The fridge stare. We all do it from time to time. You've been thinking about a certain recipe, maybe, but tonight it just doesn't sound as appetizing as it once did. Or you didn't have anything in mind at all and just hoped a plan would magically appear for you if you waited long enough. Either way, you end up staring into your fridge wondering what in the world you can make for dinner before you resort to yet another bowl of cereal.
I am the queen of the fridge stare. At the complete mercy of my stomach's whims, I often resort to making up recipes according to what's in the fridge and what I feel like eating that day. So yesterday, instead of making the Thai-style cod I was planning, I ended up with what I'm calling Mexican-inspired chicken.
Mexican-Inspired Chicken (4 servings)
4 chicken thighs
1 bell pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne (or to taste...if you like spicy, go for it; if you don't, cut this back)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
box of brown rice
1. Place chicken thighs into a 1.5 quart casserole.
2. Julienne bell pepper and onion (cut it into long, thin pieces...or just do what I did and buy this pre-cut and frozen for your convenience. Yes, fresh is probably better, but sometimes you just don't know what to do with all the leftovers when you only need a little.)
3. Sprinkle corn, bell pepper, and onion over the chicken...really however much you want to be in there is good. I could have used some more, to be honest.
4. Mix cumin, cayenne, garlic, and lemon juice into the can of tomatoes. (If you're careful, you can do it right in the open can, but I definitely suggest doing it over the sink if you try!)
5. Pour spiced tomatoes over chicken.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 70 minutes.
7. While that's baking, prepare brown rice according to the instructions on the box. Rice is one of the few things I will make from a box on occasion, just because I like not having to measure it out and there's no extra processing nightmares to worry about - as long as you don't get some crazy flavor, it's the exact same as the stuff in the bags.
8. When it's all ready, put rice on your plate (or the bottom of your bowl, if you're like me and like eating out of bowls) and top with a chicken thigh and some veggies. Drizzle with some of the cooking liquid and enjoy!
Be aware there will be a lot of liquid left over in your casserole. If you want, you can add a little cornstarch and thicken it up into a more proper sauce, but be aware that thickening will concentrate the spice from the cayenne. If you accidentally make yours too hot, you have a couple of options:
1. Add more rice to balance it out.
2. Stir in a little sour cream to cool it down.
3. If you don't have sour cream, you can also stir in some plain or vanilla yogurt for the same effect.
And for those of you who were wondering about leftovers...yes, you can freeze this stuff too! Just make sure that when you do, all the rice is well-stirred and integrated into the sauce. Dry rice (or pasta) does NOT freeze well at all.