Recipes

Chicken & Rice

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Chicken & Rice: Pretty classic. Made with white meat, it’s healthful and delicious — with the added bonus of being simple to prepare. Uncooked rice, spices and water go in the bottom of a casserole dish, and you nest the chicken on top for 45 minutes to an hour and it all comes out moist and tender. (My preferred meat is Trader Joe’s organic breasts, but they do tend to sell out quickly, so what you see here is the manager’s special $2 off Purdue).

Doesn’t chicken just have an unfortunate way of looking pink when photographed? Presumably, if you know what you’re doing, this problem doesn’t arise.

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This is adapted from a good old fashioned Campbell’s Kitchen recipe. One reason I like it? It’s great for kids, and with my little one eating more and more of the table food we adults are having for dinner, it’s more important than ever for me to find recipes that all of us can enjoy.

Chicken & Rice

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can condensed mushroom soup (can be Campbell’s or an organic brand, such as Pacific or Amy’s)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice (I used Jasmine)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I cut mine smaller)
  • 1 packet onion soup mix (OR a mix of paprika and black pepper)

DIRECTIONS

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the dry rice, the seasonings, the water and the soup until well combined.

Pour into a glass baking dish and nestle the chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture. Cover and bake at 375F for 45 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through; mine took 45 mins on the nose).

Uncover and let sit and cool for 10 minutes, stirring and fluffing the rice. Serve with a side of vegetables and enjoy!

A few tips:

You can customize the seasonings to be anything you like here. I also like to pound chicken breasts flat and cut them into smaller pieces for easier portioning, but you can also leave them whole. You can also use frozen chicken but just adjust the cooking time up a little.

If you don’t like mushrooms or mushroom soup, you can substitute any other condensed “cream of” variety, like celery or chicken. Mark hates mushrooms and he really likes this!

Online, I saw a few people suggest steaming vegetables such as asparagus directly on top of the chicken during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. I’d love to try that idea. If you do, let me know how it goes.

Others suggested subbing chicken or veggie stock for the water, but I’m not sure it needs more saltiness, which would be my only concern with that idea.

Several cooks added chopped onions to the rice mix, and others amped up the seasonings to have a little more kick, which sounds like it could be very tasty. You could even throw in some green chilis.

You can substitute brown rice as well, but I’d recommend either pre-cooking it a bit or extending the baking time.

If you like the flavor of onion soup mix and just can’t live without more recipe ideas, check out my onion roasted potatoes (good for breakfast OR dinner) and my easy apricot chicken. Warning: some babies really, um, respond to apricots in the diaper department! Of course that might be helpful advice for some parents. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Have I mentioned that I love this child?
Have I mentioned that I love this child?
Recipes

Easy Apricot Chicken

Got this recipe from LaurenConrad.com, and it turned out to be a winner! I set the bar low these days. Recipes need to be quick, with very few ingredients that I can purchase at a major retailer, with a two-month-old in tow. Ideally, my husband and I would both eat it. This has been easier since I’ve been nursing and have started incorporating some meat into my diet to better balance my nutritional profile.

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I’ll write more about my decision to start eating some meat again in a future post, but for now I’ll start by saying that it emerged from a medical need while I was pregnant, and now that I’m breastfeeding it has continued to be the right choice. I am not sure where this will leave me once Georgia is weaned, but I don’t think I have to figure that out right now. I have enough to think about, from the difficulties of nursing to the stress of getting an infant to sleep at night — not to mention having to contemplate my return to work full time in December (cringe). For now, I’d just like to start getting some recipes back on the blog again! Starting with:

Easy Apricot Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken cutlets
  • 1 packet of Lipton’s onion soup
  • 1 jar of apricot preserves (about a cup)
  • 1 bottle Russian or Thousand Island dressing
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I like to pound chicken cutlets thin, so they are easier to cut and eat. Too thin might affect cook time, so if you choose to do this, just keep an eye on them!

Directions

Start by pre-heating the oven to 375.

Mix the onion soup packet, apricot preserves, and dressing in a bowl. Beat the clumps out with a fork until it’s as smooth as you can get it.

If you are pounding the chicken cutlets flat, which is optional, do so now and set aside.

Pour the sauce mixture into a 9×13 baking dish, reserving some to cover the chicken. Place the cutlets in the dish and cover with the remaining sauce.

Cook uncovered for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Since I was making fresh butternut squash, too, I roasted them for about 15 minutes before putting the chicken in, and then took both out at the same time.

Serve the chicken over rice with a side of squash or any veggies and enjoy!

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I was just making this for Mark and I, so I only bought three pieces of chicken. There was way too much leftover sauce! You should buy more than this and save leftovers. I’ll be doing that next time so as not to waste anything.

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Because I had a butternut squash hanging around, I decided to roast it and serve mashed on the side. It went great with this chicken, which I also served with jasmine rice! Trader Joe’s makes a nice variety of frozen jasmine rice that comes in frozen two-serving containers. They’re great for busy weeknights.

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Start by cutting the squash lengthwise and then scooping out the seeds with a spoon. Roast cut side up in the oven at the same temperature as the chicken for a little bit longer than the meat stays in, or until it’s soft.

I like to add a touch of butter and a tiny splash of real maple syrup to mashed butternut squash for flavor. Yummy!

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I do a lot with Lipton’s dried onion soup. Besides the obvious onion dip (if you’re unfamiliar, you just use one packet with a container of sour cream and chill in the fridge for a couple hours), I also make some SUPER delicious roasted potatoes with just a splash of olive oil and one packet of dried onion soup. They’re totally yummy for breakfast OR dinner. Check ’em out!

I hope you find this Easy Apricot Chicken recipe to be a useful weeknight dinner. And now, for a picture of baby at two months — enjoy this too 🙂

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CSA 2011 · Recipes

Easy cheater recipe for roasted potatoes

OK, we had a busy weekend — I’m about to leave town for a week on business — and I fell back on a tried-and-true recipe to use up some of my farm share potatoes: Roasting them in vegetable oil and Lipton’s Onion Soup mix.

It really is so simple and difficult to mess up, and it comes out so TASTY. All you have to do is chop 2 pounds of potatoes! You don’t peel them, or boil them, or dirty anything more than a measuring cup, a baking sheet, one knife and your cutting board!

Ingredients

  • 1 packet onion soup mix (any brand)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, olive oil, or blend of both (I use Smart Balance cooking oil, which is a blend of canola, soy & olive oils with lots of Omega3s)
  • 2 pound of potatoes, quartered (I mixed Red Norland and Irish Cobbler)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Toss chopped potatoes with oil; add in onion soup mix and stir to combine. Place on a baking sheet, evenly spaced, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes.

!E Voila!