2 (6 1/4 ounce) packages fast-cooking long grain and wild rice blend
1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup margarine
2 medium onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
5 cups chopped cooked chicken
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2 (8 ounce) containers sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup soft breadcrumbs (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare rice according to package directions; set aside.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion, celery and water chestnuts. Saute 10 minutes or until tender.
Stir in rice, chicken, 3 cups cheese, and next 5 ingredients; spoon mixture into a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch baking dish or a 4-quart casserole. ( I prefer to use 2 smaller size casseroles-one to give and one for my family).
Top with breadcrumbs if desired. Bake casserole at 350°F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese, and bake 5 more minutes.