The Return of the Gluten-Free Casserole

I received a can of the new gluten-free Progresso Cream of Mushroom soup in my swag bag from a recent celiac event and I had the notion to make the famous chicken, rice and cream of mushroom soup casserole. I think it has been at least fifteen years since I had a casserole.

I pulled the standard recipe from the internet, but decided to put a new spin on it. The recipe calls for chicken, rice, soup, water and a packet of onion soup mix. I did not have a packet of onion soup mix, but didn’t want the extra sodium anyway. I told a friend that I was going to “tart it up a bit” with a sauté of onion and garlic, lots of pepper and some herbs de Provence…plus, I had organic chicken breasts. How’s that for taking a can of soup dinner and kicking it up a notch?

This is one of those throwback, 1950’s style meals that can only be described as comfort food. Is it fancy? Nope. Is it pretty? Well…it sort of, not to be gross, looks like someone barfed in a bowl. Is it gourmet? Not even close. But every now and then, something creamy and savory and ridiculously easy to make is just what I need. The green bean casserole on millions of Thanksgiving tables across this country and other can of soup casseroles have been off limits to celiacs because of the wheat in the can of mushroom soup.

While I am a huge believer in simple, local, vegetable and fruit based meals, there are nights when everyone has to be somewhere at 6pm….a baseball game, a meeting, a swim meet, a teen’s night out and it’s just nice to have a one pot dinner that people can eat whenever they have a minute. I even made it ahead of time—and it smells really good—so that it can quickly be re-heated at some point this evening by each of my family members.

The fact that companies like General Mills are taking “gluten-free” seriously enough to make pantry staples is pretty exciting. I think this is going to become a pantry item for me.