The key to always having dinner available on a busy weeknight?
Frozen chicken breasts + pantry staples.
They’ll get you through anything!
This delicious chicken & rice dinner was the result of an effort to clean out the fridge & pantry, and it’s freaking amazing.
First pantry staples? Rice and broth.
Cooking rice in broth gives it WAY more flavor, and allows it to form the base of a pilaf without being boring.
Next up: carrots, celery, and onion.
Simply sauté over medium heat for like 30 minutes, until the carrots and onions are nicely caramelized and FULL of flavor.
Add frozen peas and minced garlic.
(Two more ingredients that are almost always on hand)
Dump in a large bowl & toss with the warm rice.
Stir in: lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.
This mixture alone is SO yummy, and makes a great side dish, but you can turn it into an easy meal by adding sautéed chicken pieces.
Enter, frozen chicken breasts.
I always always have a bag of these in the freezer. They are a LIFESAVER on busy weeknights
Simply defrost, cut into cubes, season with salt, pepper, and a little dried oregano, and dredge with a light coating of flour. Pan fry until golden and crispy, and toss into the rice pilaf.
When it’s all said and done, you’ve got a well balanced meal in a bowl. Protein + veggies + grains + healthy fats. Yum.
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white or brown rice
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 extra large carrots, diced
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
- 1 medium bunch parsley, minced
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons fat or oil of your choice (I used leftover olive oil from turkey confit, but regular olive oil, lard, or other animal fat would work as well)
Add the rice and broth to a rice cooker and cook until done. Let sit on “warm” while you prep the rest of the dinner. (Alternatively, cook the rice in a saucepan according to package directions until tender, if done early, keep warm by storing in the oven or microwave).
As the rice cooks, add the carrots, celery, and onion to a large nonstick skillet along with 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each). Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are nicely caramelized and golden brown.
Add the frozen peas and garlic to the pan, and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and the peas are defrosted. Transfer the entire mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the cooked rice, chopped parsley, fresh lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set aside. (I put mine in the microwave to keep it warm, but putting it in a turned-off oven works too).
Next, sprinkle the cubed chicken with the flour and season with about 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and ground black pepper. Sprinkle with the dried oregano and toss to coat the chicken evenly.
Add the 2 tablespoons fat or oil of your choice to the same skillet that you browned the vegetables in. Warm over medium-high heat and add the chicken (don’t add any of the extra flour from the plate, as it will burn). Cook, stirring occasionally, until well golden brown on all sides, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the golden chicken pieces to the rice mixture and toss to combine. Spoon into bowls, and serve.