Friday, November 7, 2014

Chicken Thighs and Brown Rice

Here's a very easy crock-pot recipe that makes the most delicious chicken and rice. I'm not usually a fan of dark meat, but these chicken thighs are really good and even this die-hard chicken-breast-only girl will eat them readily. My little ones love this meal too. With the whole grain brown rice, it's a fairly healthy choice for supper. It's also a pretty inexpensive meal, so it's win-win for everyone.




4-6 chicken thighs (with skin on)
2 cups brown rice
4-1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, divided
Lemon pepper
Rosemary
Sage
Thyme
Black pepper
Salt

Pour the water into the crockpot and add the rice and about a tablespoon of butter. Add rosemary, thyme, sage, and salt. I use about 3/4 teaspoon rosemary, 1/8 teaspoon each of thyme and sage, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. I never measure it, but that's approximately how much to use. Stir the water and rice well to make sure each rice grain gets wet on all sides. If you have a lump of dry rice at the bottom, it makes it stick together in a big lump as it cooks.



Melt the remaining butter. Add lemon pepper, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Again, I never measure, but it's approximately 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon each of thyme, sage and pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix the seasonings with the melted butter.

Tip: I use the same seasoning blend for several of my chicken recipes, so I usually just mix up a big bunch of it and keep it in an empty seasoning bottle. It makes it so much easier to season up chicken in a hurry, whether that's this recipe or my butter baked chicken, roast chicken, or even lemon pepper chicken strips.

Now it's time to get out the chicken.

Tip: I buy chicken thighs in the big packages when they go on sale and freeze them in freezer bags with 4-6 thighs per bag. Then, when I want to make this recipe for dinner, I just pull out one bag from the freezer and thaw it in warm water in the sink for an hour or two. If you've ever tried thawing chicken that was frozen in the original packaging, it's a pain! This is so much easier.

Loosen the skin from the chicken thighs, but don't remove it. Coat the surface of the meat with the butter and spices.



I usually put a little bit of the butter and spices on the underside of the thighs too. Put the skin back over the top of the thighs and try to cover as much of the meat as you can. There's usually a long flap of skin that I wrap under the thigh also. Place the thighs on top of the rice in the crockpot.



Put the lid on the crockpot and turn it on high for 5 hours or until the chicken is tender and the water is absorbed by the rice. That's it! You don't even have to stir it during cooking.



To serve, take the chicken thighs out and place them on a warmed plate or platter. Then stir the rice in the crockpot to mix in all the seasonings and juices.



You can serve the chicken and rice as separate items or de-bone the chicken, cut it up, and stir it into the rice for a dish that's more like a casserole.

Serve with a vegetable dish of your choice. I recommend green peas. Other good choices are squash, carrots, green beans, or a green bean casserole. Enjoy!



6 comments:

  1. What do you think about ethical vegetarianism?
    Should we kill sentient beings unnecessarily?

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    Replies
    1. That's a little off-topic for a recipe post, but I'll answer it.

      In the Christian worldview, God gave animals to mankind, along with permission to kill and eat them after Noah's flood. I think God knew that, in an imperfect and degrading world, humans would need the nutrition that animal meat would provide.

      Of course, God has also called humans to be good stewards of the planet and its creatures, and the Bible also condemns unnecessary cruelty to animals. Yet we do have a right to kill and eat to sustain our bodies. Thus, eating meat is not wrong.

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    2. Thank you for the reply!
      I admit that it is off topic but i wanted to know what you think about this and I didn't know where would be appropriate(why not on a recipe that has meat in it?).


      As a Christian myself, i agree with your second paragraph entirely. What I would argue is that we no longer need the nutrition meat provides. We once did but now, modern agriculture and technology have allowed most of us to be perfectly healthy on an animal-free diet(maybe even healthier). This is the general scientific consensus.

      So, if we no longer need the nutrition meat provides, i think it is morally wrong to kill sentient beings for consumption. For why would we do so if not to survive? Today, I see no other reason we have for eating meat than fleshly pleasure, tradition or convenience.


      So yes, let us be good stewards of the planet and its creatures and eat to honor God(I Corinthians 10:31 ) by not killing sentient beings unnecessarily in the process!

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    3. Being really healthy on an animal-free diet is still very difficult to achieve and often pretty expensive as well. It is even worse for pregnant women and children than it is for others. Humans generally need the cholesterol and complete proteins that animal products provide. Although it is possible to get adequate essential nutrients from a very careful vegetarian diet, it is not easy and requires a lot of knowledge to do it right. Thus, I think it is a justifiable use of resources to eat meat, considering that it is still the best and most accessible way of getting a balanced diet for most people.

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    4. Ok, I appreciate the interaction. I would like to share some resources that may be of your interest.

      I think you are overstating the difficulty of thriving on a meatless diet. The American Dietetic Association states that a well planned vegetarian and even vegan diet is adequate to all stages of human life including pregnancy and infancy(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864).
      This article reviews the benefits and avoidable shortcomings of a plant based diet during gestation(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26374180).

      While you are right that humans need protein and cholesterol, you are wrong that we need to consume animal products to obtain them. Cholesterol is not an essential nutrient in that our bodies can produce all the cholesterol we need independently of our diet. As far as protein is concerned, some plants do contain all the essencial amino acids(quinoa, spinach) just as meat does. However, the combination of different grains(rice/peas; rice/beans) can also provide the full essential amino acids. It is not difficult to obtain enough protein on a vegetarian diet.(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4081456/figure/F1/)

      I would probably agree that a meatless diet can be pretty expensive, however, some studies shows the opposite(http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/10/12/vegetarian-diet-savings).

      I think you also overstate the amount of knowledge required be healthy without meat. Here is a good general guide: http://veganfaq.net/nutrition.html
      Besides, just as someone who wants to be healthy generally will try to consult with and follow the advices of nutritional experts, vegetarians can too.

      On a personal note, I can say that like any major lifestyle change, it can be challenging. But it is mostly so in the beggining. I didn't have a planned diet at the time I became a vegetarian and sometimes I would miss eating meat. But after a while, I actually couldn't imagine eating meat again, even if I was convinced it wasn't immoral.

      But even if you were right that it is very difficult and expensive, I think that God has called us all to do things that are difficult when striving to be moral. Sometimes it is easy to get detached from the consequences of our daily actions and think of meat as just another resource, a substance available in the market to buy. I think it is useful to try to grasp the scale of the consequences of meat eating: http://www.adaptt.org/killcounter.html

      Given all of this, it is refreshing to think about God's Peaceful Kingdom described in Isaiah 11, in which "the lion will eat straw like the ox" and there will be no animal killing.
      Thus, I think we Christians should mean it and do our best when we pray “Thy kingdom come”.

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