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Chicken and Rice - Easy and Economical

Updated on November 17, 2017
PegCole17 profile image

Peg Cole is a self-taught cook who shares favorite recipes and methods used during decades of cooking and baking.

Boneless Chicken from freezer to serving plate in just minutes
Boneless Chicken from freezer to serving plate in just minutes

Easy Chicken Recipes

My Grandmother was an incredible cook who could fill the dinner table with good things to eat on a budget. She took ordinary ingredients and turned them into a nutritious, low-cost meal. My favorite dish was always her hearty chicken and rice. This dish can be made in about twenty minutes in one pan. It satisfies like only comfort food can.

Chicken and rice is easy to prepare and inexpensive. It can be turned into a number of different meals by adding different ingredients. I like to stir in chopped broccoli, a can of mushroom soup and a dash of milk and spices, then, pour it into a casserole dish to bake. Top the mixture with shredded cheese, some crumbled up Ritz crackers with bits of butter on top and it becomes a hearty dinner, warm and fragrant out of the oven. At social gatherings and church dinners, this dish has always been a favorite.

Ready for Seasoning

Drain the chicken on a paper towel and season with paprika, onion salt, garlic powder, herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the chicken on a paper towel and season with paprika, onion salt, garlic powder, herbs, salt and pepper to taste. | Source

Cooking Directions - Pan Fried Chicken

For economy, I purchase the store brand frozen, skinless boneless chicken breasts. Each chicken breast is individually frozen making it easy to cook just the right amount needed.

Season One Side

Sprinkle paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder on one side. Place this side down in the pan, then, season the other side.
Sprinkle paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder on one side. Place this side down in the pan, then, season the other side. | Source

I like to rinse off the ice coating from the frozen chicken, although, experts question the practice of rinsing meat before it is cooked. Place each breast on a paper towel to drain. Season with your favorite spices like seasoned salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder. To add some heat, sprinkle a few crushed peppers on top.

Non-stick Skillet or Cast Iron Pan

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and add the seasoned chicken.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and add the seasoned chicken.
Saute slowly over medium heat and turn frequently to allow time for the meat to completely thaw as it cooks.
Saute slowly over medium heat and turn frequently to allow time for the meat to completely thaw as it cooks.

Heat about one to two tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet or use a cast iron frying pan for crispier results. Place the chicken in the heated pan, seasoned side down. Season the other side of the chicken once it's in the pan.

Now is a good time to put the rice on to cook.

Continue turning the chicken until the outside turns a nice golden brown color and the juices run clear when it's cut.
Continue turning the chicken until the outside turns a nice golden brown color and the juices run clear when it's cut.

Cook slowly over medium heat, not high, to allow the chicken to thaw as it browns. After five minutes, turn each piece over and continue turning every five minutes until thoroughly cooked.

Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for a few minutes to allow the juices to settle before cutting.
Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for a few minutes to allow the juices to settle before cutting.

Let the chicken to rest for a couple of minutes after cooking and before slicing. This keeps the juices in the meat.

Slice and transfer to a dinner plate.
Slice and transfer to a dinner plate.

Directions for the Rice

You'll need 2 cups of water for each cup of dry rice. For 2 cups of dry rice, add 4 cups of water to a medium sized saucepan.

  1. Pour the water into a saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Pour the rice into the pan and stir gently.
  4. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low.
  5. Set a timer for 20 minutes.

Adding the rice to the boiling water.
Adding the rice to the boiling water.

Chicken and Rice - The One Pan Method

The chicken remains moist when cooked in the liquid of the rice. The finished dish can be used in casseroles or for stir fried rice.

  1. Carefully add two frozen chicken breasts to the boiling water using tongs.
  2. Pour the dry rice over the chicken and and stir gently.
  3. Cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
  4. Return the liquid to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer.
  5. Set a timer for twenty minutes.

Tip: Use a larger saucepan to prevent any boil overs during the cooking process.

Cooked Rice in a two quart saucepan
Cooked Rice in a two quart saucepan

How to Know When The Rice is Done

When the timer goes off, lift the lid and listen. If the rice is fully cooked you'll hear a quiet crackling noise that indicates the water is gone.

Remove the pan from the burner and let it sit for a few minutes to cool off.

Using your tongs, take the chicken from the top of the rice and place it on a cutting surface. Let the chicken rest, then, slice it into small pieces.

Chopped Chicken

Chopped chicken is ready to use in a salad, a casserole, stir fry or with gravy.
Chopped chicken is ready to use in a salad, a casserole, stir fry or with gravy. | Source

Storing Cooked Chicken and Rice

Spoon a layer of the cooled rice into an airtight plastic container. Place about half of the chopped chicken over the rice. Add another layer of rice, then the remaining chicken. Cover the chicken and rice and refrigerate immediately.

A mixture of chicken bouillon gives this a bit more flavor. Use one teaspoon (1 tsp.) of granules with one cup of warm water heated in the microwave. Add a small amount of prepared liquid over each serving.

Chicken and rice is perfect for those on a bland diet. Just reduce or eliminate the spices.

Storing the cooked mixture for use later
Storing the cooked mixture for use later | Source

How To Make Stir Fried Rice

Turn the refrigerated mixture of cold chicken and rice into a hot non-stick frying pan coated with a couple of tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil.

  • Add bean sprouts or a handful of frozen peas and carrots, celery or other fresh or leftover vegetables
  • When the mixture starts to brown, make a hole in the center and pour a scrambled egg into the space.
  • Stir until all ingredients are slightly browned and the egg is cooked, then sprinkle generously with soy sauce and serve.

How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole

Cooked pasta can be substituted for the rice. Substitute peas for the broccoli and add a can of mushrooms if desired.
Cooked pasta can be substituted for the rice. Substitute peas for the broccoli and add a can of mushrooms if desired. | Source

Ingredients for Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole

  • 1 package/ 1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, Substitute fresh or steamed
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup milk or chicken broth, regular or low fat milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper, Adjust to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, chopped to small pieces
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 Sleeve Ritz Crackers, crumbled

Steamed Broccoli

You can use fresh, steamed, or frozen broccoli for this casserole.
You can use fresh, steamed, or frozen broccoli for this casserole. | Source

Instructions for Baked Casserole

  1. Thaw the broccoli overnight in the refrigerator or microwave on low to thaw. Chop into small pieces or use freshly steamed broccoli cut into small pieces.
  2. Combine the soup, milk, chicken and spices in a medium sized bowl. Toss the mixture with about half of cheese and the rice before pouring into an oven proof casserole dish.
  3. Cover the top with the remaining cheese and crumble about 12 Ritz crackers over the top and dot with butter or margarine. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes until hot.
  4. When the top crust is nicely browned and the casserole is bubbling, take it from the oven and allow to cool five minutes before serving.
Shredded block cheese or prepared shredded cheese for the top.
Shredded block cheese or prepared shredded cheese for the top. | Source

The prepared chicken and rice will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days. It can be used as a base for a variety of dishes including a variety of casseroles and stir fry meals.

Include a fresh salad, fruit and hot rolls to turn this into a hearty meal ready to eat in under 45 minutes.

When your family asks "What's for dinner?" make it chicken and rice. It's fast, economical, versatile and delicious.

© 2010 Peg Cole

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    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 25 hours ago from Germany

      Yummy! I am fond of chicken and rice but I have not tried cooking this like in your recipe. Thanks for sharing. I would love to try this.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 16 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Sheila, I just found your comment this morning when I filtered the results. Sorry for the long delay. Hope you are doing well and thanks for the visit.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 18 months ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I am currently trying to lose a little weight and am getting tired of baked chicken. Your recipe sounds delicious! I like adding broccoli to it for some added color, flavor and nutrition. I am going to try this tomorrow! I'm glad I found you recipe, thank you for the post! :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Hi Peg. I hope to give it a try next week or sometime this month. You're welcome.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Kristen, Thank you for visiting and for the awesome comment. Chicken and rice is our go-to meal at least once a week. I hope you give it a try.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This look delicious Peg. I think I want to try it this spring and refer back to your hub. Voted up for awesome!

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Peachy, Hope you enjoy this tasty meal.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      yum yum, bookmark this page for weekend dinner

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Moonlake, Thanks for the visit and for sharing and pinning. I forgot to post this to my food ideas board, so, thanks for the reminder.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      This looks good I love chicken and rice dinners. Thanks for sharing. Pinning it to my food board.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      A new variation of this basic staple is always welcomed. Great that your grandchildren like your new sauted onions and brown gravy version. Thanks again for your multiple visits. Cheers.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

      Hey PegCole17, I'd actually left a comment about the chicken and rice before....this makes three, but I was in a hurry this morning trying to visit some hubbers and get out the door. But I forgot what I wanted to tell you which is this..... My grandson loves sauted onions in a little butter or margarine, so I made him some...I'd also made some brown gravy because I had chicken and rice.. he mixed it all together and raved,,,, new dish that the grandchildren also like.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Dee aka Nonna,

      Long time no see! So glad to get your wonderful comment on this simple to fix chicken and rice starter mix. We grew up in an environment of, shall I say, economically challenged income, where rice was a staple in our daily lives since it is so affordable. My Mom also had a thousand ways to make it taste good. You are so funny, your mother could make grass taste great! LOL. Thanks so much for dropping back by and all the best to you.

      Peg

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

      Even when I am super busy with my other job (consulting) I always go through my email notices of what's new on hubpages. I will make a mental note to go back when I have a chance to read. I love chicken and rice with a little country brown gravy so I really wanted to come back to this one. You brought back many memories of growing up with a mother who could make grass taste great...lol. And you are right, you can combine it with so many things to change the dish...another favorite for me is chicken, rice, broccoli and cheese.....yum.

      Voted up, useful and.....awe...awe...awesome.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Willow81! It is a great go to meal that can be prepared using things right out of your cabinets, practically anytime at all. Hope you enjoy it.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Oh, I love potluck dinners. What a great way to try new things and exchange recipes. I like to write out a small 3 x 5 card to list the ingredients in my dish to inform people who may have allergies and for people like my hubby who doesn't like onions.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      We seem to have rice at my house a lot, too. Thanks for your nice comment.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you Sgbrown. I'm starting to freeze my leftovers immediately into individual portions. That way we can eat what we're in the mood for at the moment and it's like TV dinners, quick and easy with little cleanup. Thank you so much for your nice comments and for sharing this. I hope you do too, friend!

    • Willow81 profile image

      Willow81 5 years ago from United States

      This seems like an easy recipe. I will be making it soon since I have chicken and rice in my cabinets. Thanks for sharing.

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Wonderful idea! I will be using your recipe this weekend. going to a potluck dinner, and I think the casserole will be a good one to take. Thanks for sharing :)

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 5 years ago from Cebu

      You can never go wrong with chicken hahahah. Here in my country rice is part of every meal :) Love your recipe

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is a great idea! We are so busy these days, dinner is usually a rush job. This would be great to keep in the freezer for just those days. I love chicken and rice any way you can cook it! Voted up, useful and this needs to be shared! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hey todd, Thank you for stopping by.

    • toddwertz profile image

      toddwertz 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. Great article.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Dee, Hello. Nice to see you today. And I love rice as well. We eat it steamed, fried, as a base for chili or stew, rice pudding. Oh well, now I'm hungry. Thanks for stopping in. Gotta go get lunch.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 6 years ago

      I love chicken and rice too. Being born and raised in Louisiana rice was on the table breakfast, lunch, dinner. Chicken (baked or fried) with rice and gravy is another favorite. Thanks for the memories. This was great.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Fluffy77 - Thank you for stopping in to read this recipe and for taking time to comment.

      gr82bme - (Like that name btw) I love chicken and rice with soy sauce, the LaChoy brand, not the Kikkoman. Thank you so much for stopping by.

    • gr82bme profile image

      gr82bme 6 years ago from USA

      Great recipe. I think I would just sprinkle a little Soy Sauce on top.

    • Fluffy77 profile image

      Fluffy77 6 years ago from Enterprise, OR

      Great recipe thanks, it looks like something I would really enjoy. I will give it a try.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi KoffeeKlatch Gal, Thank you for the nice comments. Yes, this can serve as a basis for many different dishes with a few added ingredients. I like it plain as well.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      PegCole17, it sounds like and easy good recipe. I love chicken and rice. For those who may find it bland it's easy enough to add spices to match their taste. To me it sounds good just the way it is.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Cybersupe, How very sweet of you to wish my puppy well. He has regained his appetite and continues to thrive. And I keep cooking more chicken and rice. He's so spoiled now. Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment. I'm glad you can use the recipe.

      All the best to you!

    • CYBERSUPE profile image

      CYBERSUPE 7 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

      Great Idea here PegCole, I love anything with chicken and rice and you just added another dish for me, thanks so much. I do hope you dog has recovered and doing well. Wishing you the very best PegCole.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi GmaGoldie, Go ahead and splurge with the creamy soup. It's not all that bad unless you add some bacon and French fries on the side. Thanks for stopping in to comment. Nice to meet you here on the HubPages.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      This and a can of soup is my favorite dinner! Great for the dogs stomach and mine too! Perhaps the creamy soup isn't....hmmmm...Thank you!

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Angela, Thank you. It doesn't get much easier than this. Even the kitchen phobic can make this dish. The chicken comes out nice and tender too. Or use the chicken to make chicken salad; save the rice for later.

    • Angela_1973 profile image

      Angela_1973 7 years ago

      Always on the look out for quick and easy recipes, need to bookmark this one. Great hub with pictures

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks psychicdog.net. Stop by when you can. Cheers.

    • psychicdog.net profile image

      psychicdog.net 7 years ago

      nice one thanks for sharing Peg

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks Sally. This recipe is so easy and really economical. My husband loves to make stir fried rice with the leftovers. A little oil in a frying pan, some soy sauce, a spoonful of veggies, an egg and a bit of leftover meat and you have a great home cooked Chinese food meal.

      I hope you'll post your Chicken Divine recipe. Sounds good already.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      This is such a smart and easy recipe, Peg, and as you say, a great base for casseroles. You are reminding me that I haven't had an old fashioned comfort food variation called Chicken Divine. It adds the cream of mushroom soup, plus celery seed, dried onion, and black pepper. Thanks for the reminder!