Originally posted March 2, 2009:
I've been at home in Louisiana for the last ten days or so. I have two homes--my house in Louisiana, and a furnished, corporate apartment, currently in Georgia. When I'm home, as in HOME home, in Louisiana, I tend to not cook as much because life has a sort of temporary, almost "vacation"-like quality. One dish that I do tend to make a lot at home, though, is baked chicken and rice. I developed this version when I was working full time, involved in ministry, taking care of family, trying to figure out main dishes that I could just throw together and let it cook at the end of a busy day. I hate to admit how often I used to make this, just because it's so easy! But as a result, it's one of my son's favorite meals that speaks of home.
I make this in a large covered casserole dish or dutch oven--my favorite is a 4 1/2 quart Corning Ware baking dish with a clear glass lid.
- 1 c uncooked long-grain rice
- frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1-2 t chicken stock base or bouillon
- dried onion flakes
Mix together 1 cup uncooked rice, 1 cup of water, and 1-2 t chicken stock base or bouillon, dried onions and little pepper directly in your cooking-sprayed or lightly greased casserole dish. I use IQF (individually quick frozen) boneless skinless chicken thighs in this, which I buy by the bag from Sam's Club--it has all of the convenience of boneless, skinless breasts, but is less expensive, more moist, and I think tastes better. Lay unthawed chicken on top, sprinkle with seasoning mix (I use Tony Chachere's); cover, and bake a 350 degrees for at least an hour. I usually cook it a little longer, because we like the rice to get browned and "crusty" right around the edge.
Steam some veggies in the microwave, add a pan of quick rolls to the oven, and you have an easy meal that still means "home cooking" to your family.
If you use frozen boneless, skinless breasts, add 1/2 c extra water or broth--they tend to be dryer than the thighs
You can substitute broth or stock if you have it, for the water and chicken stock base--I love the Tone's chicken stock base, also from Sam's Club--it's a paste, not a powder, and has the best flavor of any I've tried. I've also used onion soup mix instead of stock base and dried onions--it's a different taste than using the chicken stock base, but just as good.
I love this recipe for the "fix it and forget it" quality--I can come in from a long day, throw this together, get it in the oven, and still have some time to put my feet up and catch on world events while it cooks. If I get sidetracked and it cooks a little long, the rice may get a little brown around the edges, but the cover keeps it from drying out completely--perfect for those times I get carried away catching up on blogs or emails!
Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!