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Outside, it’s inching up towards 100 degrees again, but for some reason, Cindy is in the mood for a casserole. Maybe we are tired of all the grilling we’ve been doing. Maybe we just want Fall to come a little early. Or maybe we just freaking love this casserole! Whatever the reason, this casserole has been a family favorite for more than 12 years. (Except for the Nug, this dish isn’t his style…) Once you taste this delicious and slightly spicy chicken and rice casserole, you will see why we aren’t shying away from turning on the oven in this heat.

We found this recipe when Cindy’s friend Beth lived in Cincinnati and was part of their Junior League organization. Knowing how Cindy loves her cookbooks, Beth gave her one of the Junior League’s award winning cookbooks and mentioned this recipe was known to be a favorite among many women.

Start with these easy-to-find ingredients – we know, it’s more than the 4 ingredient recipes that we love, but – trust us!- this is worth it!

Don’t forget the mayo – like we did in the picture! (Oops!)

While the chicken and rice are cooking separately, combine the following ingredients in a bowl: sour cream, mayo, cilantro, chilies, garlic salt and Monterey Jack cheese.

Mix everything together well before adding the rice.

Once the rice has cooked and cooled, add the rice to the cheese mixture and mix well.

Add the chicken and (guess what?) mix well… again!

Pour the mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish and top with cheddar cheese.

Cover the casserole with foil and it’s ready for the oven.

Now, as we were preparing this, we realized we only had three people to chow down on it. So, Cindy being the planner she is, pulled out one of her disposable 2-serving foil pans and made a small casserole to freeze and have on hand for a busy night (or an awesome stepdaughter who lives by herself!) in the coming months. We’ve done this before and halved the recipe – one to cook now, and one to cook later. She has also made several small portions to freeze to use later when it’s just one person for dinner.

Look how Cindy even leaves a note on the top about how to cook it… and don’t forget to end with a smiley face!

When you pull it out of the oven, it should be golden and beautiful, just like this.

The hardest part of serving it up is not eating it directly off the serving spoon!

Gooey Mexican goodness.

Food for thought:
• This is DELICIOUS with brown rice instead of the white. In fact, Peter prefers this dish with brown rice (plus, it’s, like, wayyyyy healthier!)
• We use more chilies than the recipe calls for. We love the flavor it adds without adding heat – it also adds a little crunch.
• When covering the dish for cooking, use non-stick foil so the cheese won’t stick to it. Because you don’t want to mess up the cheese – that’s the best part, right?
• Make sure the rice is cooled completely before adding it to the cheese mixture. Otherwise things just get weird.
• This is super easy to halve for fewer people, or cook a portion now and freeze one for later.

Here’s the recipe:
South of the Border ChickenCincinnati Junior League
Ingredients:
4 cups cooked white rice
2 cups sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies (we use 12 oz)
4 cups (16 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¼ tsp garlic salt
8 chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
2 cups (8oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Combine sour cream, mayo, chilies, Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro and garlic salt. After rice has cooled, add the rice and blend thoroughly.

Add chicken and mix thoroughly. Spread in greased 4-quart casserole.

Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake for additional 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot. This recipe serves 8.

Nom. nom. nom.