Monday, June 29, 2015

Cajun Chicken & Rice

I love an easy meal. I love an easy meal that's delicious even more. And that's exactly what these Cajun Chicken & Rice bowls are. Zach introduced the chicken and rice bowl idea to me a while back. And we got to the point where we were eating his version of brown rice, shredded chicken, and a little teriyaki sauce at least once a week. Don't get me wrong, they were good! I just got burned out. I'm also a stickler for making sure we have a vegetable with each meal and that wasn't happening with matter how many times I said, "broccoli would be so good added to these!" I don't remember very many meals as a kid that didn't have at least one, if not two, vegetable sides. Sometimes it was just a salad, but we had vegetables no matter what and I guess that has kind of stuck.

I subscribed to Kevin and Amanda's blog a while back. I think it was this recipe that I have to blame thank for that! Thankfully, I haven't let myself anywhere near that sin of chocolate yet! But when I got an email with a link to this Cajun Chicken & Rice, I knew I had to give it a try to spice up our version of chicken and rice. I ran it by Zach and it has quickly become one of our favorite meals. And to make it even better, they're not terrible for you! Chicken, brown rice, tomatoes, peppers, and onions! Peppers, onions and tomatoes ARE vegetables, after all ;) More importantly, we usually have everything this recipe calls for on hand so it doesn't require a lot of planning and can be thrown together at the last minute. It also makes more than enough for the two of us which means there are leftovers for lunch!

Cajun Chicken & Rice
(adapted from Kevin and Amanda)

  1 cup uncooked rice (we use brown)
  2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (you can use water, but the broth adds SO much flavor!)
  1 teaspoon salt
  1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  Cajun or Creole seasoning
  2 tablespoons olive oil
  1 bag frozen diced onion and bell peppers (life saver!)
  1 (10-oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes (for a little less kick, use 1 can of plain diced tomatoes)
  1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  plain Greek yogurt for topping (optional)

  1. Combine rice, broth and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 14 minutes.
  2. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, about 1-inch cubes. Season generously with Cajun seasoning. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken in a single layer. Brown on one side, about 2-3 minutes, then flip and brown on the other side. Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining olive oil, increase heat to high, and when the oil is hot, carefully add the onions and bell peppers. Add more seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and browned.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the onions and bell peppers, then add the chicken back in. Add the cooked rice and stir until well combined. Add the cheese if desired and stir well to combine.
5. Serve and enjoy!

I highly recommend you trying this dish! If you like things on the spicier side, definitely go with the Ro-Tel. If not, go with the plain diced tomatoes as the Cajun seasoning already adds a kick by itself. I've cooked it both ways and both are delicious. The original recipe calls for 1-cup of shredded cheddar cheese, but the last time I cooked it, we only had around 1/2 a cup and I decided it was just as good so I'll be doing that from now on. I'm all about saving calories where you can! I also like to add a little dollop of plain Greek yogurt to mine. It makes the dish just a little creamier and cools off that Cajun kick!

Seriously, go make this for dinner! There's a leftover bowl of it in the fridge right now and I'm having major regrets of not grabbing it for my lunch!!

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