Comfort Food: Creamy Italian Chicken and Rice

It's always so nice on occasion to eat an old family favorite recipe, but without the guilt. I've taken one of our very favorite recipes (I used to make this weekly!) and adapted it to contain whole foods. You'll see in the picture that we ate it on white rice...that was because we were in the middle of an NAET treatment for my son and couldn't do brown rice...however, that splurge was certainly delicious! This recipe is written for chicken that is precooked. I simply cook whole chickens, then de-bone them and place the meat in meal-size portions in the freezer. Then, when I need to use it, it is quick and easy to put in a recipe. If you don't have chicken that is already cooked, simply make this meal in the crockpot - put in all ingredients and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

Creamy Italian Chicken and Rice

Just for fun, let's see the original recipe:
4-6 boneless chicken breasts                                                               1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup butter                                                                                      4 oz. cream cheese
1 pkg. Good Seasoning Italian Dressing mix

Now, here is my adaptation which tastes exactly like the original, but is made with real food!

6 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3-4 tablespoons rice flour
yogurt or cream cheese*
1 tablespoon basil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
Precooked, shredded chicken (I use 1/2-3/4 of a sandwich bag full)

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, salt, and milk and stir until melted. Whisk in rice flour until thickened. Stir in yogurt cheese* and spices. Add shredded chicken and any other desired add-ins*. Serve over rice.

*To make yogurt cheese: Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Pour in about a cup of plain yogurt and let the whey drip out for 3-4 hours at room temperature. The yogurt will thicken to a cream cheese-like consistency. Use in any recipe calling for cream cheese. Save the whey to use for soaking grains, fermenting foods, etc.
*Add ins: You can add a lot of things to this recipe without affecting the taste. In this picture, I added a whole shredded zucchini, some chia seeds, and some poppy seeds.