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xo Gluten Free Lover xo bio picture

my two loves . . .

Hello! My name is Kathryn - a Georgia girl and bona fide bread lover. Well, that is until I met and fell in love with Justin. Let's be real, I still LOVE bread and all things gluten-ful, but have given up that life for a gluten-free one - because now, I am a gluten-free lover.

I have always loved food. Cooking it, eating it, discussing it. I hope you'll try some of the recipes I've posted and you'll see - gluten-free cooking is accessible and delicious!

Fiesta! Chicken and Rice.

J and I love Mexican food. I mean – seriously LOVE Mexican food. Especially tortilla chips and queso….mmmmmm…J makes a mean queso dip. Anyway – (to save money) I’ve started cooking more Mexican meals at home. And not just your typical tacos (another of J’s specialties), nachos, and quesadillas. I’ve been experimenting with more traditional, more complex dishes.

Okay fine, this recipe falls somewhere in between. It is fairly simple to make but more sophisticated, Mexican fare.

Fiesta Chicken and Rice

Fiesta Chicken and Rice

I especially love this recipe for two reasons:

1. J is the resident “grill master” around here and even though I hover, and wince, and make suggestions – he has the final word. Since we got our grill, about a year ago, J has been practicing and practicing to become the afore mentioned “grill master.” It hasn’t been a totally smooth ride. There were plenty of black, charred steaks that bled when sliced and chicken so dry, it took your breath away. But now, my dear friends, J is owning his “grill master-ness.” The fiesta chicken was grilled perfectly and I’m just so proud of him for working so hard and for it really paying off!
2. I finally came up with a Mexican rice that I love. I’m kind of picky when it comes to Mexican rice. I don’t like big chunks of stewed tomatoes. Nor do I like my rice overly sticky and mushy. I’ve tried three or four recipes before this one and they were all disappointing to me. J is always supportive, but I was not pleased. Now, I am pleased.

Fiesta Chicken and Rice
serves 3

For the rice:
1 c raw Jasmine rice
1 3/4 c water
1 1/2 cubes Knorr chicken bouillon (or the amount of bouillon to make 1 1/2 c broth, according to package directions)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp tomato paste
Kosher salt

For the chicken:
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (should be three split breasts)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
about 1 1/2 tsp ground thyme*
about 1 T chili powder*

Take the chicken out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before you want to put it on the grill. Season, on both sides, with salt and pepper. *I didn’t actually measure these spices when I made this dish, so I’m guessing here. I gave the chicken a light dusting of ground thyme and a healthy dusting of chili powder. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Meanwhile, bring 1 3/4 c water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add 1 tsp Kosher salt, the Knorr bouillon, and the tomato paste, stir to dissolve. With the water at a rapid simmer, add the rice, cumin, and coriander, and give it one last big stir. Cover, drop the heat to low and cook for about 18 minutes or just until the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, or until ready to serve (don’t wait too long or it’ll get dry). I’ll have to get J to write up his tips for grilling sometime.  Although he’s not so great with “writing down recipes” or knowing exactly how long things take. We’ll see! When the grill is ready, place the chicken breast on the grill and DON’T MOVE THEM! (Some people brush oil on the grate before putting the food on. I think that creates a lot of smoke and not a lot else. It won’t hurt, so go for it, if that’s your type of thing. When I need oil for grilling, I brush olive or vegetable oil on the food itself before seasoning.) Grill for 12-15 minutes or until the chicken is firm when you press it with your finger. You’ll want to turn the chicken several times during cooking and the best rule I know about grilling is don’t move or flip the meat unless it releases from the grill easily. If you have to fight to get the meat off the grill, you’ll ruin it. So just go with the flow. When the chicken is done, remove from the grill, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside to rest.

As you can see, I served the chicken on top of some “sauteed peppers and onions.” Well, they were technically peppers and onions but had been frozen and when cooked, they turned out mushy and even though the flavor was solid, it couldn’t compensate for the disappointing texture. No matter! The chicken was really flavorful and, oh my, was it moist!! The rice was intense and unmistakably Mexican in flavor. All the different spices, in the rice and in the chicken, blended well without being repetitive. Part way through grilling, J was so excited to eat, he came in from the backyard saying “this is gonna be a fiesta!” in a sing-songy voice, thus, Fiesta Chicken and Rice was born.

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