In this week’s column I’m going to continue to offer simple recipes to make for the entire family. The recipes today will focus on easy one pot wonders for maximum flacor and minimum cleanup. These easy dinner recipes eliminate the need to figure out what sides to cook with your main dish, because each recipe provides your protein, vegetables, and gains all in one dish.
This Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet has to be one of the most comfort-food-y comfort foods of all time. Creamy, cheesy, carby deliciousness in one easy skillet.
Can you use chicken thighs instead of breasts? Yes, absolutely. You should be able to swap out chicken thighs for chicken breasts in this recipe witout making any other adjustments. Use approximately 3/4 lb. chicken thighs.
You can also use frozen peas and carrots for the recipe. Fresh vegetables will likely need a little bit more time to cook, since frozen vegetables are blanched before freezing, so I would add your fresh vegetables at the same time that the broth is added, so they can simmer with the rice.
If you want to make this a little lighter, you can use half and half. If you’re looking for a non-dairy substitute, I would use coconut milk (the kind in the can, not the kind in a carton meant as a dairy milk substitute). Or, you can just leave the cream out and make it a non-creamy chicken and rice dish. The cheese on top will be plenty richness for some people.
After cooking your food, divide the chicken and rice into single portions and refrigerate for 4-5 days. A quick reheat in the microwave and you’re back on the comfort food bandwagon.
Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet
1 yellow onion 2 Tbsp. butter
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly cracked pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 lb. frozen peas and carrots
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
Dice the onion and add it to an oven safe deep skillet (3 qt. capacity) along with the butter. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
While the onions are cooking, dice the chicken breast into small, 1/2-inch pieces. Add the chicken to the skillet and continue to sauté for about 3 minutes more, or just until the outside of the chicken pieces have turned opaque (the chicken will finish cooking through as it simmers with the rice).
Add the rice, thyme, sage, salt, some freshly cracked pepper (about ten cranks of a pepper mill), and the chicken broth to the skillet and stir to combine.
Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to mediumhigh, and allow the broth to come to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let the skillet simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, replacing the lid each time. Cooking the rice in an excess of broth and stirring occasionally as it cooks will produce a saucy rice mixture.
After 15 minutes, the rice should be tender and saucy (if not yet tender, let it continue to cook for 5 more minutes). Stir in the frozen vegetables (no need to thaw), replace the lid, and let it sit over medium-low heat for another 5 minutes to heat the vegetables through. Finally, add the heavy cream, stir to combine, taste, and add extra salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of the broth you used).
Turn on the oven’s broiler, top the skillet with the shredded cheese, and place the skillet in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Serve hot.
I am a huge fan of goulash. I absolutely love it. My mom, who is hands down the best cook I know, would make this often when she didn’t have a lot of time to cook in the evenings. She was a dance teacher my entire life and sometimes would get home pretty late. My dad was an accountant and would often get home late, especially during tax season. This recipe was something she made a lot of so we had plenty to eat when she couldn’t get home.
If you want this dish to be as scrumptious as humanly possible, you need to use the red wine. If you can’t use it or don’t have any on hand, you can substitute beef broth in its place.
This recipe is very freezer-friendly as I mentioned earlier. Just make sure to cool the goulash completely in the refrigerator first and then transfer to the freezer for long-term storage.
I would consider this a onepot meal because it’s very filling. If anything you might want some crusty bread to sop up that delicious gravy, or maybe a green salad on the side.
You can also add cheese and sprinkle it over the top of each bowl. You can also stir it into the pot to give an overall cheesy flavor.
One Pot American Goulash
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
2 bell peppers 1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup red wine
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 whole bay leaves (optional)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup water
2 cups elbow macaroni (about 1/2 lb.)
Salt to taste
Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
Sauté both in a large soup pot with the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent. While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice the bell peppers, then add them to the pot and continue to sauté for about two minutes more. Add the ground beef to the pot with the vegetables and continue to sauté over medium until the beef is cooked through. Add the red wine to the pot and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato sauce, soy sauce, bay leaves, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, and water to the pot. Stir to combine, place a lid on the pot, and allow it to come up to a boil.
Once boiling, turn it down to low, and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
After the sauce has simmered for 30 minutes, add the macaroni and stir to combine.
Continue to let the macaroni simmer in the sauce, with the lid on, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender (about 10-12 minutes).
Once the pasta is tender, taste the goulash and add salt to taste. Remove the bay leaves, then serve.