Sunday, February 5, 2012

Quick and easy dinner: Southwestern Chicken and Rice

As I've mentioned in previous posts, the January/February 2012 issue of Cooking Light contains quite a few good recipes.  I was particularly impressed with the recipes in the issue's feature ("25 Healthy Chicken Dinners") and intend on trying many of them.  To kick off the tour de chicken recipes, I made a southwestern chicken and rice skillet dinner.  The original recipe called for processed Pepper Jack cheese (e.g. Velveeta Pepper-Jack) but I couldn't find this at the grocery store so I substituted a southwestern-spiced cream cheese product.  I also upped the amount of vegetables in the recipe by adding more red and yellow bell peppers as well as introducing green bell peppers.  The fresh veges looked (and smelled) so delicious; I think next time I'll add even more!

Bell peppers and onions, so healthy and satisfying!

This chicken dish was so easy to prepare and to serve - no additional sides required because the dish contains all the vegetables and starches that a complete meal needs!  Besides being easy and tasty, the serving size of this dish also hits at just the right caloric value for dinner.  All that said, I will definitely make this again in the future!

Southwestern Chicken and Rice (Adapted from Cooking Light's Chicken and Rice)

2 cup white rice
16 oz chicken breast, cut into strips
1 1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp cumin
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 container Philadelphia Sante Fe Cooking Creme
2 oz 1/3 Fat Cream Cheese, cut into small cubes
2 oz. Mexican blend shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish by spraying lightly with cooking spray.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and sauté for 1 minute or until no longer pink.  Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.  Add onion and peppers to pan and sauté for 5 minutes.  Stir flour and cumin into onion and pepper mix; cook for 1 minute.  Add chicken broth and stir until mixture is smooth; cook for 2 minutes.  Add cooking creme and cream cheese; continue to cook with stirring until cheese is blended in and mixture is smooth.

Remove skillet from heat and add chicken and 2 1/2 cup cooked white rice.  Transfer chicken and rice mixture to baking dish; sprinkle shredded cheese to cover.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 6 servings (serving size is about 1 1/2 cups), approximately 440 calories per serving

Southwestern Chicken and Rice casserole

Hm, writing this post has made me hungry...I think its time to make this recipe again!

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