I make no secret of the fact that I have control issues in the kitchen. Stories of couples sashaying around the stove every night, sauteing a hot meal together in perfect harmony, could not be further from what’s happening at my house.
Rather than Honey dearest, your knife skills are indubitably the best I’ve seen! it’s more like, Babe, stop opening the oven door. Can you move over? There’s crumbs all over the floor!
A tiny kitchen doesn’t help matters, so we generally cook solo, chatting over the rail of our split-level kitchen and living room. That way he doesn’t have to gawk at the epic mess I inevitably end up making of the place (he’s a clean as he goes kind of cook) and I don’t have to hyperventilate over the way he’s handling chicken.
Seriously…I can’t even.
Anyways, sometimes it’s more fun to stay out of the way, especially in my case, because Ben truly is an awesome chef and loves throwing random ingredients from the fridge and pantry together to create unique, one-of-kind dishes to surprise me with for dinner on occasion. One of his latest creations was so tasty – yet crazy easy – that I just had to re-make and share with you: Chicken, Bacon & Rice Bowls.
Chewy rice cooked in chicken broth, is topped with chicken sauteed with garlic & spinach, then sprinkled with crispy bacon, for a meal that’s quick to prepare, hearty, and seriously, so. damn. good.
It is so like him to take such ordinary ingredients, and turn them into something extraordinary. I mean – Chicken, Bacon & Rice Bowls? It sounds so simple, but, why didn’t I think of that?!
I love that all the ingredients in here are fridge, pantry, and freezer staples, and that the dish is totally customizable. Use white or brown rice, or a rice medley. Choose chicken breasts or tenders. Add in spinach, broccoli, or kale. Whatever you do, and I think Ben and I both agree, don’t skip the bacon!
Start the Chicken, Bacon & Rice Bowls with zee bacon! Oh yes.
Lay cold strips of bacon on a non-stick sprayed cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet then pop it in a cold oven, turn the heat to 400 degrees, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. This gradual-heat baking method renders out a TON of fat, which leaves the bacon super crispy. Drool. Drool, drool.
Next, consult your arsenal of rice. What you don’t have a rice arsenal? For some reason Ben and I love to buy different types and blends of rice to try each time we need it for a recipe, which means we have about 20 half-empty bags and jars of rice sitting in our pantry at any given moment.
Ben used Trader Joe’s Basmati Medley, a blend of basmati and wild rice with dried herbs and vegetables in the mix, which gives the dish even more flavor, when he made these bowls for us last week. You can use whatever you’ve got on hand though!
(BTW, please take note of the way he “sealed” the bag after using it. A ribbon?! Where did he find such a thing, and what inspired him to tie it around the bag to close it? BAHAHA!)
Anyways, the rice takes the same amount of time to cook as the bacon, so after popping it into the oven, boil 1-1/2 cups chicken broth in a saucepan then add 3/4 cups rice, pop a lid on top, and cook for 15-20 minutes. I have ill-fitting lid issues, so I secured a rolled up kitchen towel around the outside of the pot with a chip clip. Super jank, but it works. (Just don’t let the towel touch the burner!)
K! When the bacon and rice have 10 minutes left, saute 2 chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt & pepper, in 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The extra virgin olive oil keeps the chicken nice and juicy.
When the chicken’s cooked all the way through, add 4 cups baby spinach and 2 minced garlic cloves to the skillet, along with a bit more salt & pepper, then toss with a pair of tongs until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Like I said, you could use any type of veggie you have on hand. This is a clean out the fridge kinda meal!
Divide the cooked rice and chicken between two bowls, then top with the cooked and crumbled bacon. Bon appetit, from Ben!
Chicken, Bacon & Rice Bowls
3 or 4 slices bacon
3/4 cup rice (brown, white, blend – whatever you have on hand)
1-1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 small chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups baby spinach (or 2 cups any other vegetable)
- Lay bacon strips on a non-stick sprayed cooling rack placed over a foil-lined baking sheet. Place into oven, turn heat to 400 degrees, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. Let cool slightly then chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan then add rice. Place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, then cook until broth is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes (or according to package directions.)
- When bacon/rice have 10 minutes left, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt & pepper then add to the skillet and cook until no longer pink in the center. Add garlic and baby spinach, season with a bit more salt & pepper, then toss with tongs and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Divide cooked rice between two bowls, top with chicken and spinach mixture, then crumble chopped bacon on top.
This was a perfect meal for us. Carbs, veg, protein, and a little bit of decadence. We mmm’d our way through the entire thing!
Ben and I both hope you enjoy!
Do you and your mate like to cook together?