Chicken and Rice - Easy and Economical
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
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
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 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.
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 to rest for a couple of minutes after cooking and before slicing. This keeps the juices in the meat.
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.
- Pour the water into a saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Pour the rice into the pan and stir gently.
- Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes.
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.
- Carefully add two frozen chicken breasts to the boiling water using tongs.
- Pour the dry rice over the chicken and and stir gently.
- Cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
- Return the liquid to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer.
- Set a timer for twenty minutes.
Tip: Use a larger saucepan to prevent any boil overs during the cooking process.
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.
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.
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
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
Instructions for Baked Casserole
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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