This recipe for chicken, cauliflower, and rice bake just may be the comfort food that you have been craving. Sometimes you just might be in the mood for comfort food. Warm, filling, comfort food. But often those foods that qualify under the comfort food umbrella aren't the most diet friendly foods you can find. Think, potatoes, cheese, creamy and starchy foods. Usually, they are comforting for a reason. They provide satiety, and they are quick to do it. But that isn't necessarily always great for your waistline.
This recipe is one of those recipes that falls under the umbrella of comfort food but is tweaked to be low in calories and fat and high on flavor. Brown rice is used in place of white rice which does wonderful things for the fiber and nutritional content of the dish. Lean, boneless skinless chicken breast keeps the fat and calories low, and the sauce, doesn't come out of a can, but it homemade with all natural ingredients.
It is one of our favorite recipes for sneaking lots of healthy vegetables into a picky eaters diet as well. The cauliflower, when cooked nice and tender, and mixed with tender rice and a creamy sauce, almost blends right in with the rice and is barely noticeable. We love to sit back and watch the kiddos devour this dish, barely knowing just how many healthy servings of vegetables they are eating.
- 1 cup Brown Rice
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- To begin with, prepare the brown rice as it will take a while to cook. Place the brown rice along with 2 cups of water in a medium sized saucepan. Increase the heat to high and bring the rice to a boil.
- Once the rice is boiling, reduce the heat to medium, just to allow the rice to simmer. The rice will need to cook for about 40-45 minutes, so begin preparing the rest of the dish after you have begun cooking the rice. Keep an eye on the rice to make sure that it does not loose too much water and begin burning. Add a bit more water if needed.
- Next, prepare the chicken. Trim away any visible fat or skin from the chicken breast. Then slice the chicken on a cutting board into 1 inch cubes. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic to the pan, and cook for one minute. Then add the cubed chicken to the skillet, and cook the chicken for about four to five minutes, stirring the chicken occasionally until the cubes are cooked and there is no longer any pink in the middle of any of the chicken.
- Remove the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set it aside in a bowl until you are ready to use it.
- Next, add the cauliflower to the same pan the chicken was cooking in. The leftover flavors will help to season and flavor the cauliflower. Toss the cauliflower around occasionally as it is cooking until the cauliflower becomes tender. Remove the cauliflower from the heat and set it aside until you are ready to use it.
- Next prepare the sauce. You will also, at this point, want to make sure that you have preheated your oven to 375 F as the dish will soon be ready to go into the oven.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium to medium high heat Do not allow the butter to boil. Once the butter is melted, add the flour to the pan and stir the mixture with a wire whisk while it cooks for one minute.
- After one minute, pour in the chicken broth and the milk, and continue to stir the mixture together with the wire whisk. Continue to heat the mixture over medium-high heat while stirring until it reaches a slow boil. Continue to cook for one minute while stirring, and then remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in the salt, the ground black pepper, and the 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, and stir the sauce until the cheese in melted.
- In a large mixing bowl, dump in the cooked rice, the cooked chicken, the cooked cauliflower, and the sauce. Gently stir the mixture together. Then, coat a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the chicken and rice mixture into the pan, and use a spoon to even out the mixture in the pan. Then sprinkle the wheat germ and the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheese on the dish.
- Place the dish in the oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the entire dish is cooked and heated through. Remove the dish from the oven, and allow it to cool for five minutes. Then serve the chicken, cauliflower, and rice casserole while it is still warm.
Per Serving Calories 335, Carbs 26gm, Pro 24gm, Fat 14gm, Dietary Fiber 2gm,
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||16 g|
|Saturated Fat||7 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||6 g|
|Dietary Fiber||2 g|