I was cleaning out some of my cabinets the other day and ran across a little box full of recipe cards. I remember getting this when I got married 11 years ago. All the women in my life knew my cooking skills were limited to Hamburger Helper and frozen pizza and they were trying to set me up for cooking success. Bless.
It took forever for me to learn how to cook something without burning it. Or to find "green onions" in the grocery store. (I was #sosmart...I'd sift through all the yellow onions trying to find the greenest. Did I just admit that?!) To say my kitchen skills were sub-par is the understatement of the century. When I finally did learn a thing or two about following a recipe, I stuck to a very limited menu and repeated it week after week for the first 3-4 years of our marriage. It looked a little something like this...
Monday: Fiesta Chicken
Tuesday: Taco Salad
Wednesday: Hamburger Helper (beef stroganoff, please!!)
Thursday: Chicken Squares
Friday & Saturday: Out to eat
I'm happy to say we've come a LONG way since those childless days and worn out meals. My husband can't say the words "Fiesta Chicken" & "Chicken Squares" without inducing his gag reflex. I have the same reaction when I pass by the boxes of Hamburger Helper at the grocery store. I'm not knockin' any of these meals, but if you eat the exact same thing every week for the first 3-4 years of your marriage, I'm pretty sure your gag reflex would go into overdrive, too :)
All that to be said, I came across a recipe card I haven't seen in ages. Tex Mex Chicken and Rice. While I'm no whiz in the kitchen, I decided to add a few new things to this dish to take it from bland to grand (<<<<< see what I did there?!) and now it's a family favorite. But I PROMISE not to keep this one on repeat :)
TEX MEX CHICKEN AND RICE
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (OR rotisserie chicken, shredded)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2-3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (4 oz.) can of chopped green chiles
1 (12 oz.) can of Rotel
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
1 (12 oz.) can of evaporated milk
2 cups shredded colby & monterrey jack cheese
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups of cooked rice
Panko bread crumbs (optional)
First, let's go ahead and preheat your oven to 350.
Prior to getting started, cook your chicken, shred (or shred your rotisserie chicken), and set aside I cheated and used rotisserie. You'll also want to make your rice and set aside, too.
Chop your onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Put the olive oil in a pan and heat on medium/high. Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic to saute (about 5 minutes, give or take).
Add the cans of chopped green chiles and Rotel to the pan and toss in the salt and cumin. Mix until combined and let simmer for about 3 minutes.
Add the chicken and mix to combine. Simmer for another 3 minutes.
Now add the cooked rice & evaporated milk, stir, and remove from heat. Toss in the cilantro and shredded cheese and mix well to combine.
Beat two eggs in a small bowl and add to the chicken & rice mixture. Mix well to combine and transfer mixture to a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.
If you're looking for a little more texture, sprinkle the top with some Panko bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for about 60 minutes.
The addition of the egg sets the chicken and rice and makes this dish more of a meal that can be cut and served in squares. A "thick" meal, not creamy. Amazingly delicious.
If you're wanting a creamier version of this chicken and rice dish, omit the eggs and replace the evaporated milk with 1 & 1/2 cups of half and half or whipping cream and reduce the baking time to about 20-25 minutes (or until bubbly).
We've had it both ways and both versions are delish. Just depends on the kind of texture you're wanting!!!
This is just the kind of throwback I'm happy to revisit!!!!