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 Chicken, Mushroom & Wild Rice Casserole
  In Minnesota, chicken, mushrooms and wild rice are often bound together in a casserole with cream of mushroom soup. Here we make a light, creamy sauce that gets depth of flavor from dry sherry and Parmesan cheese to replace the high sodium soup.

  Makes 8 servings
  Prep Time: 1 hour
  Total Time: 1 3/4 hours
  Ease of Preparation: Easy

  2 cups water
  1/2 cup wild rice
  2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (see Tip)
  Cooking spray
  2 leeks, chopped and rinsed
  1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
  1 cup dry sherry (see Tip)
  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  2 cups low-fat milk
  1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  2 cups frozen French-cut green beans
  1/4 cup sliced almonds

  1. Combine water and rice in a small heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain.

  2. Meanwhile, place chicken in a large skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let cool.

  3. Heat a Dutch oven or large high-sided skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until their liquid has been released and has evaporated, 12 to 14 minutes. Add sherry, increase heat to high and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir to coat. Add milk; bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Stir in Parmesan, sour cream, parsley, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

  5. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Spread the rice in an even layer in the prepared baking dish. Top with the chicken, then green beans. Pour the sauce over the top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with almonds.

  6. Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the almonds are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 Tips & Tricks
  Tip:  If you already have cooked chicken, use 4 cups and skip Step 2.

  Tip: To make ahead prepare through Step 5; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month (defrost in the refrigerator for 2 days before baking). Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, then bake at 350°F for about 1 hour.

  Tip: Sherry is a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain. “Cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets can be high in sodium. Instead, get dry sherry that’s sold with other fortified wines at your wine or liquor store.

 Nutritional Notes: per serving: calories 330; fat 9.5g (sat 3.7g, mono 2.9g, poly 1.4g); iron 2.8mg; cholesterol 79mg; calcium 214mg; carbohydrate 26.4g; sodium 112mg; protein 35g; fiber 4.2g

 Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A: 25% daily value; Vitamin C: 15% dv; Calcium: 20% dv; Iron: 15% dv