Friday, June 18, 2010

Chicken Basics Starter Recipe

This next series of posts is being written primarily for my friend Mike, though anyone who's cooking meals for one will find them useful.  We've been friends since our freshman year of college, but he lives a few hours away so we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like. On a rare visit last Saturday, he was complaining about how hard it is to eat well when you're only cooking for one. I was really surprised that after almost fifteen years of friendship, I'd never shown him my easy method for making a basic recipe and changing it up every night to make a new taste sensation! Now that I'm married, this isn't much of an issue anymore (my husband Scott can eat), but I spent many years doing this as a single person. Once you have a basic dish, it's easy to change seasonings without having to cook a completely new meal from scratch every night after work. Especially- when-all-you-want-to-do-is-collapse-and-watch-TV. This method cuts down on dishes, but still means you can choose your desired meal every night while eating well and cheaply! Which is even more important in today's economy than it was when I did it all those years ago.

Today's post is a how-to for the basic chicken recipe. Then every day this week I'll post a new mix-up for the basic recipe.  When I was single, I'd make Chicken and Rice Basics once a week, then make up a Basic Ground Beef Recipe while the Chicken Basics cooked in the oven. I'll post the Ground Beef Starter Recipe once I've finished with the Chicken Basics variations. By mixing and matching, you can eat a week of dinners alternating the chicken and beef Basics...without ever realizing you're eating leftovers!

Chicken and Rice Basics Recipe

  • 1 lb chicken breast, boneless and skinless (four pieces if using IQF* chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup brown rice (it's better for you and tastes good cooked in broth! no cardboard here, I promise! )
  • 2 cans chicken broth, or 2 cups water and bouillon  (I use Better Than Bouillon concentrate)
  • salt, pepper, granulated or fresh garlic
*IQF=individually quick frozen. These are found in the freezer section and are often cheaper than fresh. They also make cooking for one person MUCH easier as you can pull out only as much as you need.

1. In a 9x13 baking dish, spread rice evenly into bottom of pan.

2.  Evenly space chicken breasts on top of rice.  (Yes, my chicken is still frozen. So what? It thaws while it cooks in the oven.)

3. If using fresh garlic, chop into fine pieces and mix into chicken broth before pouring broth over the rice. If using granulated garlic, sprinkle over top of chicken breasts to taste. 

4. Add salt and pepper before covering pan with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour at 350 or until rice absorbs all liquid.

5.  When no liquid remains in bottom of pan, remove foil to brown breasts and bake 5-10 minutes more.

6.  Set aside to cool. Once cool, separate chicken and rice evenly into 4 containers.

I use Gladware entree sized containers; they're just the right size for a one person meal.  Freeze whatever you won’t use in the next week or so. Safe storage times in fridge will vary from fridge to fridge and climate to climate. If you're in doubt, freeze it. Just toss it in the fridge before you leave in the morning to it can thaw out and be ready for dinner that night.
Check back tomorrow for the perfect veggie side dish to go with chicken and rice: Garlic Green Beans!

    1 comment:

    1. Thank you sO much for these great ideas. Made the basic recipe yesterday and it was really good! To bad I didn't find the beef recipes...


    Related Posts with Thumbnails