Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice

As a kid, I remember my grandfather eating baked beans and hot dogs together fairly often. I’m not sure if that’s where my love of baked beans started, but to this day, they’re pretty much the only kind of beans I eat – a grilled hot dog with baked beans on the side is one of my favorite quick summer meals! I’ve tried repeatedly to like other types of beans, but truthfully, I still turn my nose up at most of them.

So, not surprisingly, when I put this Tex-Mex chicken and rice on our menu, the original plan was to skip the black beans it called for. Shane doesn’t eat beans either so I figured, why bother? At the last minute, I changed my mind and threw a can of black beans in my cart at the grocery store. I figured maybe mixed in with the rice, chicken and other goodness here, the beans would be tolerable, not only to me but also to Shane. Sometimes if I combine a food he doesn’t like with enough other ones he does, he’ll overlook it…

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice

That didn’t exactly pan out as planned. He spent 15 minutes picking every single last bean from his plate. I ate mine though, and dare I say, I didn’t mind them one bit here! And I seriously love Fritos, so any excuse to eat them as part of a meal is a-ok in my book. There is a little bit of heat in this dish but it’s not overwhelming, even for a spice wimp like me. I am obsessed with quick and easy, one skillet dinners lately and this one falls squarely in that category. There’s a good chance it’ll be on our menu again soon, though it’s safe to say I’ll probably just stir some beans into my portion :)

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice
adapted from Cook’s Country, April/May 2011

{Note: this recipe originally called for 1 1/2 lb of chicken, but I thought the ratio of chicken to rice was way too high so I reduced it to 1 lb.}

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (10-oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups Fritos, crushed
1 cup shredded cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Place an oven rack about 6 inches from your broiler and preheat the broiler.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup of the chicken broth, the rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 6-8 minute, or until the broth has been absorbed (all microwaves are different, your cooking time may vary).

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Add the oil to a large ovensafe skillet and set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes total (you’re not trying to cook it through here). Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth, the rice, the tomatoes, and the black beans to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Nestle the chicken and any accumulated juices in the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook for about 12-14 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and tent with foil (keep the rice mixture in the pan covered). Rest for 5 minutes then cut into 1/2-inch pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the Fritos, cheese and parsley. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back into the pan, stirring to incorporate. Sprinkle the Frito mixture over the top and broil for just a minute or two, until the cheese is melted and the Fritos are golden brown.