Growing up, I remember Mom stewing a hen to make chicken and rice or dumplings. It was a serious undertaking and as a Southern Cook, I developed an easier way to make both dishes. Today, I will walk you through a simple method and when you have made it this way, you will not miss anything in taste. You will have made it sooner and a lot easier. I am not saying I won’t make it the old fashioned way but I can’t think of a valid reason why I would.
Here is the overview way I make this dish now:
- I use skinless chicken breasts and after rinsing them, I place them in a large pot without any prep. I cook about 8 breasts but only because I will save four of the breasts, once cooked tender for another meal. This is another way I save time, cooking in advance and if I want to make chicken salad, stir fry, or other dishes, I don’t have to cook more chicken.
- In addition to the breasts, I filled the pot with filtered water slightly to cover the breasts. I will use chicken broth after I make my own broth for enriching the liquid but to begin with, it is only water with a stick of butter (if you are only cooking 4 breasts cut butter amount if half). I add seasonings and here is where your individual taste comes in. You can add 1 chopped onion, celery, and even carrots or garden peas, but I stay with onion only and some herbs of my choice which includes, parsley, celery seed, garlic and onion salt, pepper, sea salt, and an Every Day Seasoning. This is not a mandatory list and you can season to your particular taste. At times, I will add dill weed but this time I didn’t. I add a tablespoon of Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken but a bouillon cube will do or you don’t have to add it but I love how rich it makes the broth.
- Bring the breast with liquid to a soft boil and then cut the heat to medium and cover the pot. Allow to cook until fork penetrates the meat easily. This took about 20-25 minutes but test first. Cut the heat to low to do the rice.
- I use Success Rice in the microwave and I know what you are thinking. I just cook my rice in my chicken broth. This will happen to finish off the meal but I find my chicken and rice is not as starchy and has a lighter feel and allows more of the herbs and buttery taste without being so heavy. I used 3 packages of Success White Rice but you can use Brown instead, again your preference. I place the bags in filtered water in a microwaveable bowl and cook for 10 minutes.
- While the rice is microwaving, remove the chicken breasts from the liquid broth, and rough chop medium size pieces. At this time, I placed the extra breasts I am saving into a zip loc bag for the refrigerator for now.
- At this time, check for the amount of broth and add broth from a box if necessary. I added about 1/2 cup to the broth which allowed plenty of liquid to soak rice with flavor when added.
- I placed the chicken pieces into the pot and stirred in the rice. I put the lid on and only cooked for 5 minutes to marry the flavors.
I prepared this dish by thawing chicken breasts, cooking and chopping the meat without having to deal with bone removal, microwaving the rice, and combining the seasoned broth. The cooking time was 25 minutes, including 10 minutes of microwaving the rice while the chicken was cooking and an extra 5 minutes with the addition of the rice. In reality with about 5 minutes of chopping onions and prepping chicken, in 35 minutes total, I had a big pot of delicious and Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings while having enough cooked chicken breasts for another meal.
I find a lot of people who cook with the intention of one meal without thinking of saving leftovers for a free extra no cooking meal and/or another meal made easy from the extra meat cooked with the original meat and saved. I will make chicken salad for a great lunch by chopping the breast meat and adding celery, mayo, pickles, and boiled eggs (which I boil extra eggs to snack or use in garden peas, deviled eggs, salads, etc.) Remember my Reinvention friends, it’s all in the prep.
One more tip: If you want to change up the leftover chicken and rice, take a package of mixed garden vegetables or a couple of cans of vegetables, and add some broth to the leftovers to make a quick soup. You can use fresh or leftover veggies like kernel corn, broccoli, garden peas, green beans, etc. Use your imagination but you have a good base to start with by having the chicken & rice.
Please comment on ways you make meals easier as we love to share ideas on this blog. I love to cook but I love to cook smart and easy, don’t you? Until We Cook Again……Happy Meals!
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