I grew up in a family with six kids, and my mom, for all 18+ years that I was at home, had dinner on the table by 6:00 p.m. sharp 90% of the time (or at the very least, we knew that we could expect a home-cooked meal at roughly the same time each night). My mom is truly a superwoman, and I am constantly amazed at how much she can get accomplished in a day, and how she seems to know everything important there is to know about being a responsible adult.
One way that she was able to consistently stay on top of the dinner schedule was that she used the same four-week menu plan, year in and year out. For each weekly menu plan, she had a corresponding grocery list as well as a list of all of the side dishes for every meal (and there were always side dishes). Oh, and she didn’t just have a menu plan for our dinners, but for our breakfasts, too. Basically, this meant that we had 28 different dinners every month, and it also meant that on any given day, I could open up the blue binder that was always kept on the desk in the kitchen and know exactly what we were going to have for dinner.
I loved it (except when the menu plan said that we were going to have chicken pillows, which I didn’t learn to appreciate until much later in life).
For our Sunday meals, we rotated between steak, roast beef and mashed potatoes, pork chops and scalloped potatoes, and this here chicken and rice recipe that I’m about to share today. Honestly, when I found out (well into my adulthood) how easy this chicken and rice recipe was to make, I was astounded because it never SEEMED like it was a throw-together meal.
Nowadays, this is one of my all-time favorite recipes to make because it takes next to no prep time (it’s basically a “dump and go” meal), makes a GREAT take-in meal for when I offer to bring someone dinner, and pretty much everyone likes it. Sure, it’s not going to win you any cooking show award anytime soon, but for me, this is comfort food at its finest (and at its easiest). I also love that it uses pantry staples I almost always have on hand, and when served with a side of green beans (canned or frozen), it makes a solid meal.
The only thing you really have to plan ahead for is the cooking time, and even that can be adjusted a bit, as noted below. Since our church every Sunday lasts for 3 hours, I’ll often just put this in right before and have a hot meal ready and waiting for us right when we get home.
10-Minute Prep Chicken + Rice
6-8 pieces of chicken (thighs and/or drumsticks)
1 1/3 cup (uncooked) rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
salt & pepper
- Salt and pepper chicken pieces.
- Mix soups together and pour half of the mixture into a 9 x 13 dish (I always spray mine with Pam first).
- Sprinkle rice on top.
- Pour in rest of soup mixture and spread evenly over rice.
- Layer chicken pieces on top.
- Tightly cover with foil and bake for 2.5 hours at 325 degrees (F) or for 3.5 hours at 275 degrees (F).
In a quick photo summary, this is all the prep there is (although I did forget to photograph the first step, which is where you spread half of the soup mixture over the very bottom of the pan):
A Few Notes:
- I rarely buy Cream of Celery soup, so I always just substitute whichever flavor (chicken or mushroom) that I’m feeling more at that moment. If you’re trying to go for minimally processed foods, I know there are ways to make homemade cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups, and I’m sure you could easily substitute those in, though it would obviously mean more prep work.
- I’ve used both chicken breasts and chicken thighs/drumsticks, and I personally prefer the darker meat on this, as the chicken breasts tend to dry out a bit.
- I’ve had good success with using both skinless meat and skin-on meat, so it really comes down to a matter of personal preference. I usually just go for whichever I can get a good deal on that week at the store.
- I’m sure you could cut down the cooking time by increasing the temperature, but I haven’t had enough experience with it to tell you a definite answer on that.
- This meal also freezes well. Just do the prep, cover it tightly, and pop it in the freezer. You sometimes have to cook it a little bit longer than called for depending on your oven, but usually not much.
- Honestly, I’m usually too lazy to mix the soups together beforehand, so I just dump one and a half cans in the bottom of the pan and then top the rice with the rest. It still tastes just as good, so I’m all for not dirtying another dish!
- You can also choose to substitute in a can of water for one of the cans of soup, if you wish.