Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18, 2013

Happy Friday!  I am heading out of town and won't be in a position to cook any new recipes next week, so I won't be publishing - but don't worry, hopefully I'll have recipes to share the following week.

But let's not worry about next week...this week two recipes qualified as keepers!  A vegetable rice medley and citrus crunch chicken.  Every now and then I do serve a pre-packaged side dish, but when I found this rice recipe I had to try it!  It was extremely quick and easy, and everyone at the table loved it!  My family is split over peas - some love them, some do not.  I did add the peas because those who don't completely enjoy them could easily pick them out.  The recipe didn't call for salt or pepper, but this could easily be added while cooking or each individual can season their dish as desired. 

We served the rice with the citrus chicken which was also enjoyed by everyone!  It had a light and bright flavor, and tasted summery here in the dead of winter.  This is another very quick and easy dinner to put together and serve on a busy weeknight.

This week I also made some dinner rolls - but oh my, were they a disaster!  I thought I had the temperature right on my liquids, but I think I must have had it too hot and killed the yeast! The rolls didn't rise during the resting time, and even when I baked them in the oven they barely rose.  I definitely still have a lot of work to do on my bread baking skills!

Happy cooking!

Easy Vegetable Rice Medley

* 1 tbsp canola oil
* 1 each small onion, carrot and stalk of celery, diced
* 1/2 to 1 pepper (red, yellow, green or a mix)
* 14.5 oz chicken broth
* 1 1/2 cups instant rice, uncooked
* 1 cup frozen peas, optional

1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add all the vegetables except the peas, cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
2. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
3. Stir in the rice and peas if desired. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. 
4. Remove from the heat but keep covered for an additional 5 minutes.
5. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Wow! Do you see those rice medley packages that you can buy in the frozen food section and microwave for a few minutes?  This dish is exactly that but so much better!  It even uses instant rice so it is almost as fast!  We loved this, and cooked it twice this week.  The first time I used up the Uncle Ben's instant rice I had on hand, and we finished every vegetable and grain of rice in the serving bowl.  The second time we made it I had to buy new instant rice and I picked up Minute Rice.  We definitely didn't enjoy it as much the second time, so we will be sticking with Uncle Ben's in the future.  I am sure this recipe could be altered to use regular rice, but I haven't tried that yet.

Citrus Crunch Chicken

* 1 each - lemon, lime, orange
* 1 to 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1 lb chicken breasts

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. 
2. Grate the peel from about half of each of the fruits. Mix the zest into the panko bread crumbs.
3. Cut the fruit into thin slices and overlap them into a greased or parchment lined 9 x 13 pan.
4. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Dip each into the bread crumbs and then lay on the fruit slices.
5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

This was a nice change to the usual Italian inspired coated chicken!  Easy and tasty!