Friday, November 21, 2014

Creamy Rice, Chicken and Spinach

* 3/4 cup Italian salad dressing, divided (I used Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian)
* 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 1/2 tsp garlic powder
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 3 cups cooked brown rice
* 4 oz Cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat kind, Neufchatel)
* 2 big handfuls of fresh spinach, torn into smaller pieces
* 1 large tomato, chopped

1. Marinate the chicken in 1/2 cup of the salad dressing for 3-4 hours, or all day if desired
2. Heat 1/4 cup of dressing in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken and marinade, and cook until cooked through, 6-8 minutes.
3. Stir in the broth, garlic powder and salt.  Stir to combine, bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
4. Add in the cream cheese and stir constantly to melt it into the sauce.  Add in the rice and stir to combine.  Simmer on low for 5-7 minutes to reheat the previously cooked rice.
5. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the spinach and stir gently to combine.  Cook just long enough to wilt the spinach.  Serve and enjoy!

This recipe was inspired by a recipe that called for instant rice.  I adapted it and added the additional garlic powder, salt, marinating the chicken and so forth.  We loved it and it was a dinner that came together very quickly!  I can definitely see myself prepping the chicken and rice in the morning, and then cooking the dinner in the evening.  If everything is prepped and ready this really comes together without much fuss.

To make the rice ahead, bring 3 quarts of water and 2 tsp salt to a boil in a large pot.  When the water is boiling add 1 1/2 cups of brown rice.  Cook and stir occasionally for 30 minutes.  Drain the rice and spread it out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Drizzle the rice with 2 tsp of liquid (lime juice, chicken broth, in this case I drizzled additional Italian salad dressing) and let the rice cool for 15-20 minutes.  Use in a rice salad, or in  dish that calls for white or brown rice, or refrigerate it for use in the near future.

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