- 1 (2.25-oz.) package sliced almonds
- 2 (6.2-oz.) boxes fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice mix
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 pound andouille sausage, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 1 (15-oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained
- 2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup
- 2 (8-oz.) cans chopped water chestnuts, drained
- 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 4 cups (16 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 4 to 6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
Prepare rice mixes according to package directions.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add sausage, bell pepper, celery, and onions. Sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, next 6 ingredients, rice, and 3 cups cheese. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch baking dish or 2 (11- x 7-inch) baking dishes. Top with breadcrumbs.
Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese, and top with toasted almonds. Bake 5 minutes.
To Make Ahead: Prepare as directed in Steps 2 and Cover with aluminum foil, and freeze up to 1 month. Remove from freezer, and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Toast almonds as directed in Step Bake casserole, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 55 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese and toasted almonds. Bake 5 more minutes.