Sunday, March 17, 2013

Enhancing Chicken and Rice Mix

It's a new experience for me to not only be the one who buys the groceries, but the one who plans the meal and then cooks it. Menu planning definitely reduces the weekly grocery bill as well as giving you an answer to the question, "what's for dinner?"

Last night's dinner was Chicken and Rice. It comes in a prepacked mix with seasoning, rice and beans. Directions are simple. Boil 5 cups water and add the mix. While it makes a complete meal, I always like to enhance any mix, usually with carrots, celery, corn and chicken chunks.

Drain the corn and the chicken chunks. Instead of using all water, I will use half chicken broth to up the chicken flavor. I also cut carrots in slim slices and chop celery small and add them to the water/broth combination. This way they are partially cooked by the time you add the rice mix.

Add the corn with the rice mix and stir to combine. Turn heat to low and cover. Once the rice is cooked, add the chicken chunks and mix in.
When serving, top with some shredded cheese.

Chicken & Rice
2 packages Chicken & Rice
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 stalk celery, chopped small
one 15-oz. can whole corn kernels, drained
5 cups water
5 cups chicken broth (if you don't have enough, use more water)
Chicken (I used apx. 14 oz.), drained
2 cups grated cheese of your choice, for serving
Slice carrots and celery. In a large stock pot, put 5 cups water and 5 cups broth and bring to a boil. Add carrots and celery. Once water is boiling add rice mix and corn, stirring to combine. Allow to boil for several minutes, then turn to low and cover, cooking approximately 20 to 25 minutes until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Once rice is done, add chicken and stir to combine with rice. Allow to heat on low until chicken meat is heated through.
Serve with grated cheese on the side for topping.

I make two packages of mix so I have leftovers for my lunches. You could also spread this in a 9x13 lightly greased baking pan and topped with cheese and baked in an oven at 350 degrees F until hot all the way through. Then top with cheese and bake 5 to 10 minutes more until cheese is melted and slightly browned. You could also do this with the leftovers making a second meal.

You can also use fresh chicken breasts instead of canned meat. Allow one chicken breast per person. Add them to the water/broth liquid and cook until no longer pink, remove and chop into chunks.

There are so many ways you could change this up and make the dish different.


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