Killing Them Softly: Chicken and Rice (and Sodium) Casserole

cookbooks

EDITOR’S NOTE: My recent discovery of our families’ collection of 1970s era church cookbooks has been nothing short of a conversation piece around Al Dente HQ. The kind-hearted and well-intentioned women behind these recipes set cooking back years, all the while trying to kill their families with butter, shortening and lard. Not wanting to hog the glory and splendor for myself, it is my pleasure to share these classic culinary gems with you. These are the original recipes with very little editing. If you have one of these around your house or find one at your parent’s home, please contact me. I would love to get my hands on it.

RECIPE: Chicken and Rice Casserole
AUTHOR: Adeline DelFavero
COOKBOOK: Cecilian Style, St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church
APPROXIMATE YEAR: 1975

WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS? On the face of it, this isn’t a bad recipe: chicken, rice, soup, bake beyond the point of recognition. But read closer. Three cream soups plus half a package of dry onion soup. It’s possible that Mrs. DelFavero’s children grew up to become cardiologists just so they could treat members of their family.

In 2013, these soups each had at least 850 mg of sodium per serving, or more than 2,000 mg per can. An envelope of onion soup mix had nearly 5,000 mg. This is after these companies made an effort to dial back the sodium in their foods. In today’s terms alone, you are looking at 11,000 mg of sodium in this dish.

And we haven’t even added the chicken.

The current recommended sodium intake for an adult is 1,500 mg. So, if this dish made four servings, you’re looking at more than 2,600 grams of sodium at dinner without eating any other food during the day.

I’m not one to talk about salt intake or good nutrition, but holy hell. You can do better for salt intake at McDonalds.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 1 can each cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and cream of celery soups
  • 2 cans water
  • 1 envelope Lipton onion soup (dry)
  • 8-10 chicken pieces

Mix the first four ingredients together and spread on the bottom of a casserole dish.

Place chicken pieces on top of the mixture and sprinkle remaining onion soup on top.

Cover and bake in a 325-degree oven for two hours.

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