Pantry recipes: leftover chicken and rice casserole

The pantry recipe series is designed to help you use up your pantry preps with as much versatility and as little waste as possible. Ample substitution recommendations and other helpful tips are provided. New recipes are added weekly. 

I’m on a comfort food spree, apparently. I’m also on a mission to use up my cans of evaporated milk. For a time fresh dairy was hard to come by, and the only thing on the shelf was evaporated milk. I have more cans of evaporated and condensed milk than I’ve ever had, so finding creative ways to use them is a priority right now.

This recipe calls for a good bit of butter. One thing to know is that butter freezes very well. I’ve got about 10 pounds of butter in the freezer. If you plan to freeze butter for more than 3 months, use a layer of plastic over the wax paper and cardboard, like plastic wrap or a storage bag. If your butter is only wrapped in foil, you’ll want a layer of plastic over it as well. Butter stays well in the freezer for up to 6 months.

I find this casserole perfectly delicious served by itself, but there are plenty of tasty herbs, spices, and toppings that can be added. See the additions mentioned below.


  • 2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed (I had 3.5 cups—it still fit)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I used a mix of wild and white rice)
  • 2 cups cooked mixed vegetables (I used broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and edamame)
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup or Cream of Anything Soup
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used neither as the cooked foods had already been seasoned)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Melt butter in a bowl in your microwave for 20-30 seconds
  3. Pour melted butter on the bottom of a 13” x 9” x 2” baking dish
  4. Combine all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  5. Pour ingredients into the dish and smooth it all down flat and into the corners
  6. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until bubbly with golden brown edges


  • Total time: 1 hour
  • Preparation: 15 minutes
  • Bake time: 45 minutes
  • Servings: 6
  • Estimated calories per serving: 300

Tips and Tricks

Thyme, paprika, garlic, and dried onion all go well in this dish. A scant amount of tarragon can also be a special treat.

Toppings can include french-fried onions, crushed corn flakes, or bread crumbs and grated Parmesan. Toppings can be added right before baking.

A few ounces of shredded cheese can also be mixed into the ingredients before baking.

Mixing in a ¼ cup of white wine or cooking sherry would give it a tetrazzini flare, especially with a breadcrumb topping. An amazing combo is sherry, cooked mushrooms, and Gruyere cheese.


Turkey works well in place of chicken.

2 cups of cooked, plain pasta or 2 cups of browned potatoes (shredded or diced) can be used in place of rice.

Feel free to throw in any non-root vegetables.

Any condensed cream of anything soup will do. A few cups of homemade cream-of-anything soup will do in place of the canned ingredients.

Milk, cream, or half-and-half can be used in place of evaporated milk.

  • 1 Comment

    • Vaylon

      “The important thing is the spices. A man can live on packaged food from here till Judgment Day if he’s got enough rosemary.”

      9 |