07-08-12_chickn.jpgDo you happen to have 3 cups of cooked rice in your refrigerator (from last night’s Chinese takeout, perhaps)? If so, try using that rice in a casserole such as this one, from Forbidden Foods Diabetic Cooking, by Margaret Powers and Joyce Hendley (recipe below). Dave enjoyed it.

Yield: 7 servings

2 tsp. canola oil
1 (3 1/2 lb.) chicken, cut up and skinned
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium zucchini, diced
3 cups cooked brown or white rice
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 Tbsp. plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. paprika

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp. of the oil. Cook chicken in two batches until it is lightly browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; keep warm. Remove all but 1 tsp. of the liquid from the skillet.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Return the skillet to the heat and cook the onion and celery, stirring as needed, until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and zucchini; continue cooking until the mushrooms release and reabsorb their juices, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice, broth, sour cream, thyme, pepper, and allspice; spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Top with the chicken in a single layer. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl with a fork, stir together the bread crumbs, the remaining teaspoon oil, and the paprika.

Uncover the chicken and sprinkle evenly with the bread crumb mixture. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, about 25 minutes.

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I used 3 1/2 lbs. of skinless, boneless chicken thighs and breasts. The recipe suggests using 1 tsp. of the remaining chicken fat in the pan to cook the vegetables, but this wasn’t enough for my job. I added more canola oil to cook the onion, celery, mushrooms, and zucchini.

Using sour cream in the recipe is an interesting way to add moisture to the casserole. The allspice provided a nice cinnamon scent while cooking. The 1/2 tsp. of black pepper may have been a bit too much for this recipe; instead, you should add some salt. I would have preferred using more than 1 Tbsp. of breadcrumbs for the topping; try using four times that much. After the duration of baking, the vegetables seem to have “melted.”

RECIPE: a showcase for chicken pieces
you’ll need an hour or more to complete this
try adding some “zing” to your cooked chicken

Next time, let’s try some burgers! I’ll cook “Veggie Burgers with Tahini Mayonnaise,” from the April 2007 issue of Everyday Food, along with the “Stewed Corn and Tomatoes with Okra,” from the July 2007 issue of Gourmet. Return to my site on Saturday, November 10, to see what happens.