Monday, July 28, 2014

Easy, Creamy, Healthy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Hi All!

So I have neglected this little gem for a while now, but man have things been busy!! To give you just a few high points: I turned down a few positions and left the airline business, we moved back to always lovely (and usually crowded) Austin, we bought a house, celebrated my dad’s 71st birthday, and the wedding is just over 3 months away!! To say we haven’t had much free time would be the understatement of the century, but I have loved every second of it.

But now that we have moved out of the little apartment we shared with a friend and into our first home and began to unpack, I get to play in the kitchen again! If you can’t tell, I’m just a little excited. Now I just need to get to practicing on my picture taking skills :)

One of the first dishes we tasted in our new kitchen was my delicious take on a chicken and rice casserole. This dish is warm, creamy and actually pretty healthy as far as a casserole is concerned. This was so good that we ate the entire dish within 24 hours…and Paul doesn't normally do leftovers.

One-Pot Easy, Creamy, Mostly Healthy Chicken and Rice

·         ¼ cup olive oil
·         3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
·         ½ onion, diced
·         3 carrots, either grated or cut into thin matchsticks
·         2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
·         2 tsp salt, divided
·         2 tsp pepper
·         3 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust for spice preference)
·         2 bay leaves
·         5 cups low sodium chicken broth
·         2 cups jasmine rice (or other medium grain)*
·         1 head garlic
·         ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.       In a dutch oven (or other large pot), heat the ¼ cup olive oil and 2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Once butter melts, add onion, carrots, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Saute until soft (8-10 minutes).
2.       Meanwhile, trim thighs of any fat and cut into 1” chunks.
3.       Once onion/carrots are soft, add the chicken to the pot along with both bay leaves and remaining salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until chicken is no longer pink (about 4-6 minutes).
4.       Meanwhile, heat the chicken broth in the microwave. Add to pot once chicken is no longer pink.
5.       Stir in the rice and red pepper flakes.
6.       Take the entire head of garlic and chop off the small end. This should leave the bottom of each clove exposed. Remove extra skin and place the whole head, cut side down, into the center of the pot. This gives garlic flavor, without it being overpowering. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes until rice is cooked.
7.       Turn off heat; remove the garlic and bay leaves (if desired, you could also leave full cloves of garlic in the dish). Stir in remaining Tbsp of butter and Parmesan cheese.  
8.       Serve and enjoy!!

*You can also use brown rice and increase time in step 6 to 30 minutes.

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