Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

I started thinking about a dish I used to make when the kids were little.  If you have kids, you know that a lot of meals are geared towards getting them to eat and not complain.  I used to make what I called Turkey, Gravy and Rice.  Basically I made rice, cut up some leftover turkey and covered it with a white sauce.

I wanted to make it a bit healthier, so I added some zucchini and I had corn in the garden, so I put in some of that.  But then I decided to make a cheese sauce rather than just a white sauce.  Well, there goes the whole "make it a bit healthier" part!  But cheese has protein, right?  That HAS to be better than just a white sauce.  Besides, this is comfort food.  And I used brown rice.  So there.


Cheesy Chicken and Rice

1 cup brown rice, cooked according to the directions
1 very large chicken breast, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced zucchini
corn kernels from one ear, about 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Cheese sauce

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Start the rice.  Brown rice takes almost an hour to cook.


Go out to the garden and pick an ear of corn.  What?  You don't have corn growing in your garden?  Well, then use one of those little cans of corn.  Do I have to spell out everything? 


Shuck the corn and cut off the kernels.  Set aside


Dice up the chicken breast and heat some olive oil.  The diced chicken will cook quickly.  When it is no longer pink inside the biggest piece, remove it to a bowl and add a bit more olive oil to the pan.  Place the zucchini, corn and onions in the pan over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes.  The onions should be translucent and the corn and the zucchini may start to get brown.  Add the garlic and cook for just a minute or two.

Garlic can get bitter if you cook it too long, that's why you add it last.

Place all the cooked veggies on top of the chicken in the dish.

Start the cheese sauce.


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the flour, salt and mustard. cook for a few minutes so the flour gets a bit toasty.  Add the milk and continue cooking and stirring.  It may be lumpy, so use a whisk to make the sauce smooth.  In a few minutes it will thicken.  Then add the shredded cheese.  Stir until all the cheese is melted and remove from the heat.


By this time the rice should be done.  Put the rice on top of the chicken and veggies and stir to combine. 


Pour the cheese sauce over the top and give it another stir.  Don't spill on the lottery ticket.  That could be your ticket to retirement in the country.  Wait.  We are retired in the country.


Are you tired of cooking?  Me, too.  So serve with a wedge of watermelon or something else easy.

If you are serving small children, leave out all the healthy bits.

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