Place the chicken breasts in the prepared pan.  Pour one cup of the sauce over top of chicken.  Place chicken in oven and bake 35 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and shred chicken in the dish using two forks.

Meanwhile, steam or cook the vegetables according to package directions.

Add the cooked vegetables and rice to the casserole dish with the chicken.  Add most of the remaining sauce, reserving a bit to drizzle over the top when serving.  Gently toss everything together in the casserole dish until combined.  Return to oven and cook 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Drizzle each serving with remaining sauce.

Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.