Friday, June 4, 2010

Cooking Challenge

I have 9 lbs. of ground beef, a few roasts, and a few chicken breasts to use in the next 14 days.
The moving company won't move perishable items.
And, I'm struggling to find the motivation to cook because it's just me and baby. Matt's in Arkansas, and it's just not as fun to cook for yourself.
I'm trying to create things with just what I have in my kitchen currently, that are still remotely healthy, not bland, and simple.

Tonight's creation - a simple twist on the staple, "Chicken & Rice".
Actually, I wasn't aware that chicken and rice was a staple until Matt & I started dating. Chicken wasn't a common meat during my childhood - we were a roast and steak family. One advantage to bovine animals roaming in the barnyard.

Aside from that, the few times that I've had it, and the one time I made it, I was disappointed. Yes, it's simple and quick - and in my opinion for those two reasons you sacrifice flavor. It's bland, no matter how much cracked pepper you use. Well tonight when I assessed what I had in the refrigerator that needed to be used quickly, there was a HUGE amount of already made wild rice/bulgur/wheat berries.

Anyway - here's the original and then my creation:

The BASIC Chicken & Rice
2 cups instant rice
1 (5 ounce) can chicken chunks, drained (I always use chicken breasts)
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup

Lynette's Chicken & Rice
(Thanks to Adela's Poppyseed Chicken Recipe for inspiration)

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c. plan Yogurt (Stonyfield Plain, Cream on Top)
1 tsp. poppy seeds
Mix those together with a wisk

2 c. previously cooked wild rice/wheat bulgur/wheat berries (great use of leftover rice)
2-4 chicken breasts (uncooked)
1/4 c. butter, thin slices
2 handfuls of buttery crackers

In a casserole dish, pour 1/2 of the yogurt mixture over the rice and mix together.
Place chicken breasts on top. Cover with the remaining yogurt mixture. Evenly space the thin slices of butter on top. Crush the buttery crackers over the top.

Bake 60-90 minutes at 375.

It was tangy and creamy and very flavorful! And I would definitely make it again. The chicken juices also kept the rice from drying out.

I like to think I can call it healthy because it's good rice and good yogurt. Well, if it's not healthy those two at least balance out the cream of chicken soup.

On a side note, if you have any creative ideas for the 9 lbs. of ground beef - feel free to leave a comment. The fewer ingredients the better!!

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