This is a recipe that will make Kayte fall prostrate to the floor, so Kayte, quit reading right here. I mean it. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOUR NAME IS KAYTE.
You have been warned.
This is a recipe from a little bitty cookbook that my mom and I bought years ago at the old Lazarus luncheon restaurant at Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis. They specialized in quiches and "peasant lunches" and carrot-walnut bread and things like that back in the 1980s and everything was fattening and delicious. I'm actually kind of surprised that they admitted to such pedestrian ingredients, because that restaurant was kind of a precious little place. It is long gone, but this recipe lives on to delight a new generation with its creamy, chickeny goodness.
2 good-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 15-ounce jar Cheez Whiz
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 T lemon juice
2 soup cans hot water
1/2 soup can milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 can water chestnuts, coarsely chopped
2 bags frozen chopped broccoli
2 cups instant rice
buttered bread crumbs, optional (about four slices whirled in the food processor and stirred with 2 T melted butter)
1 small package slivered, blanched almonds, optional
Spray slow-cooker with nonstick spray. Combine mushroom soup, cheese, mayonnaise and lemon juice with water, milk and salt in crock-pot and whisk to blend. Add chunks of uncooked chicken, broccoli, rice, onion, celery and water chestnuts. Give everything a good stir; turn slow-cooker on high and cook for four hours.
Before serving, top with buttered bread crumbs or almonds or both, if you'd like. Give the casserole a few grinds of black pepper and sprinkle with paprika.
Serves a LOT, probably around eight people. There's enough for us four with plenty left over for lunch the next day, when it tastes even better.