Tonight Mack and I are making another baked chicken dish. This is one of our favorite dinners that we have about once a week, because it’s easy, healthy, and tasty.
I first got the idea for this recipe from my good friend, Steve who made a similar baked chicken dish for me one time when we were in college. One evening, we were hanging out at his place after class. We were hungry and broke. The only thing that he had in his house at the time was some frozen chicken breasts and a bunch of dried spices in his pantry. So we took the chicken straight out of the freezer and topped it with a bit of oil & a bunch of spices, and put it in the oven. Surprisingly, it turned out great. I liked it so much that I have continued baking chicken this way since then. We usually have frozen chicken breasts and rice on hand, so the only thing that changes is the vegetable side dish, which is determined by what veggies we get in our weekly delivery. This week we got a bunch of yellow & green beans, so that is what we’ll have tonight.
- 2-4 frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup white long grain rice
- 2 cups water
- Salt, fresh ground pepper, lemon pepper, Mrs. Dash, chili flakes
- 3 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 1 pound of green beans or however much you want to eat
- 1 Onion
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375* F
First I start out by chopping some fresh garlic. I usually use about 2 or 3 cloves for the chicken breasts, and another 2 or 3 for the green beans.
Line a baking dish with foil (to make clean-up easier later). Put the frozen chicken breasts in the pan and spray the breasts with non-stick cooking spray (I use the olive oil kind.) Then top each breast with a generous coating of salt, fresh ground pepper, minced garlic, and whatever other spices you like. I usually use lemon pepper, Mrs. Dash, and maybe some chili flakes if we have them. Spray the chicken again with olive oil spray. Cover the top of the pan with foil, and put in the oven. Set your timer for 20 minutes.
Next step is the rice. I started making rice this way one day when I wanted rice-a-roni but I didn’t have any, so I decided to make my own version. This is how I always prepare rice now, because it’s so much better than plain white rice.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter or margarine in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the rice just starts to brown a little bit. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add a dash of salt, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash, and fresh ground pepper. Put the lid on, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 17 minutes. Stir the rice and if there is still a lot of liquid, then put the lid back on and keep cooking for an additional 3 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water is fully absorbed. For best results, keep the lid on the pot and do not check your rice until the end.
About the same time that you start your rice, your chicken should be ready to check. Take the foil off of the chicken and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes, or until the internal temp of the thickest part of the breast is 165*. I always use a thermometer so I don’t over or under cook my chicken.
While the chicken and rice are on their last stages, Mack began the beans…. (in his words…)
Heat a wok or frying pan on medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons or so of oil, we used Extra Virgin Olive Oil. When the oil is good and hot with a shimmer, not smoking, add the washed and trimmed beans to the pan. Let them cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until you see a bit of crisp on the outsides, and they are hot throughout.
Then add in a cup of onions and 2 cloves of garlic. Sauté for a couple minutes until the onions are soft. At this point add a cup of hot water and cover for 5 minutes to steam the beans, stirring occasionally.
Then when the beans get a bit more cooked and the water is starting to evaporate, I uncovered the pan, added 2 tablespoons of butter and seasoned with some lemon pepper and garlic salt. As the water is going away, the butter remains and carmelizes everything a bit. I served al dente, but you can let them sauté with the remaining butter to get as dry or crisped as you prefer.
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