Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Cheesy Chicken, Bacon, and Broccoli with Rice

I'm always looking for relatively quick, simple, filling dishes to make during the week.  I feel like weekdays can get pretty hectic between work, going to the gym, any appointments we may have, and just life in general.  The last thing I feel like doing after a busy and/or long day is cooking an elaborate meal.

Enter today's recipe.

With a little chopping help from my husband (a.k.a. my sous-chef), this dish came together pretty quickly.

A testament to Eric's fabulous chopping skills.
A testament to Eric's fabulous chopping skills.
This recipe is so simple but so good.  As I said, it comes together pretty quickly (always a plus!), it's very filling, and, as an added bonus, it makes a ton of food.  I'm always attracted to recipes that will make enough for leftovers.  It's nice to have them on hand for nights that I don't feel like cooking anything, or for a better and more satisfying lunch at work (versus, say, a Lean Pocket or peanut butter sandwich).

I didn't alter this recipe that much this time around.  And while this meal was delicious as is, I do plan to play around with the flavors in the future.  I already have a few ideas, so don't be surprised if something similar pops up again on this blog!

I've mentioned before that my photography skills are not that great.  Case in point: the shadow in the top left corner of the skillet.  Hopefully it still looks appetizing.

Cheesy Chicken, Bacon, and Broccoli with Rice

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on kevin {&} amanda.

Ingredient List:
  • 12-14 slices bacon, diced (I used turkey bacon to lighten the recipe up a bit, but feel free to use whatever you like)
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 package frozen broccoli florets (They don't have to be completely thawed, but I wouldn't toss them straight into the skillet from the freezer)
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain organic white rice (Any long grain white rice should work)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 10 oz. cans Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 3 cloves garlic (or, if you're lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 2 tbsp low fat margarine or butter (I used low fat margarine)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


1.  Cook the diced bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat until crisp, stirring occasionally.

2.  When the bacon is crisp, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the skillet.  (I just placed it on a plate and set it aside until I needed it.)

3.  Add 1 tbsp of olive oil (you may skip this step if you use regular bacon and have some fat/grease left in the skillet) and the diced chicken to the empty skillet.  Season with 1 tbsp each of sea salt and black pepper.  (I know that sounds like a lot of seasoning, but it doesn't overwhelm the other flavors when everything is mixed together.  If you don't want to use that much, cut it down to whatever you're comfortable using.)

4.  When the chicken is completely cooked through (this should take 5-8 minutes, depending on how thick your chicken is and how small the chunks are), remove it from the skillet and add it to the plate with the bacon.

5.  Add the long grain white rice, water, and a pinch of sea salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer according to the instructions on the rice package.  Remove the saucepan from heat once it has simmered for the recommended time.  (The time will likely vary depending on what type of rice you use, but I would allow at least 15 minutes for simmering.)

6.  In the large skillet used to cook the meat, cook the white onion and broccoli over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally, allowing the broccoli to become tender and the onions to caramelize.  (This should take about 10 minutes.)

7.  Add the garlic and cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

8.  Pour in the Ro-Tel (with the juices!), rice, chicken, and bacon, stirring well to combine.  Keep warm on the lowest heat setting.

9.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour slowly.

10.  Add the chicken broth and stir until well combined.  Increase the heat to high and allow the sauce to cook until it's nice and thick.

11.  Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the cheddar cheese until melted and a bit of sea salt and black pepper to taste.  (I just eyeballed the amount, so add whatever seems appropriate to you.)

12.  Once the cheese is completely melted, pour the sauce over the chicken/bacon/rice mixture.  Stir well to combine.

We actually didn't have any side dishes with this meal.  Since it has meat, starch, vegetables, and a little bit of dairy, it didn't seem necessary.  Yet another bonus: everything you need for a filling dinner comes from one main dish.  I call that a win.

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