A creamy Mexican chicken and rice dish made in one skillet and packed with delicious flavors.
Okay so confession time. This dish doesn’t quite exactly like these pictures! A couple months ago, I was at my family’s house visiting Grey’s aunts. I say Grey’s aunts, because, let’s be honest, my sisters have far less desire to hang out with me when they can be hanging out with my cute boy ;). While I was there, I raided my parent’s fridge/pantry to come up with a dish very similar to this one for a quick lunch. My sisters, Grey, and I all LOVED it.
So I jotted down a few notes and the next time I made it, I took these pictures. A couple weeks later, I wanted to make it for the husband and for the third run on this recipe, I changed it a bit and it was even better. Flash forward to last night, where it got made AGAIN (can you tell we really like this meal?!) and I believe it to be the best version yet! That said, the photos and recipes are just a little different. They are close enough that I didn’t re-take all the photos in the hopes that I could get you all this recipe quicker (and while you are getting all these yummy summer veggies from your gardens or for good prices at the grocery store). Anyways, if you notice a few very minor differences from the pictures and recipes, that is why 🙂
So first off, this dish starts with cooking some chicken that has been coated in taco seasoning. First off this could be a meal on it’s own – so, so good! After the chicken is cooked, you add in some cream cheese. At first it looks a little greasy and weird, but keep stirring and cooking it until the cream cheese is nice and melty with the chicken.
Then you transfer that chicken + cream cheese mixture to a plate while the rest of the dish gets cooked in the same skillet. I found removing the chicken + cream cheese here keeps the chicken ultra tender as opposed to getting less tender or even overcooked if it cooks with the rice. (Unlike that picture below where the chicken stayed in the skillet.)
Next up, the “spicy” rice gets cooked in the skillet. I say spicy, because it does have a little bit of a kick, but that kick is totally controllable. For the times I’ve made this for the babe to eat, I use mild salsa + mild taco sauce.(If you are super, super sensitive to heat replace the taco sauce with extra salsa) If you are looking for more of a spicy kick, use your favorite salsa or taco sauce — you can go from medium to hot. You could also even add in some chopped green chilies or jalapeños if you LOVE the heat.
Now the rice does take some time to cook so if you are looking for an even quicker meal, you could try minute rice (or healthier: brown minute rice). I’m not super familiar with minute rice so you may have to adjust the liquid (chicken broth) a bit to accommodate.
During the last bit of the rice cooking, add in some black beans + corn. Once those are heated through and the rice is done cooking, you add back in the creamy chicken mixture. Mix that in really well to get the cream cheese throughout the whole dish.
Then it’s just a matter of topping with whatever you want. I’ve decided the best toppings are chopped cilantro and a mashed avocado. Mash a cold avocado right on this hot dish and it is UNREAL. I’m usually someone that has to have sour cream with Mexican chicken + quinoa/rice dishes, but the avocado is perfection. Some other options depending on your preference: a chopped tomato, chopped sweet peppers (these originally were put in where the corn was, but I like the corn better), green onions, and whatever else you can think of that would be good on this! Maybe even some chopped up and roasted zucchini? So many things go well with these flavors!
- 2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces full-fat cream cheese
- 1 cup white rice uncooked
- 1/2 cup salsa I used mild
- 1/2 cup taco sauce I used mild
- 1 and 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 can black beans rinsed
- 1 can corn
- 1 large avocado
- Other optional additions: green onions or cilantro, chopped tomato, chopped sweet peppers, jalapeños, chopped green chilies, fresh lime
Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces removing any fat. Rub 2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning (do this to personal preference - I like about 2 and 1/2 tablespoons but you may like less or more) into the chicken pieces.
In a large NONSTICK (must be nonstick for the rice to cook without sticking) skillet, add the oil. Cook the chicken pieces in the oil over medium heat until most of the way cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
Cube the room temperature cream cheese and then place on top of the chicken. Stir around (it may look greasy and weird for a bit, just keep stirring until the cream cheese is smooth)
Once the chicken is all the way cooked through and the cream cheese is nice and melted with the chicken, transfer this to a plate or bowl.
In the empty skillet, add the rice and stir for about 1 minute over medium heat with no liquid.
Add in the salsa (use mild or hot whatever you prefer), taco sauce (mild or hot whatever you prefer), and chicken broth.
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low or medium low (if you stovetop runs cooler) and cover with the lid.
Simmer over low/medium-low heat, stirring occasionally (so the rice doesn't stick) until the rice is tender.
If the dish is absorbing liquid faster than the rice is cooking, add a bit more chicken broth. Alternatively, if the liquid doesn't seem to be absorbing or the rice cooking, you will likely need to increase the temperature of your burner slightly. It should take about 15-20 minutes to be cooked.
After about 12-15 minutes of the rice cooking, add in the drained and rinsed cans of black beans + corn.
Once the rice is completely tender, add back in the chicken + cream cheese mixture. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
Mash or chop a ripe avocado.
Place the chopped or mashed avocado on top of individual servings and top each plate with desired toppings such as green onions or cilantro (or both), a chopped tomato, some chopped bell peppers, a squeeze of fresh lime, etc. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
The heat or spiciness of this dish is largely determined by the salsa and taco sauce you use. Use mild varieties of both if sensitive to heat. If you love heat/spice, use hotter versions and even add in some chopped green chilies or chopped jalapeños to this dish.
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