Chicken, Food, Main Dishes

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet: Hearty, full of flavor, and pretty healthy too!

My 16 month old finally decided it was time to give up her morning nap.  (Actually, I think she wanted to give up her afternoon nap since she napped wonderfully in the morning and not at all in the afternoon.)  The only problem is, that even without a morning nap, she will barely nap at all in the afternoons.  Hopefully things will normalize soon and her body will tell her she’s actually tired and ready to sleep during her nap!

Anyway, the point of me saying all this, is that my routine has gotten a little off-kilter lately, due to the nixing of the morning nap.

For the past couple of years, I have cooked lunch as our big meal for the day, and we’ve just had leftovers for dinner.  I really like it that way, because then in the afternoon, I can focus on other things without having dinner “hanging over my head”.  Plus, I can get all the clean-up done in the afternoon, and I don’t have to worry about a mess late in the evening.

However….

My little girl is extremely whiny if I’m in the kitchen and she’s not getting fed.  So far, things have worked out for me to cook a hot lunch every day, because she’s always napping just before lunch (meaning I can get the prep and actual cooking done before she gets up).  Now with our later nap schedule, she doesn’t go down until after lunch, making it just about impossible (or miserable, at least) to cook a hot lunch.  I think the only way it would work is if I cooked lunch right after we finished breakfast!!

Anyway, I haven’t really enjoyed the transition to cooking supper, but I’m hoping this will be a somewhat temporary transition until she can handle being in the kitchen without having a snack.  Luckily for you (and me) the days are getting longer, so I can still manage to get a decent photograph of our meal in natural light at dinnertime.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet: Hearty, full of flavor, and pretty healthy too!

Whew, that was a long prologue.  Sorry!

All that to say…actually, that doesn’t have much to do with this meal at all except that we ate this for dinner and not lunch.  Not that you actually needed to know that.

What you do need to know is that this skillet is delicious and packed full of great flavor. The hubby thought it was so good, he kept going back for more.  In my book, that means it’s definitely a winner, especially when it’s got so much flavor and it’s not spicy.  (spice = bad, to me.  The hubby often adds hot sauce to his meals, although he didn’t use any for this one.)

The fire-roasted tomatoes add a lot to this dish, so definitely don’t skip out on those.  You could go with 2 cans of fire-roasted (instead of adding one can plain diced tomatoes), but I thought one was plenty, and I prefer that flavor not to be overpowering.

We’re definitely going to be having this one over and over.

Notes on this recipe:
– My apologies to non-leftover people, but this is a leftover note.  I think that this dish is even better the next day (if that’s possible) because all of the flavors have had more of a chance to mesh, especially with the rice. Plus, it doesn’t dry out at all because of all the tomato juices.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet: Hearty, full of flavor, and pretty healthy too!
Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet
Author: Adapted from: Kevin and Amanda
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 slices turkey bacon, diced
  • 1/2 large chicken breast, cubed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4-5 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook rice according to package directions. (For brown rice that turns out great – and not mushy, try Mel’s Perfect Brown Rice or Baked Brown Rice.)
  2. Place diced bacon in a large, warmed skillet. Cook for several minutes over medium, until bacon is cooked through. Remove bacon from skillet and set aside.
  3. Season cubed chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Cook chicken in skillet (don’t clean out the bacon grease, it’s good for flavor*) for about 5 minutes, flipping once, or until no longer pink inside. Remove and set aside.
  4. In same skillet, sauce onion and broccoli for about 10-15 minutes, or until broccoli is tender and onions are browning and beginning to caramelize. (I did add about a Tablespoon or so of oil here because I didn’t have enough bacon grease.) Add in the garlic and cook for about 1minute, or until fragrant.
  5. Pour in the diced tomatoes, cooked rice, chicken and bacon and cover to heat through.
  6. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium low. Add flour and stir until combined. Slowly pour in chicken broth and increase heat to medium or medium-high. Bring to a simmer and stir until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and add in cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour cheese mixture over rice mixture in skillet. Serve hot!
  7. *Note: if you do not use turkey bacon, you man need to toss a little of the grease, since turkey bacon doesn’t have much grease to begin with.

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