The next few weeks you will see a number of easy to prepare and freeze foods on the blog because my husband and I are expecting a very special delivery. Our first child is due this month so as the date gets closer I have been preparing some freezer meals to make dinner time easy once baby arrives. These meals aren't just great for soon to be parents though. These time savers can make sure your family, regardless it's size, has great homemade food any night of the week no matter how busy your schedules may get. So roll up those sleeves and get ready to cook. One day in the kitchen can mean a freezer full of easy to prepare treats!
My first freezer meal is an exotic twist on an old favorite. Look in any casserole book and you will find a chicken and rice bake. These are great and always good but I didn't want a freezer full of foods that all taste the same (think chicken pot pie, roast chicken, chicken noodle soup...). So when I got to this I decided some Asian flair was just the thing. So here is my recipe for a chicken and rice casserole Thai style.
Terrific Thai Chicken and Rice Casserole
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts poached and diced
1 large onion diced
1 red bell pepper
2 tbsp garlic minced
3 cups cooked rice
1 package of frozen vegetables (stir fry style)
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp lemongrass powder
1 tsp ginger
1 tbsp parsley
1-2 tsp corriander
1 tsp garam massala
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne
8-24 oz chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Poach the chicken breasts by placing them in pan and just covering them with water then bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes then remove from the heat and cover. Allow chicken to rest for 15-20 minutes or until completely cooked through. Drain the chicken, allow it too cool and dice into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Prepare your rice according to package directions removing it from the heat just a few minutes before it is completely done.
Dice your onion and add it to a pan with some butter. Saute over medium low heat until softened, add the red pepper, continue to saute until onions are clear and pepper is tender but not mushy. Add your spices and minced garlic. Next add in your coconut milk and chicken stock. I used a coconut paste when making this dish so you may need less stock to get a good gravy. Taste as you go and adjust as necessary. You will want the sauce to be creamy and fragrant but not too thick and remember that the rice will soak it up so don't skimp on the liquid unless it affects the taste too much. Bring the mixture to a boil and, stirring regularly, allow to reduce until it reaches your desired consistency (about 3-5 minutes).
In the pan you will be freezing this dish in combine the rice and frozen mixed vegetables, mix well. When sauce is complete remove from the heat and pour over rice and vegetable mixture. Mix thoroughly and smooth out in pan. Now you are ready to freeze or bake as you choose.If you are preparing this from frozen place, covered, in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes or until heated through. If baking it fresh you should be able to cut the temperature to 350 for 30-45 minutes but keep a cover on it or your rice will get crunchy. Enjoy!