Chicken and Rice Casserole

My kids love chicken and rice – so I am always looking for new and interesting versions that they will actually eat.  It is a game, one that I have definitely not mastered.   It wouldn’t be a contest if I just made grilled chicken and served it with basmati rice, that would be too easy.  The first time I made a chicken and rice casserole, the girls both looked at it and asked, “Where is the chicken and rice?”  Needless to say, that casserole did not go over well.

We have come a long way since then – at least now they will try the casserole before turning their noses away – and every once in a while they actually like it.  I saw this recipe in Cooking Light – and even though there was zucchini in it, I thought there might be a chance.  I actually got one thumbs up for this one, which is better than none.  I loved it, and my husband had multiple helpings.   For a one dish meal, it was super simple, yet delicious.  Next time I will add some roasted red pepper – not only for color, but I think it would complement the rest of the flavors beautifully.  I will wait another year for that one though…by then the little one won’t remember she didn’t like it the first time.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 1  (8-ounce) bone-in chicken breast half, skinned
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper, divided
  • 1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 1  (8-ounce) zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1  (8-ounce) yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2  cups  cooked long-grain white rice
  • 1  teaspoon  minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  cups  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add chicken, meaty side down, to pan. Cook 6 minutes or until browned; turn chicken over. Add broth to pan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan, reserving broth in pan. Let chicken stand 10 minutes. Remove chicken from bones; shred. Discard bones. Place chicken in a large bowl.

Bring broth to a boil; cook, uncovered, until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Add broth mixture to chicken. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add squash to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add squash mixture, rice, and minced rosemary to the chicken mixture, and toss gently to combine.

Place flour in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; let stand 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup cheese; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, milk mixture, and salt to chicken mixture; stir to combine. Spoon chicken mixture into a broiler-safe 8-inch ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over rice mixture; bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove casserole from oven.

Preheat broiler.  Broil casserole 5 minutes or until golden.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Chicken and Rice Casserole

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Chicken Cutlets with Asparagus, Capers, and Shallots

Broiling chicken is not something I do very often, if at all.  For some reason I have always thought that broiling chicken would burn it on the outside, and leave it raw on the inside.  I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and what appealing most to me was the fact that everything went into the oven on the same baking sheet.  This seemed too simple not to try.  Plus – it just happened to have two of my favorite items cooking along side of the chicken:  asparagus and shallots.  The combination sounded divine. 

Broiling the chicken worked like a charm – the chicken was so thin, that it was so nice and tender on the inside, yet nicely browned on the outside.  The crushed fennel rub on the chicken was incredible – and it went perfectly with the shallots and asparagus.  My girls just ate the chicken, but that left more asparagus and shallots for my husband and I – and there were no leftovers.

It’s funny now to think about all the different ways to cook chicken – I think I have now covered them all.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground in spice mill or in mortar with pestle
  • 1 pound medium asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 2 cups sliced shallots (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 pounds 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick chicken cutlets (about 8 )

Preparation

Whisk lemon juice and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in drained capers and chopped tarragon. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler. Place remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl. Stir in ground fennel seeds. Add asparagus spears to bowl and toss to coat lightly. Arrange asparagus in single layer at 1 short end of large rimmed baking sheet. Add shallots to same bowl; toss to coat with oil mixture. Arrange in center of same rimmed baking sheet. Add chicken to same bowl; toss to coat. Using tongs, transfer chicken to same rimmed baking sheet, arranging in single layer at opposite end of sheet. Sprinkle vegetables and chicken with salt and pepper.

Broil chicken and vegetables 4 minutes. Turn chicken cutlets and asparagus spears over; toss shallots. Broil until chicken is cooked through and asparagus and shallots are brown in spots, watching carefully to avoid burning, about 4 minutes. Divide chicken cutlets among plates; top with shallots. Arrange asparagus spears alongside. Drizzle mustard dressing over chicken and serve.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chicken Cutlets with Asparagus

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