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Chicken and rice a long-time mainstay on dinner tables

Sep. 17, 2013 @ 10:41 PM

HUNTINGTON -- A one-pot dish made all over the world celebrates national recognition this month. Famed for its comfort-food quality, chicken and rice has been a long-time mainstay on dinner tables.

This combo also packs a powerful nutritional punch, serving a hearty helping of lean protein and satisfying carbohydrates.

First gathered and cultivated in Asia between 6,000 and 12,000 years ago, rice is sodium- and cholesterol-free and contains approximately 100 calories per half-cup cooked serving, according to the USA Rice Federation. This world-famous staple also has a trace of fat and nutrient-dense and contributes more than 15 vitamins and minerals.

Americans buy more chicken than any other food at the center of the plate. According to The National Chicken Council, chicken consumption per capita has increased nearly every year since the mid-1960s.

The versatile meat, naturally low in sodium, is an easy ingredient in many ready-in-a-minute meals.

These recipes are from "Taste of Home:"

CHICKEN RICE DINNER

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

10 bone-in chicken thighs

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (4-ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, undrained

2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules

2 cups boiling water

Minced fresh parsley, optional

In large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add chicken thighs, one at a time, and shake to coat. In large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in oil. Place rice in ungreased 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with onion and garlic; top with mushrooms. Dissolve bouillon in boiling water; pour over all. Place chicken on top. Cover; bake at 350 degrees 1 hour or until thermometer reads 180 degrees and rice is tender. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

ORANGE CHICKEN AND VEGGIES WITH RICE

11/2 cups uncooked instant rice

1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup cornstarch, divided

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

11/2 cups sliced fresh carrots

1 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

Prepare rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper; set aside. Place remaining cornstarch in large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, few pieces at a time; shake to coat. In large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in 2 tablespoons oil 7-9 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Remove; keep warm. In same skillet, sauté carrots in remaining oil 2 minutes. Add green pepper and onion; sauté 2-3 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to pan. Bring to boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken; heat through. Serve with rice.

This recipe is provided by "Betty Crocker Kitchens:"

BAKED CHICKEN AND RICE WITH AUTUMN VEGETABLES

8 chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin removed

1 (6-ounce) package original-flavor long-grain and wild rice mix

2 cups peeled butternut squash, peeled

1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups water

11/2 cups garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 10-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in skillet about 5 minutes, turning once, until brown. Remove chicken from skillet. In ungreased 13- by 9-inch pan, mix rice, contents of seasoning packet, squash, zucchini and bell pepper. Add water to skillet; heat to boiling. Pour boiling water over rice mixture; stir to mix. Stir in cheese. Place chicken on rice mixture. Cover pan with foil. Bake about 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

"Cooking Light" furnishes this recipe:

PARMESAN CHICKEN AND RICE

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms

3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup uncooked instant rice

1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add chicken; sauté 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Add wine, salt and pepper; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in rice and broth; Bring to boil; cover; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in cheese and parsley.

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