This cheesy chicken and mushroom dinner is perfect for company, but also for a nice weeknight dinner for your family. It’s also nice to have some of this Rice a Roni mix in the pantry for an easy side dish too!
Two recipes in one day! Whoa there, this is crazy! So last fall I read Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist and that book just makes me want to COOK! And eat, but that’s no surprise. It’s a collection of essays knit together thematically around the idea of food, community, friendship, and growth. Though it’s written from a Christian perspective it’s really not in your face Christianity, if you get my drift, and it’s just a lovely book. Being a librarian I pretty much ALWAYS check books out to read from the library prior to purchasing them, and I think this one is good enough to go on my to-purchase [read: Christmas/birthday present] list. Though I made this dinner just for Ben and myself, it’s truly a company-worthy meal. Though it’s weeknight-doable, the flavors are rich, intoxicating, and delicious. It feels like a fancy escape from the week, even if only at the dinner table.
As I sit here thinking about what I just wrote, I wonder… why do we consider things to be “company-worthy meals” or not? At the root of it definitely is our innately human desire to put on our best face for everyone and to receive compliments/praise/glory/affirmation of how great we are. Somewhere in there is a desire to treat others well. And why shouldn’t we do that for our families on a regular Tuesday? I know people are busier than ever but I still think regular family dinners–even if it’s just you and your husband–are so important. They don’t have to be fancy. In the same vein, “company meals” don’t need to be fancy either–they just need to be made with love, like this meal. This chicken dish only took about 40 minutes to put together, and much of that is baking time. Using a few pantry ingredients, some mushrooms, and cheese, it looks so special! And the homemade Rice a Roni mix is awesome too! Hope you give it a try–and check out this book. :) Enjoy!
Cheesy Molasses Chicken with Mushrooms
- extra virgin olive oil
- 4 thin boneless skinless chicken breasts [I cut one large 16 ounce chicken breast into 4 smaller cutlets]
- freshly ground black pepper
- dried tarragon
- 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced [I used shiitake but regular white mushrooms would be fine too]
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced or shredded swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with a bit of olive oil. Season one side of each chicken breast with pepper and tarragon, then sear chicken for a minute on the seasoned side. Flip to the other side, season, and cook for a minute. Remove chicken to an oven safe baking dish.
In the same skillet, add more olive oil if necessary and reduce heat to medium. Cook mushrooms and onion for about 5 minutes, until soft, then add garlic. Cook another 30 seconds until fragrant. Season with more pepper and tarragon. Add water, vinegar, and molasses and bring to a boil, letting most of the excess liquid cook off, about 3-4 minutes. Spoon mushrooms, onions, and sauce overtop chicken.
Cook for 10-20 minutes or until fully cooked. When chicken is almost done, top with cheese and return to oven until cheese melts.
Serve with homemade Rice a Roni [below].
Homemade Rice a Roni Mix
from Fabulously Frugal
- 2 cups uncooked white rice
- 1 cup small pieces of angel hair, vermicelli, or thin spaghetti, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons dried parsley
- 6 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder OR 3 tablespoons poultry seasoning [original recipe called for the former but I didn’t have any so I improvised]
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 cup of rice a roni mix [above]
- 2 1/4 cups water or chicken broth
Combine all ingredients in a large airtight jar or plastic storage container. Breaking apart the noodles was probably the most difficult part. I found it easiest to break just a few at a time, while the measuring cup was in a taller bowl. I used maybe 1/3 of a 16 ounce box of pasta. Orzo or another small pasta would be a good substitute I think.
To make the rice, heat 2 tablespoons of butter or oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add 1 cup rice a roni mix and stir. Cook, constantly stirring, for about a minute until pasta begins to turn golden brown. Add water and bring to a boil, then prepare as you would rice–reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed.