Friday, June 24, 2011

Chicken and Rice Batch Style

I couldn't decide what to do for dinner tonight so I decided to whip up a batch of chicken and rice. It's easy to make and I realized that I could make a huge batch and freeze more meals!

So, I started by putting about 3 lbs of chicken breast in my huge Pampered Chef sauce pan. I threw in 2 chicken bouillon cubes and put the lid on to seal in the moisture and heat.

I know that 2-3 cups of rice makes one meal for my family so I put 16 cups of water in my huge stock pot and 8 cups of rice. If you want to use this recipe, keep in mind that I used the regular long grain rice, not the instant rice. Instant rice you would use 1 cup of water for 1 cup of rice. I put the burner on high and brought my rice to a boil. Once at a boil, I reduced the heat to keep the rice simmering (not boiling over) and set the timer for 15 minutes.

I used frozen chicken breasts so as they thawed, I pulled the breasts out and diced the meat. I didn't do anything fancy. I just wanted the pieces bite sized. To speed up the cutting process I could have used my chopper but I shy away from using my meat in it.

I did use it for the frozen broccoli! My kids always complain about the broccoli being too big and they can't eat it. To avoid having that conversation again I threw the pieces in the chopper and after a few whacks I dumped it in the pot with the cooked chicken. If I had to guess, I'd say I used 3 cups of diced broccoli.

About this time the rice was ready. I poured in 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup. I only added 1 more can's worth of water though. The reason is I like my chicken and rice creamy, not soupy.

After mixing in the cream of mushroom soup, I took the pan of chicken and broccoli and dumped everything in the rice. Even the stock. The bouillon cubes I placed in there while the chicken was cooking added wonderful flavor to the dish.

After more mixing, the meal was ready. I took the whole stock pot to the table to see how much the family actually eats. We ate about a fourth of the pot which meant I had 3 more meals. Yes!

I took a picture of the dinner. I'm looking at my plate and realizing that I forgot a fruit but other than that we had a wonderful, well-rounded meal. The bread is a rosemary and olive foccacia loaf that I traded some lotion for at the farmer's market on Wednesday.

Needless to say, the meal was yummy and I have 3 more in the freezer for another day. Trying to calculate the price per meal was a little tricky for me. The rice was the conundrum. I buy rice in large quantities through my church's provident living program. I cannot remember what I paid the last time I bought rice.

Since you might not have access to this program, I decided to try to find another source for buying a large quantity of rice to give a better idea of the cost per meal. I found one at Emergency Food Supply, Instant White Rice I use the equivalent of one of these packets in this batch meal so the rice would cost $4.91 to make the 4 dinners.

Hopefully you can find an even better deal somewhere else. I would look on the bottom shelf in the rice area at your local grocery store and see how much the big bags are. Just store the remaining rice in a sealed container and the rice stays good for 20 years or so. Lowes has sturdy paint buckets with lids that seal for around $5.00!

But I digress. In this scenario of buying the rice from the resource, my cost per meal is $3.75. It isn't down to $3.00 a meal yet but I also didn't buy anything on sale and I know I paid less for my rice since I didn't have to worry about shipping.

Anywho, happy cooking and let me know if you have any recipes my family should try!

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