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Quick ‘n’ easy chicken and rice

Gabrielle. The storm that never was. I have to say that after securing the house and tying the trampoline to the palm tree, it was a bit of an anti-climax. I should be counting my blessings as with the usual spectacular timing the LH was away on business. This left me home alone with my girls and two new cats. I love them all, but the girls were tired from school and the cats had cabin fever….. so it could have been a recipe for disaster. Fortunately a large glass of organic wine and some fairer than fair trade chocolate brought some serenity to my night.

As for the cats, serenity is not quite the word. By 11pm they were playing a game of tag that involved the curtains, the sofa and a flight of stairs. It also included the brown leather “man-chair”. Not quite sure what the LH will make of that when he gets home, but we shall see. Could well send the whiskey glass flying.

So Jules and Ellie arrived in our house as a surprise and swift adoption. They are two and a half. They are madly affectionate. They are totally hyperactive. According to cat-law, we have to keep them inside for a few weeks until they are used to their new home - hence the cabin fever. Nevertheless, life is all the better because they have come to join us and they are certainly an antidote to the post-holiday blues.

So with life back in full swing and busier than ever it has been time to break out the quick and easy dinners. My aunt made this for us while we were away and everyone loved it. It's huge too – so it serves a crowd or provides plenty of leftovers. The ingredient list is long but if you already have a supply of herbs/spices then you are well on your way. If you don't and you want to minimise your shopping, then go for mixed Italian herbs rather than buying thyme, oregano and tarragon seperately.

There's something really comforting about chicken and rice, but so many of the take-out options are packed with bad saturated fats and sodium. This recipe has so much flavour, so it's healthy without sacrificing taste. You could easily switch the brown rice for quinoa. I'm tempted to make a Mexican version of this too by switching the seasoning. I'll keep you posted!

Serves 8-10. Use a big casserole dish! (Approximately 4 quarts.)

Ingredients:

12 – 15 skinless chicken thighs/legs or 8 chicken breasts (halved)

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp paprika

2 tbsps olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2-4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup white wine (optional)

3-4 cups fresh or canned tomatoes

1 bay leaf

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp tarragon

½ tsp oregano

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup sliced carrot

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup raw brown rice (rinsed well)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 325F

2. Rub the chicken pieces with the salt, pepper and paprika

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and LIGHTLY brown the chicken on all sides (no need to cook through.) You may need to do this in batches. Take the chicken out of the pan and put on a plate, cover and keep warm.

4. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Add a splash more oil or a tbsp water if you need to. Sauté until tender.

5. Add two cups of the chicken broth, replacing one with wine if you are using wine. Also add the tomatoes. Bring to the boil.

6. Add all the rest of the ingredients – herbs, veggies, rice, the lot. Stir together and then pour into your large casserole dish.

7. Place the chicken on top. Cover tightly with foil and put in the oven for an hour. Halfway through, check how it is doing and add some more warm stock if necessary. The rice needs the liquid to become tender, so if there is no liquid and the rice is not tender, add more and give it a stir before returning to the oven.

8. After an hour check that the chicken is cooked through. If so, take out the bay leaf and serve.

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the Managing Director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the U.K. Please note that she is not a Registered Dietitian. For details, please go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda

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Published September 14, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm)

Quick ‘n’ easy chicken and rice

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