Health Fitness

Chicken and Rice: Easy, Healthy AND Gourmet?

I know what you’re thinking! Sure, chicken is easy and yes, it can be healthy, but can it really be gourmet? Absolutely! It’s all in the presentation. Take a pencil and paper; that’s how you do it.

However, it is much easier to use an electric skillet. This way you can make your sauce. Add about 2 tbsp. of light extra virgin olive oil in your pan. Take two good sized garlic cloves, peel them, pound them with a knife, chop them up and put them in your pan. Slice some red onion (about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch thick). Quarter a handful of mushrooms and sauté them over low heat along with the onion and garlic. This is a big meal with a delicious Pinot Grigio so I’m going to pour myself a glass and use about a quarter cup to add to the stir fry. Let it reduce a bit and stir it a few times. Next, add about 2-3 tbsp. of Balsamic Vinegar (I like Colavita because it is a little sweeter), stir and cover. To the next station!

Now, rinse the boneless, skinless chicken breasts, removing all fat. I used 3 7oz. Breasts Raise skillet to about 300 and brown breasts first, tenderloin side down. After about a minute and a half, flip the chicken over and repeat browning. Turn the pan down to about 200 and add two cups of water. Once the liquid starts to boil again, add 1½ teaspoons of plain low sodium chicken stock paste. Stir it so that it dissolves properly. Add a quarter-sized amount of thyme over the chicken along with some fresh ground pepper. Are you starting to sound good? Now just let it go! To the next station!

You can do this with any type of rice. My personal favorite is jasmine white (because it’s not as mushy), but you can do whatever you want. Also, you could even spice up your rice a bit by using a few slices of almonds or cashews. Cook your rice about half an hour before you’d like to eat it, but make sure it’s not too musky. This way, you are not pressured. Anyway, the longer the chicken is in the sauce, the more delicious it will be! You just want to make sure you stir it and flip them every 10 minutes or so and keep the temperature down to 200. Make sure you keep about 2 cups of liquid in the pan at all times.

Ready to eat? Ok, remove the chicken and cut it into slices or chunks (whatever suits you best). Take 1 ½ teaspoons and mix it with a small amount of cold water (maybe ¼ cup of water). Pour the mixture into the sauce and stir. Once it thickens a bit, add another teaspoon to ¼ cup of water and do it again. Add chicken to sauce and stir. Let the sauce cook for about 10 minutes…stir often. You want the sauce to be thick enough to coat the chicken well. To the next station!

This is where the presentation comes in. Now I’m one of those people who would use their “good stuff” whenever I could. So my philosophy is, if you have it, use it! While you entertain yourself in the kitchen, finely julienne some pretty peppers. Red, orange and yellow are my favorites because they give a very nice color to the dish. Sauté them just enough that they are soft and you can clump them up a bit on the plate or spread them out a bit. You don’t want it over power, that’s all. Serve a cup and a half of rice on the plate. Now make a small pocket on top of the rice. Scoop a good amount of sauce on top of the pocket. Add your chicken to the top and garnish your plate with your peppers and the final touch, which is a nice piece of herb. I like to use rosemary sprigs because they are so pretty. But you could use pretty much anything I guess.

Viola! You have created a chicken and rice dish that is EASY, HEALTHY and GOURMET!

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