Martha Len Nelson: Chicken casserole a tasty dish

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The Denton Community Theatre is furnishing laughs galore for us this summer. Last Friday was opening night for Sly Fox, beautifully directed by veteran Bill Kirkley. He assembled a large cast of audience favorites who seemed to be having a jolly time working together.

Written by Larry Gelbart of MASH fame, the show is filled with double entendres, so leave the children at home. Tickets are still available for this weekend. It’s easy to go to to buy tickets and select seats.

Go to the same website to get your tickets for the annual summer Encoreproduction of Greater Tuna, the first of the well-known Tuna series. You may say, “Oh, I’ve seen that,” but you haven’t seen it with theater favorites Buster Maloney and Justin Harmon, and directed by Donna Trammell. Bring your handkerchiefs, not for tears of sorrow, but tears of laughter. The show opens June 21 and runs for two weekends.

Another favorite personality, Rosemary Rumbley, a University of North Texas graduate, will speak at the June Woman’s Club Book Review, at 11 a.m. June 27. She always comes this month because she is in demand all over the state and this is the only time she can book us.

Her topic will be U.S. vice presidents who didn’t ascend to the presidency. Rosemary always gives us much off-the-cuff humor and something to remember. This event always sells out, but there may be a few seats remaining. Call 940-391-8332 or e-mail

This delicious casserole from Sara Turner will be served at the book review, followed by an ice cream dessert.

Sara’s Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

1 (2.25-ounce) package sliced almonds

2 (6.2-ounce) boxes fast-cooking long-grain wild rice

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter

4 ribs celery, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

5 cups chopped cooked chicken

2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup

2 (8-ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided use

2 cups soft breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds in a single layer in a pan for about 4 to 6 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside. Prepare rice mix according to package directions. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add celery and onions. Saute 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in chicken, cream of mushroom soup, water chestnuts, sour cream, milk, salt and pepper, rice and 3 cups cheese.

Spoon mixture into one lightly greased 15-by-10-inch or two 11-by-7-inch baking dishes. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese; top with toasted almonds and bake 5 more minutes. Serves 10-12.

To make ahead: Prepare as directed except for toasted almonds and one cup cheese. Cover with aluminum foil; freeze up to one month. When ready to use, remove from freezer and let stand one hour. Meanwhile, toast almonds as directed. Bake casserole, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until thoroughly heated through. Sprinkle with the one cup cheese and toasted almonds. Bake 5 more minutes.

MARTHA LEN NELSON can be contacted at 940-382-9597 or e-mail .


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