Mondays. Ugh, Mondays.
Like an itch you just can’t shake, Mondays always hang over you. You know they’re coming, you know they’ll never go away, and yet every week by Friday you forget their existence. And then BAM! Sunday night rolls around and Monday is coming for you.
I slept horribly last night, waking up almost every hour thinking it was time for me to get ready. Mondays are a special beast in the newsroom, because weekends usually offer little to no news, so you have to scrape by with the bare minimum for the first morning newscasts of the week. Trolling through online newspapers, scouring the wires—they all go hand-in-hand for the dreaded day in news.
I managed to make it through my shift, though not without a lot of yawning and even more writers block. I just couldn’t get my groove together, and every story I had to write was like I was writing for the first time. Trying to put together many sentences for hours is like dragging a one-ton chain behind you while you’re swimming on a Monday. I just could not get it together.
Here’s to a better Tuesday, and a better week. I tend to leave my Mondays in the rearview mirror and not dwell on them (except for now, I guess) so they don’t haunt me for the next six days. Onwards and upwards!
To help me through my Monday struggles, I offer you this—a revamped classic casserole dish. Growing up, my mom had a staple dinner in her meal rotation: chicken and rice. You know the one I’m talking about: cream of mushroom soup, tons of garlic powder, and dry onion soup mix. I lived for that stuff. Throughout my 29 years on this planet, I’ve never gotten tired of it. The creamy mushroom rice was always my favorite part.
I tried to make chicken and rice in a healthier way. No creamy processed soups, just chicken broth and tons of flavor. I used sliced baby portobello mushrooms to compensate for the little chunks you find in the Campbell’s version, and fresh chives to give it a little more contrast. The tons of garlic powder is still here, though.
When I’m making a dish with whole pieces of chicken, I opt for a chicken thigh. They’re more flavorful than breasts and don’t dry out as easily in the oven. Since I used brown rice, I knew this dish would need a lot of time in the oven—which is not a chicken breasts best friend.
This may not be as good as my mom’s classic version, but it will work in a pinch. If you’re being especially cognizant of what you’re eating, and trying to stay as healthy as can be like me, than this is the meal for you.
Baked Mushroom Chicken & Rice
Simple baked chicken with mushroom rice.
- 2 TBS. olive oil
- 2 tsp. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 3 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- salt & pepper
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 pieces)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup brown rice
- 14 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 2 TBS. butter
- 1/4 cup chives, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together oil, parsley, paprika, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent for 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms, stir, and continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chives.
- Grease a large 13×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Pour rice into dish and stir in chicken broth, remaining garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in mushroom mixture. Top with chicken.
- Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together oil, parsley, paprika, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent for 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms, stir, and continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chives.
Grease a large 13×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Pour rice into dish and stir in chicken broth, remaining garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Stir in mushroom mixture.
Top with chicken.