Ben’s Chicken, Bacon & Rice Bowls

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Ben’s Chicken, Bacon & Rice Bowls is a quick and easy dinner idea from my husband Ben!

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!

I know.

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

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Print this recipe!

Serves 2

Ingredients:
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)

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

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Comments

  1. Laura V 11.01.2012

    We like to eat what I cook together – I also have control issues in the kitchen. I usually just ask him to keep me company and tell me funny stories while I’m cooking!

  2. Lindsey 11.01.2012

    Looks fabulous! I am the only cook in our house… sigh. It would be nice to have a day off. :)

  3. Jeri Wendzel 11.01.2012

    I would love to have my husband cook, but inevitably he can’t find something or doesn’t know how to do something so I MUST do it myself. It’s better when I come home to something already prepared.

  4. Lauren 11.01.2012

    Okay, you are one lucky lady with all of these men in your life being great chefs. First your brother and now Ben. Ah, I’m so jealous!
    And PS- Did Ben do the plating of this too? Wow, kudos! He may have a career in this food blogging thing. ;)

  5. My husband and I do not share the cooking duties. My love for cooking coupled with his intimidation of the kitchen mean that I cook almost every night. I keep trying to teach him how to cook but he rejects the information. Once in awhile if I’m sick or really busy he’ll cook something, which I always appreciate!
    I love simple recipes like this! Any kind of rice bowl is a safe thing to make when you’re short on time. Last night I made burrito bowls with just brown rice, black beans, avocado, and salsa and they were so tasty. I also love spending a lot of time in the kitchen making intricate dishes, but I love how satisfying simple dishes are, especially during the week!

  6. gina s 11.01.2012

    this is one I think even my little guy will love! thanks!

  7. Lilli 11.01.2012

    We rarely cook together we have a tiny kitchen so that’s the main reason. My husband is also not a chef and was not raised by anyone that could cook anything outside of the microwave etc so he just doesn’t get it. He will give me a hand when I need one and is always good to stir, open jars, and take things out of the oven though :)

  8. Umm how simple and easy is this! Love it! This is the kind of meal my BF would prepare too. He doesn’t know how to make fancy sauces or pair strange new tastes together…he just goes with what he knows!

    So needless to say, I do most of the cooking for us! But he makes good scrambled eggs and sandwiches, and usually doesn’t need me hovering over his shoulder giving directions for those :)

  9. Amanda 11.01.2012

    Mmmm I want it. Wouldn’t have come up with it myself, but looks good!

    My boyfriend and I have different cooking styles, so it’s difficult to cook together. He’s very fly by his seat, doing random things that usually turn out well. But I’m very exact, following recipes or things I know work.

    We’ve found that if we split up the dinner, say I do the sides and he does the meat, it turns out to be the best meals!

  10. He did a great job, it looks delish! My husband and I are the way in our tiny kitchen!

  11. julia 11.01.2012

    that looks super delish and so easy! my bf cooks usually cooks the same way – just throws together a bunch of his fave stuff (bacon, cheese) or whatever is on hand and it turns out great! he’s also started making more complicated meals from recipes (ie, braised lamb shanks) and gets really excited about it, its so cute!

    xo julesinflats.com

  12. Way to go Ben! I’m impressed! I really enjoy cooking with my significant other, although I have to admit to being a bit of a control freak in the kitchen too. And I’m also ridiculously messy! But I’ve always believed that there’s a direct correlation between the size of the mess made and the deliciousness of the meal. ;)

  13. Trisha 11.01.2012

    Ugh, men in the kitchen… Do you ever feel like they pick the very moment you need ALL OF THE SPACE to just be there… Waiting for dinner… Or something? The funny thing is, when he does cook, he does a great job but I have to stay far, far away while he does his thing!

  14. terri 11.01.2012

    I’m lucky. My husband does all the grocery shopping and cooking. I could cook, I suppose, but I really don’t like to, and he does. He’s a great cook!

  15. Go Ben!

  16. Sarah 11.01.2012

    I was controlling in the kitchen, until I realized how good he was at chopping vegetables and doing dishes. :)

  17. Jane 11.01.2012

    Haha, I wouldn’t be able to do the kitchen towel around the pot trick, since I have a gas stove! I cook all the food in our house unless its a sandwich :)

  18. Lindsay 11.01.2012

    I’m SO glad to hear that not all couples are harmonious in the kitchen.

    My boyfriend and I rarely cook a whole meal together, mainly because I too have control issues, but he is very sweet and always offers to help. He’s become quite the expert at chopping onions and mincing garlic, two cooking “chores” I am always more than happy to delegate.

    I also have to give him credit for making perfect hard boiled eggs. I’ve tried so many times to duplicate his technique, but mine are never quite right.

  19. My hubby and I don’t work well in the kitchen together either….we try once in a while, though :) These rice bowls look amazing! Love the addition of bacon

  20. Theresa 11.01.2012

    We LOVE to cook together, but typically only have time to do so on weekends. …And there is usually wine involved. We can BOTH be type A about things. I am totally a “close the oven!” kind of chef and he is totally a “put that bowl in the dishwasher!” kind of chef. I hear you. Try it with a glass – okay, maybe TWO glasses – of wine. It really clears up that whole type A cook thing right away ;)

  21. Cher @ Weddicted 11.02.2012

    LOL. We cannot cook together. I can’t handle my husband in the kitchen. He almost always asks, “want any help?” He KNOWS the answer will be no and that I just appreciate him asking. Win, win ;)

  22. this looks and sounds amazing. Definitely bookmarking to make with my fiance!

  23. Andrea 11.02.2012

    Wow looks great! My fiance also has a gift for throwing random things together and making them delicious.

    We hardly ever cook together during the week though mostly because I work til 7:30 and he gets home at 4 every day (lucky guy!). I usually make something big on Sunday that we can eat for a few days and he’ll cook something midweek. We def have different cooking styles too. I’m more healthy and he’s more…meat, potatoes and extra cheese haha!

  24. Erin 11.02.2012

    oh my goodness. with this recipe, you described the thought process that goes into every meal my husband cooks. plus the crumbled bacon, which he discovered last month. he now thinks he’s a genius. :)

  25. Ha! My husband and I are the same way. We both love to cook, but we do not love to cook together! Luckily, we take turns in the kitchen so nobody gets hurt.

  26. Erin 11.02.2012

    This looks so good and easy! Things have been s busy lately it seems that this seems like a great on the go meal and I love that you can pair it with anything you want in the bowl! Thanks for sharing…I’ll definitely be trying it out next week!
    xoxo
    Erin
    Readeatcreare.com

  27. Jess 11.02.2012

    Looks delicious!

  28. […] Food: Chicken Bacon and Rice Bowl from my favorite food […]

  29. WTG, Ben! Great looking recipe and very simple! :)

  30. Tricia 11.02.2012

    Looks amazing cant wait to try it. The rice, can that be bought somewhere else besides trader joes? We dont have that here in Denver.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.03.2012

      I think it might be special to Trader Joe’s. You could jazz up plain rice with a little salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, and onion powder though!

      • Tricia 11.05.2012

        I will try that thanks!!!

  31. Kirsten 11.02.2012

    We do, but he’s not very experienced at cooking, so it tends to involve me giving him tasks or showing him how to do things. He’s very cute when he tries to cook for me, though- usually something goes slightly wrong, but not enough to ruin the food. The effort is very sweet.

  32. ae 11.02.2012

    My bf is an awesome cook! His specialty is breakfast/brunch and I handle the rest. I made this tonight and it was so yummy. I didn’t want to waste all that delicious bacon grease [can’t admit this with a straight face], so I used it in my rice in place of the butter I sometimes add and used it instead of olive oil for the chicken. Everything tastes so GOOD with a depth of flavor that isn’t bacon-y but still delicious. So simple. Yay Ben!

  33. Rachel 11.02.2012

    Ha-I blogged about the one time I gave up complete control of the kitchen to my husband. I like to cook, so I do it most often, and he just stays out of my way. :) That, and he doesn’t know where anything is, he does things differently than I would, so it makes me a little crazy.

  34. Sandi 11.03.2012

    This would be delicious with big shrimp too, and they defrost under running water in about 3 minutes.

  35. Nan 11.03.2012

    I love to cook and he loves to clean. It’s perfect because no matter how many pans/bowls/utensils I use, he happily washes them all and even polishes the faucet after dinner!

  36. Suus 11.05.2012

    That looks delicious!!

  37. DrRandy 11.05.2012

    We both cook, but we both have control issues in the kitchen. So we cook for each other, but rarely cook side-by-side.

  38. Emily 11.11.2012

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was so good! I love the simplicity of it- it is something that ill have to make again for a quick and and delicious weeknight meal!

    I wish my boyfriend knew how to cook! He can make eggs, bacon, sandwiches, and grilled cheese- although he had to look up a video on YouTube for instructions on making it hahaha.

  39. […] Dinner. In less than 30 minutes. And it contains bacon. Can’t ask for much more than that. See the full recipe at Iowa Girl Eats. […]

  40. nicky 11.25.2012

    Made it tonight! We loved it, thanks!!!

  41. nicky 11.25.2012

    Made it tonight! Put a little more bacon on it, per request to hubby! We loved it, thanks!!!

  42. Jane 02.11.2013

    This was delicious!!!!

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