Today’s Mexican Chicken and Rice is the latest recipe installment of my personal “Clean Out the Pantry” miniseries.
It’s also the latest installment of “I’m in my sweatpants and going to the store sounds like a lot of effort, so let’s see if I can avoid it.” This is the attitude that also inspired me to recreate the popular Chipotle Bowl.
Better use of on-hand ingredients. No need to put on real clothes. Win-win.
Now, before you get the wrong idea about me: I definitely go to the store in sweatpants.
Avoiding the store run, however, means that I can spend that 15 minutes scrolling through Instagram/cuddling with my dog/watching a rerun of The Pioneer Woman/enjoying some Crockpot Mexican Chicken. I think you can see the benefits here.
Why I Love This Mexican Chicken and Rice
In addition to not wanting to fight inertia to go to the store (an object at rest will stay at rest, thank you science), my challenge to myself to create meals from the ingredients I already have, instead of automatically buying new ones, came about a few weeks ago when I realized how many unused items were piling up on my shelves, as well as on my grocery bill.
Today’s Mexican chicken and rice cooks in a single pan and makes use of easy, inexpensive items that you’ll almost always find in my pantry. I suspect you may have many of these in yours too: canned black beans, canned diced tomatoes, and brown rice.
I supplemented with a few fresh veggies that were threatening to spoil (jalapeno, bell pepper, and yellow onion) and quickly thawed some chicken breasts from the freezer to give the recipe extra bulk.
If you’d like to keep the recipe vegetarian or simply don’t feel like running to the store for chicken, feel free to use an extra can of beans (any kind) in the chicken’s place, or try this Mexican Salad recipe.
Finally, what really brings the recipe to life are the spices: chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano.
If you don’t already have these in your pantry and have a taste for Tex-Mex, I highly encourage you to pick them up. Having a good stock of spices will allow you to add flavor to any meal, whether you bought the ingredients fresh that day or, like me, went on a scavenger hunt through your pantry.
What to Serve with Mexican Chicken and Rice
- Cornbread. This Mexican Cornbread would be a delicious side dish.
- Veggies. Add more vegetables to your meal by serving this dish with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts.
- Margarita. Pair it with a Skinny Margarita, and call it complete!
More One Pan Recipes
- Healthy Beef Taco Skillet
- Chicken Enchilada Skillet
- Chicken Stroganoff
- Cabbage and Sausage Skillet
- Chicken and Tomatoes
Mexican Chicken and Rice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 small jalapenos or 1 large jalapeno, core and seeds discarded, diced
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can black beans (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
- 1 cup long or medium-grain brown rice do not use short grain or instant, as it will become mushy
- 1 can diced tomatoes in their juices (15 ounces)
- 3 medium green onions chopped
- Optional for serving: chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges, additional sliced jalapeno, shredded cheese, diced avocado, prepared salsa, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium to high heat. Once hot and shimmering, swirl to coat the pan, then add the chicken, onion, jalapeno, and red bell pepper. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is browned and the onion is beginning to soften. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat the chicken and cook 30 seconds. Add the black beans and rice. Stir to coat once more.
- Add the diced tomatoes in their juices and 1 1/2 cups water. Stir to combine the ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, then reduce the heat and let simmer 30 minutes. Remove the lid and stir, scraping up any rice that has started to stick to the bottom of the pot. Re-cover and continue to let simmer with the lid on until the rice is tender, 10 to 20 additional minutes, stirring the pot every 10 minutes or so to prevent sticking. If the rice begins to dry out, add a bit more liquid.
- Stir in the green onions. Serve warm with any other desired toppings.
- If white rice or another type of rice is substituted, the cooking time will vary. Consult the package for guidance.
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