Creamy Chicken Rice and French Onion Casserole

Photo Credit: Buns In My Oven

This creamy chicken and rice French onion casserole recipe is perfect for those nights when you just need an easy dinner idea. This casserole is definitely a comfort food that includes all of the best comfort food ingredients including cheese, cream and rice. Whenever you think of comfort food, your mind probably goes straight to dairy or carbohydrates. These tend to be the feel-good foods that stimulate dopamine and serotonin in our brains. Dairy products are especially known for their comforting qualities, and this is because there are some similarities between the feelings of comfort we got drinking our mother's milk and drinking cow's milk or eating products made with cow's milk. Many people are allergic to cow's milk and are lactose intolerant, meaning their body refuses milk and they get sick when they consume milk products. Other people who are vegan choose not to consume dairy because of the inhumane treatment of the animals producing the meat and milk. Luckily there are some great vegan and lactose-free products out there that people can have instead of milk. Even reducing your consumption of milk or dairy products could lead to significant improvements in your health. But as is always said, everything in moderation. You can also try to substitute some of the dairy ingredients in this recipe for non-dairy products. For example, the cream of chicken soup could be changed out for a vegan version.

The milk can be switched out for coconut milk or almond milk. There is even oat milk for those who can't have nuts. The cheese might be a little trickier, but there are dairy-free cheeses from brands like Daiya that will work as substitutions for cheese in recipes. You can also use goat's milk dairy products which tend to be gentler on human digestive systems. If you are going to use dairy products always try and get products from organic pasture-raised farms to ensure that there will be fewer hormones and antibiotics in the dairy. These products come from happy, healthy animals that are raised as nature intended rather than in a factory-like setting. They will also even taste better, and you will feel better knowing that the cows are treated well. The nice thing about casserole recipes, they make for such easy dinner ideas and all you have to do is throw all of the ingredients into one dish and bake them until everything is gooey and melted. Casserole recipes became popular in the 1950s when there were more ready to use ingredients like canned vegetables, bricks of cheese and noodles. One of the most popular casserole dishes has to be the tuna casserole with noodles, tuna, cheese and peas. This recipe uses rice instead of noodles, but you could try using noodles in this recipe too if you wanted. Rice is a great addition to any meal because it's so filling and it's gluten-free. You can also find gluten-free noodles as well.

When you're cooking this casserole recipe, make sure that you put some foil on the dish and seal it tightly so that the steam stays inside and cooks the rice all the way through. You could also cook the rice before you make the recipe and then it would be ready a lot faster than if you leave the rice to cook in the casserole dish with all of the other ingredients. For recipes like this, you can cook your rice just until it's a bit tender and then put it into the casserole with the other ingredients. Try out this and other easy dinner ideas from Buns In My Oven.***

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