Since I spend so much time playing around with recipes in my kitchen, casual acquaintances often imagine that I always fix fabulous meals. I hope you aren’t bitterly disappointed to hear this, but I don’t!
Note that even though bottled picante sauces and salsas area wonderfully convenient way to quickly zip up dishes, they are high in sodium. So I don’t add any extra salt to the recipe. Rinsing off the beans before using them also helps lower the sodium content.
The dish not only goes together quickly, but total cooking time is short. Carrot and celery sticks or a simple salad and perhaps a fruit dish or bread can round out the meal.
Tip: For even quicker preparation, substitute a time-saver package of cubed chicken breast meat for the breast halves. And to boost fiber, use instant brown rice; it’s a very convenient “healthy” whole grain product.
1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup mild or medium-hot bottled picante sauce or salsa
3/4 cup (uncooked) “instant” (or “5 minute”) brown or white rice
2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
1 can (14-15 ounces) black beans, well rinsed and drained
2/3 cup frozen (thawed) corn, rinsed and drained, optional
Black pepper to taste, optional
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, optional
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, combine the oil, chicken and thyme leaves. Cook, stirring, 3 or 4 minutes, until chicken pieces begin to brown. Stir in the picante sauce or salsa, adjusting heat so mixture simmers gently; cook 3 minutes longer. Add rice, broth (or water), beans, and the corn, if using. Let return to a simmer.
Continue simmering gently, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken and rice are just cooked through. (Brown rice will take a little longer than white.) Fluff with a fork before serving. Season with pepper, if desired. Garnish with a little more salsa and chopped cilantro or parsley leaves, if desired. You can serve extra salsa at the table, but probably shouldn’t if you’re trying to lower your family’s sodium intake.
Makes 4 servings.
For another dinner-in-a-hurry idea, check out my chicken curry, here.