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This savory recipe is easy and fairly fast, even though it has a long list of ingredients.   Stingy on fat and generous with veggies, its creamy flavor depends on a can of mushroom soup.

Mushroom Chicken & Rice

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt or salt substitute
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup dry white cooking wine  (Note #1)
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped
2 medium carrots
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) fresh mushrooms, sliced, OR 1 can stems & pieces, drained
cooking spray
1 can (14 to 16 oz.) chicken broth, OR 2 cups chicken broth
water
1 3/4 cups white long-grain rice
1 can lower-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 cup frozen peas  (Note #2)

Cut each chicken breast half into 4 pieces.  Place in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with the spices and salt.  Mix well to distribute seasonings.  Put each piece on a cutting board and whack it a few times with a meat tenderizing hammer.  (This makes it a little thinner and forces some of the seasonings into the chicken.)  Scrape anything left on the cutting board into the bowl of chicken.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Place the chicken pieces into the pan in a single layer (if pan is too small, repeat with second batch).  Sauté until lightly browned.  Turn and brown other side.  Remove from pan and place back into the large bowl temporarily.

When all the chicken is browned, pour in the cooking wine and bring to a boil.  Add the chopped onion, celery and green pepper.  Wash and/or scrape carrots and slice on the diagonal.  (Note #3)  Add to skillet.    Stir frequently until wine boils away.  Add mushrooms.  If   using fresh mushrooms, spray them with cooking spray.  Sauté, turning gently, for another minute.  Add rice.  Continue to sauté, scraping bottom of pan, for another minute or two.  Do not allow bottom of pan to scorch. 

Add chicken broth and enough water to make a total of four cups of liquid.  Bring to a boil.  Add chicken along with any liquid that has drained into the bowl.   Cover tightly and turn to very low heat.    Cook for twenty minutes, turning and scraping up bottom every five to eight minutes.  If mixture dries down and starts to stick before the rice is tender, add a little more water.

While the rice is cooking, place the frozen peas and 1/2 cup of water in a microwave-proof dish.  Zap it for eight minutes.

When rice is tender,  add the can of mushroom soup (undiluted) and mix well.   Drain the peas and scatter over the top of the dish.  Serve while piping hot. 

Enjoy!

Note #1 You may substitute water for the white wine.

Note #2:   Substitute canned peas if you must; don't cook, just heat before garnishing the dish.

Note #3:   If family members have a tendency to pick out large chunks of carrots, cube them instead into 1/4 inch dice.  

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