This recipe is brought to you by a batch of Valentines cookies.
Last month, on the eve of the school Valentines party, I was way behind on starting dinner and hadn’t even started mixing ingredients for the sugar cookies I had signed up to bring to the 10am party the next morning.
Fortunately, I had already made my homemade, naturally colored sugar sprinkles for decorating.
But who cares about sugar sprinkles – even really pretty, healthy schmealthy, homemade ones – when the cookies haven’t even been made and there’s no dinner on the table??
Not my crew.
I had planned to serve a simple dinner of roasted chicken with brown rice and steamed vegetables that night. Easy enough, right?
It should have been, but the clock was ticking, I now needed the oven for cookies, and the thought of stirring multiple pots and pans for dinner while trying to roll, cut, bake, and decorate dozens of sweet little heart cookies had me about ready to throw in the towel and call my husband for take out.
I took a breather, gave myself a pep talk, and started brainstorming ideas for salvaging my dinner plan.
Then, it occurred to me. I wonder if I could just cook everything in one big pot on the stove??
Healthy Comfort Food
Thankfully, it turned out well – very well, in fact.
This stove top version of chicken and rice is not a fancy recipe by any stretch of the imagination. Quite the opposite actually. It’s comfortable and comforting – reminiscent of classic chicken and rice casseroles, but with wholesome, real food ingredients: brown rice, organic vegetables, organic chicken, fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.
Oh, believe me, I’m all about the occasional fancy dinner (Rosemary and Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin, anyone?), but I also love simple comfort foods like Old Fashioned Beef Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, and this One Pot Chicken and Brown Rice with Vegetables.
Plus, this has got to be one of the easiest meals to cook, ever…which definitely scores it a few bonus points with this mama!
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice (can soak overnight if desired)
- 4 cups homemade chicken broth or stock
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 pound bag frozen mixed vegetables
- 8 oz baby spinach leaves (organic if possible)
- 4 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks (organic and free-range, if possible)
- house seasoning (or salt and pepper) for sprinkling on chicken
- 2 rounded Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (combination of thyme and rosemary pictured)
- 6 Tbsp butter, cut into 6 pieces (pastured, if possible)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (can reduce/omit if desired)
- Pour rice and broth/stock into large Dutch oven. Add garlic powder and sea salt and stir to combine (if using store bought broth, you might want to forego adding the 1 tsp sea salt and instead season with salt to taste at the end of cooking)
- Add frozen vegetables and spinach and give everything a light stir.
- Lay chicken evenly over top of the mixture and season with house seasoning.
- Sprinkle fresh herbs over all, then add butter pieces evenly spaced around the pot.
- Bring to a steady simmer, then cover and simmer another 35-45 minutes or until thoroughly cooked (chicken should read at least 165 degrees internally), and most of liquid is absorbed (some remaining liquid will be absorbed by rice even after the burner is turned off, and will help prevent overcooking).
- The chicken will not brown much so, if you like that golden brown surface, you may want to place the pot under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Just be careful not to overdo it and dry it out!
- Add additional sea salt as needed.
- Serve with fresh grated Parmesan.
Additional Recipe Notes
In addition to the fact that it cooks itself virtually unattended, one of the things I love about this recipe is its versatility. I’ve made it with various herbs, alone and in combination. (Despite the thyme and rosemary combination in the photos, I think the original thyme-only version was actually my favorite).
I also keep thinking this would work great in the oven, though I haven’t tried it yet. If any of you beat me to it, I’d love for you to leave a comment to share how it turned out!
- Rice: 0.46
- Broth/Stock: 0.13 if you use Tiffany’s homemade chicken stock
- Garlic Powder: 0.01
- Salt: 0.01
- Organic Frozen Mixed Veggies: 1.34
- Organic Fresh Baby Spinach: 1.90
- Organic, Free Range Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks (4 lbs total): 12.94
- Fresh Herbs: 0.10 (or free if you grow your own)
- Pastured Butter: 1.75
Total: $18.64 ($3.10 per serving)
To save a little extra money, conventional chicken and vegetables and butter can be used. You could also cut the Parmesan in half and substitute some of the chicken with beans, if large portions of meat aren’t high on your family’s must-have list.
And we almost always have leftover rice and veggies, which I top with shredded Parmesan and eat for lunch for a couple more days (even more savings!)
Ideas from Tiff: You can also shave a bit off the total if you bought a whole chicken and cut it up yourself (here’s how to do it). As the summer approaches, consider using whatever veggies you have from the garden and buy the other items in bulk to stretch those pennies!
The Bottom Line
This hearty, one pot recipe is surprisingly frugal, especially considering the number of organic ingredients used. It’s also incredibly easy to make – virtually no prep and literally just spooning it onto plates and topping with cheese to serve. Plus, if I’m careful, I can serve it two nights in a row and still have rice and veggies left over for the kids and I to eat for lunch.
It’s definitely a winner in my book!