Q. My partner just got a new job working shifts, making our schedule for the week a bit crazy. We don’t like to order in food very often and prefer to make our own meals at home. I’m worried that our healthy eating might fall by the wayside as our schedules get busier. We talked about perhaps making a few casseroles ahead of time for those nights when we’re both too busy to cook. We both enjoy chicken and rice casserole and it’s simple to put together. If this recipe works, we will be trying more in the future. Can you freeze chicken and rice casserole?
A. Yes, you can certainly freeze chicken and rice casserole. It’s a great choice for freezing because the ingredients will hold up well. The only thing you need to be concerned with is that the casserole doesn’t dry out, but that’s a pretty simple fix. Rice is very absorbing, and will continue to absorb the liquid in your casserole during the freezing process.
How do you freeze chicken and rice casserole?
To freeze a chicken and rice casserole, make sure that your casserole has cooled completely before freezing or you will end up with a mushy mess. If you are freezing a whole casserole, baking it in both an oven and freezer safe container can make freezing a breeze. Place the freezer safe lid on the container or cover the casserole in a double layer of aluminum foil and secure tightly. Ensure that no part of the casserole is exposed to the air in the freezer. Place the casserole in the coldest part of the freezer. Some people recommend undercooking the casserole a little bit so that the rice stays fluffy after thawing, but that’s a personal choice.
To use the frozen chicken and rice casserole, remove from the freezer the night before you plan to eat it. Place it in the refrigerator, still wrapped, to thaw. Do not thaw on the counter, particularly since there are meat and usually milk ingredients in the casserole. When thawed, reheat the casserole in a preheated oven. If the casserole looks dry, you can add liquid to it in increments of a few tablespoons at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. The longer the casserole has been frozen, the more likely it is to be dried out.
Refrigerate leftovers promptly, and consume within 3 days for best results. Never refreeze previously frozen chicken and rice casserole.