One of the hardest parts about going back to work after a second child (besides, of course, the inevitable difficulty of leaving your children for so long each day) is the evening routine. It’s HARD. Ours is compounded by the fact that our kids are at two different daycares/schools, so pick up takes even more time. If Tom gets both kids, I start dinner and then he finishes it up while I feed Ian. If we each pick up a kid, then I feed Ian, Tom starts dinner, and I finish it. Then there’s the whole eating thing, trying to get some time with the kids, and bedtime routines. I really have no idea how single parents do it. Hell, I don’t know how parents of more than 2 do it, either. As soon as the kids start outnumbering the parents, things must get exponentially more difficult.
At any rate, you can see why it’s important to have quick and easy meals during the week. Tom is pretty good about starting or finishing dinner but things have to be laid out really clearly. I mean, this is the guy who mistakenly used a cup of baking powder in cupcakes instead of a teaspoon and who last week mixed cornmeal instead of cornstarch into an Asian sauce. This meal is pretty easy and straightforward, though. Rice is par-cooked in the microwave to make sure the chicken doesn’t get dried out as the rice finishes cooking in the skillet. The chicken and rice are quickly finished off in one pan, leaving you about 10 minutes to play trains, make silly faces, or do dishes. Then, you stir in tomatoes and lime, making this bright and summery.
When I made this, sweet corn wasn’t really at its prime yet so I used frozen/thawed corn, which worked just fine (and obviously cut my time a little bit too). I ended up just using 3 chicken breasts since that’s what we had, but I kept everything else the same. Mmm, extra carbs. I’d imagine brown rice would work here too, but would probably require more liquid and a longer time in the microwave to par-cook. I plan on trying that next time. I’m all about the one-pan meal these days.
Skillet Chicken and Rice with Corn and Tomatoes
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth, divided
Salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
8 scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
3 ears corn, kernels removed from cobs or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered or 1 pine grape tomatoes, halved
1 tsp. grated lime zest plus 1 Tbsp. juice
Combine rice, 1 cup broth, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave until liquid is absorbed, 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder to taste. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side; transfer to plate.
Heat remaining oil in empty skillet. Cook scallion whites and corn until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir rice and remaining broth into skillet and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, nestle chicken into rice, and cook, covered, until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter. Stir tomatoes, lime zest, and lime juice into skillet with rice and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in scallion greens and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chicken.
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