Thursday, October 15, 2009

French Onion Chicken and Rice


My mom made this recipe often when we were growing up and now I understand why....it is delicious and easy on the working woman! It is as simple as putting all the ingredients in a baking dish and sticking it in the oven. I don't really have any good stories for this dish except that has a great flavor and pretty healthy. Give it a try soon!

Ingredients:
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast (can be frozen)
1 1/2 c rice
1 packet dry onion soup
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup (I use the 98% fat free)
1 can chicken broth
Water
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
1. Put rice into a large baking dish. Sprinkle the dry soup mix over the rice.
2. Mix in cream soup and chicken broth. Fill can of chicken broth with water and add as well. (You want to make sure you have at least a 2:1 water to rice ratio, but I usually add more too make sure it isn't too dry).
3. Place chicken breast in pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken.
4. Cover and bake at 375 for 50-60 min or until rice is done. I typically check it once or twice during baking and stir it around so that it is well mixed. This is also your chance to add more liquid if it is absorbed and rice isn't done yet.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ode to Dad and Chicken Fajitas

My dad is an amazing cook. Instead of going home to eat mom's cooking, I always find myself requesting the meals my father makes (no offense Mom). I realized lately that I don't post many of my dad's recipes, mainly because he NEVER uses a recipe and often forgets how he makes his foods.

I'm not sure if my dad was much of a cook when he was younger, but after he retired he started experimenting with recipes. I can remember him going through a phase of trying to perfect my grandmother's dinner rolls. He was so focused on getting them just right that he videotaped her making them one summer but his rolls were not edible. He eventually discovered that he somehow didn't tape the part where she adds sugar to the dough, and after that he finally baked a perfect batch. His latest cooking mishap was when he thought it would be a good idea to add vanilla extract to his spaghetti sauce - he swears he watched Paula Deen do it on tv but it was horrible!! His experiments with foods were not all bad, but instead have led to some delicious meals that I can't get enough of. The list includes pancakes, blackened chicken, cornbread, steaks, "good" potatoes (our version of twice baked), chinese stirfry, and list goes on and on...

My hands down favorite meal he makes is chicken fajitas. If I had to pick my last meal, it would definitely be his fajitas followed up by Publix mint chocolate chip ice cream. He makes the fajitas on a cast iron griddle on top of the grill (I can already see my brothers and I fighting over that griddle - I call dibs!). We serve them with yellow rice, sauteed onion and pepper, beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and tortilla shells. I prefer to make more of a rice bowl and just put rice, onion/pepper, chicken, cheese and sour cream and sort of stir it all together. This is perfection on a plate to me and the beauty of fajita night is that you get to make yours anyway you want.

I talked to my dad earlier today and got instructions on how to make a beef stew, but instead I found myself making chicken fajitas tonight. I was very uncertain on how these would turn out since (1) I don't have a grill or a cast iron skillet/griddle, and (2) I could not find the seasoning he uses - Chef Paul's Fajita Magic. I improvised and sprinkled some Old El Paso taco seasoning sauce on top of my chicken and it tasted pretty darn close. If you find yourself craving chicken fajitas, give this recipe a try soon!

Chicken Fajitas
Ingredients:
Boneless, skinless, chicken breast
Fajita seasoning, preferably Fajita Magic but use taco seasoning or other fajita spices
Yellow rice - I always use Vigo brand in the yellow bag
Onion
Bell peppers - red, yellow, and green (although my father won't use green because he does not like them)
Beans - black or refried
Cheese
Sour Cream
Salsa
Tortilla shells
Anything else you want!

Directions:

1. Prepare rice according to package directions

2. Saute onion and pepper over medium heat - my dad adds butter to make them better, but you can use cooking spray or however you like; Cook them until they are soft and caramelized
3. Sprinkle fajita seasoning on both sides of the chicken breasts - be generous but not too generous (I forgot to take a picture). I would put a little on and rub it all over and just use your best judgment...remember some will rub off in the pan.

4. Heat a skillet to high heat on your stovetop (unless you have a grill and a cast iron griddle you can use on the grill). I let the skillet get hot for a minute or two, and then turned it to med-high heat. Melt 1T or so of butter on the skillet then place the chicken breast on top of butter.

5. Sear the chicken breast on one side for a couple minutes, then flip to get the other side browned as well. Continue cooking and flipping until the chicken is cooked throughout.
6. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest a few minutes before cutting. Slice into pieces and serve.