This Southwestern Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole is so incredibly easy and so delicious! Made with cheese, instant rice, black beans, corn and just a few other ingredients, your family will LOVE this fast easy chicken rice casserole recipe!
This post is sponsored by the Iowa Corn Board. I’m so proud to be working with them to bring you this amazing Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole and tell you all about Iowa corn farming.
Earlier this month I had the great privilege of returning to Iowa for my second year in a row for their #IACornQuest, a great trip they put on each year to allow bloggers to see what corn production in the great state of Iowa is like. I can honestly say, this is just about the best trip a brand has taken me on, and when I tell other bloggers that, they look at me glassy eyed, but it’s true! The combination of the amazing people who make up the Iowa Corn Board and the wonderful Iowa corn farmers that we spend time with, made it an amazing two days.
If you are new to following me, make sure you check out this Slow Cooker Bacon Potato Corn Chowder and read all about my trip from last year!
KNOWING WHERE YOUR CORN COMES FROM
If you read about my trip from last year, you can learn countless things about the corn industry. Did you know that if Iowa was it’s own country, it would be the third leading seller of corn? That’s due mainly to the fact that Iowa has the perfect growing environment for corn, from it’s rich soil to its great climate. Which is kind of amazing for Iowa and the rest of us, because corn is used in more than 4,000 different products!
Another reason for that huge amount of corn coming from Iowa is the passionate farmers that have been raising corn for more than 150 years on family farms. Did you know that 97% of the corn grown in Iowa is grown on a family farm? I think that so many of us think of agriculture as a corporate business, but most of the time, it’s a family that has been working hard for generations.
One of my favorite farming families in Iowa is the Blairs. This is Kellie Blair, and I truly mean it when I say that she should be the spokeswoman for Iowa corn. She is friendly, smart, and has such a deep passion for corn farming. (For a beautiful look at their life on the farm, follow Kellie on Instagram!)
GENERATIONS OF CORN FARMERS
The Blairs live on a farm that has been in their family for generations. In fact, the room that is now their office is the same room where Kellie’s husband’s grandfather was born. The farm has been in their family for 100 years.
The Blairs grow soy beans, corn, and they raise cattle. All the corn that they grow is for feeding cattle. In fact, about 26% of the corn grown in Iowa is grown for feed. One of the things that I love about the Blairs, is their drive to constantly do better. Last year Kellie talked a lot about attending classes at Iowa State so that they could be ahead of the curve when it comes to innovations in farming and conservation. This year Kellie pointed to the field across from where we were standing and pointed out that they had a cover crop their cows were grazing on, something that isn’t standard because it creates more work for farmers. That being said, the cover crop is better for the soil and prevents water contamination. It’s also great for their cows!
TECHNOLOGY IN FARMING
Just like last year, I was humbled by the time and energy that farmers dedicate to not only growing a great crop but taking care of the land on which it is grown so that generations to come can continue farming the same land. One of the ways the Blairs and other farmers like them are helping to sustain the land they grow on is by use of genetically modified corn seed. GMO corn seeds reduce pesticide use, lower food costs, reduce toxins and make foods safer, improve water and soil quality, and result in less fuel usage and reduced green house gasses.
The technology used in farming today with the intent of environmental conservation kind of blows my mind.
THE PERFECT CHEESY CHICKEN AND RICE CASSEROLE BUSY FAMILIES
One of the other things that I loved about talking with Kellie Blair is she is a mom. There were so many mom things we could relate to from breaking up fights with siblings to phone calls from the school. Also, she shared her peanut butter M&M’s with me, so now she’s my new best friend.
This is going to sound so cheesy, but when I was thinking about what recipe I wanted to share with you to talk about my Iowa corn trip, I really wanted it to be one that I could imagine Kellie making for her family at the end of a really long day. Guys, I think my life is crazy, and then I spend time with a great farming family. You guys, this Southwestern Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole is such a winner for any busy family! My family ate this at the end of a crazy long day with all the activities, and my kids devoured it.
A NOTE ABOUT CONDENSED CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP
There are two cans of condensed cream of chicken soup in this recipe. That makes it SUPER easy to make this dish, with only about 5 minutes of prep time.
If you have more time one evening, and you feel like make the whole recipe from scratch, try my homemade condensed cream of chicken soup and double the recipe.
HOW DO YOU MAKE CHEESY CHICKEN AND RICE CASSEROLE IN THE OVEN?
I love how simple this dish is to make! You literally throw all the ingredients together in the baking dish, stir, and throw it in the oven. That is it. Even better, it heats up so well as leftovers!
- Mix chicken, salsa, rice, cream of chicken soup, black beans, corn, and shredded cheese in a baking dish.
- Cover and bake for 60 minutes. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes.
And of course the corn in this dish is absolutely perfect. Thank you Iowa for growing our corn, something that we find in just about all the products we use.
OTHER GREAT DINNERS USING CORN:
- Shrimp Tacos
- Instant Pot Chicken Taco Soup
- Roasted Fall Salad with Maple Vinaigrette Dressing
- Taco Stuffed Peppers
If you make this Southwestern Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole or any of my other dinner recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think! I always love hearing from you!
Southwestern Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Combine all the ingredients in the baking dish, string to combine fully.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Let stand for 10 minutes and serve!