A week's worth of Megan-simple chicken and rice dishes with different flavors to satisfy picky eaters

February 22 | Guest post by Adele
Curry Chicken
By: dalboz17 โ€“ CC BY 2.0

I am a picky person… I don't like to eat the same meal more than once a week. I need meals for only one person. I don't like to cook unless I can be eating in 20 minutes or less (preferably much less). I am trying to stay away from pastas. I like to eat protein with every meal, but I hate spending money on meats. Basically, I am impossible to cook for.

But there is hope! I have made a huge (well, to my non-chef-self anyway) list of recipes that help satisfy all of these things. As an added benefit, most of these can be considered at least somewhat healthy and very Megan-simple.

One thing I've learned is that rice is nice and cheap

So I just bought a rice cooker! So I'm going to be making enough rice for a week's worth of meals. We already have a great start, here. Obviously substitute with quinoa, brown rice, whatever the heck you want. I just find plain white rice easy and not… intimidating.

I'm also going to buy some of the cheapest meat I can: frozen chicken breasts

Get a huge bag, because they keep forever in the freezer. Throw a whole bunch of them in the crock pot — one for each day of the week! Add enough chicken broth to just cover most of them. Cook on low for eight-ish hours. Take out the chicken and shred. It's fine if some shredded chicken stays in the broth, since we'll be using that too!

So now you have chicken and rice, which is a very nice base for almost any flavor you're craving.

So now here are some ideas for the week:

1. Indian curry. Fry up some onions, add desired curry seasonings, add tomato sauce, add cream, throw in some chicken, serve over rice. If this is too much work, buy a jar of curry sauce and just throw that over chicken and rice.

2. Throw in some beans from a can with some chicken and cheddar cheese over some rice. Add seasonings like garlic, onion powder, and black pepper. Microwave. Stir. Eat. Fresh tomatoes and green onions taste great with this, too.

3. Make chicken fried rice with your pre-cooked chicken and rice and a bag of frozen veggies.

4. Make a paprikash-like sauce by cooking some cut up bell pepper, onions, and garlic in some oil until soft, then throw in a bunch of paprika. Add a can of tomatoes and some tomato paste or flour to thicken it up. Add the chicken to heat up the chicken, then add a dash of sour cream and serve it over rice.

5. Make some stir-fry with frozen vegetables. Toss in the chicken at the last minute to warm it up, serve over rice. If this sounds like it would just take too much time when you get home from work and are HANGRY, just throw some teriyaki sauce over some chicken and rice.

6. Make "Hawaiian haystacks." Throw the chicken on a pile of rice, cover in chicken gravy and cover with whatever toppings you want. Toppings usually include shredded cheese, green onions, pineapple, chinese noodles, olives, etc.

7. Take some of the broth and throw in cajun spices and some flour to thicken it, serve it with the chicken over rice. If you have the time, saute some veggies with the cajun spices first.

There! One full week of filling, quick-ish dinners that don't repeat flavors.

But wait, there's more!

Run out of rice, but still have chicken? Just plain sick of rice? Try these:

  • Put the chicken on a salad with some caesar dressing and croutons, maybe add a tomato.
  • Mix some taco seasoning in with some salsa and serve it with some chicken in tortillas.
  • Make a chicken salad sandwich by adding grapes or dried cranberries, celery or onions, and mayo. Add nuts to feel really fancy.
  • Make cheap ramen, throw some chicken and an egg in, along with green onions and soy sauce. Or dress it up however the heck you want; at least you have protein in it!
  • Make a pasta salad and throw some chicken on it to make it a meal. Easy pasta salad: cold pasta, onions, tomatoes, cheese, black pepper, garlic, onion powder, olive oil, and vinegar. Mix.

Sick of chicken? Still have rice? No problem:

  • Saute some shrimp in butter and oil with some garlic, throw in some parsley and server it over rice.
  • Make easy Korean beef, serve it over rice.
  • Saute some onions in oil, throw in some sliced up smoked sausage. Once it's browned, throw in some chicken broth and the rice. Eat. Some cheese goes really well with this. Can add beans, too, if you want.
  • Make some kind of chili (any kind!) and throw it over rice.

Guys, I'm not even done yet…

Remember the broth you cooked the chicken in? Throw a bunch of veggies in it and add some chicken back, and you have chicken soup. Had chicken soup last night but still have a lot leftover? NO REPEATS. Take that chicken soup, put it over a bunch of rice, and add a bunch of cinnamon. Trust me, it's delicious and homey and probably cures all illnesses.

Ok, now I'm done.

What other Megan-simple recipes would you add to this list?

  1. Great suggestions! I'd like to add one more: if you're cooking your chicken in the slow cooker, try using thighs instead of breasts. The meat will end up more tender and flavorful, and thighs are often cheaper than breasts.

    8 agree
  2. I make a cheap/easy chicken, rice and veggie stir fry meal by using a steamer package of rice and veggies from the frozen food isle. The rice and veggies all steam in the microwave together in about 5 minutes. I cook the chicken, maybe add more veggies or a can of water chestnuts. Then, add some stir fry sauce (my favorite is peanut sauce or Thai sweet red pepper sauce). Mix everything together and add seasonings like salt and pepper and more sauce, as needed. Hubs likes to add saracha sauce for a little more heat. Done!

    • This is almost exactly what I made for supper yesterday. It's pretty much my go-to relatively healthy and easy meal.

  3. I do something similar, but I cook it in the oven where I can add different seasonings to individual pieces. There is a whole world of coating mixes & sauces available. I buy a family size package of thighs, divide them into meal sized groups, season each group with a different mix or sauce & bake as directed. I have a large enough oven & pans that I can usually bake all of the chicken at once.

    Sometimes we get tired of chicken even with this much variety, but once cooked, it can keep up to 2 weeks, so I can alternate with other dishes some nights. It also freezes well, once cooked, so that is an option. My husband gets tired of rice quickly, so sometimes I will get a package of egg noodles or other type of pasta and cook it in chicken broth. This makes a great base for soup, a base for the chicken, or just a side dish. Pasta is also easily reheated.

    I think this is probably more work up front than the writer's version so I'm looking forward to giving her method a try.

    1 agrees
    • Haha, I'll be honest, being able to cook chicken in the oven sounds nice, but it requires that I'm home and kind of watching it for an hour. Plus, I honestly do not know the proper way to thaw chicken (since I buy frozen since it is cheaper and lasts longer), so being able to throw the raw chicken in the slow cooker is basically the only way I can cook it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1 agrees
      • Sorry to be a buzzkill but you actually should *not* put frozen chicken in the slow cooker. It spends too much time in the temperature zone at which bacteria grows.

        3 agree
        • Argh! I have been told not to thaw frozen chicken in the fridge, I've been told not to thaw it on the counter, I've been told not to thaw in in water in the sink, and now I'm told not to just use it frozen. Are we even able to use frozen chicken???

          • Oh man, I feel so guilty for making your life harder! Fridge is actually fine (takes at least overnight) or sealed baggie, bowl of cold tap water refilled as it comes to room temp, that will take about half an hour. Food safety gal, over and out.

            4 agree
          • any of the methods you mentioned is fine as long as you actually cook it thoroughly and kill any potential bacteria that may have been in the chicken. I usually prep the slow cooker the night before, put it in the fridge, then cook all day for 8+ hours. So, I'm sure that after 8 hours in a slow cooker, the chicken has been thawed, cooked fully, and the bacteria has been killed!

            1 agrees
  4. I do something similar, but it's usually meat sauce (like spaghetti sauce). I make a HUGE batch, and some spaghetti squash or other squash (I don't eat grains), then re-cook the meat sauce every other night and cook fresh veggies like spinach or broccoli to go with it each night. On the 3rd or 4th day I freeze the meat sauce in single serving size plastic bags to eat for lunch/dinner when I'm not at home. About the rice though, my husband insists it is only safe to eat on the 2nd, and possibly 3rd day after cooking it as leftover rice is notorious for causing severe food poisoning. I don't know how much truth there is to the idea, but if it is true 7 days seems a bit long to be eating leftover rice…

    I also do roast pork, either in the oven or the slow cooker, and we eat that for 2 nights then on the 3rd night make curry with it. Curried pork is fucking KILLER, by the way ๐Ÿ™‚

    1 agrees
  5. I'm not sure if this is what you're recommending but I definitely wouldn't advise making a week's worth of rice at a time… not only does it dry out quickly in the fridge, but old rice can be the source of some of the most violent food poisoning out there. Better to do it fresh. (Unfortunately some rice cookers – mine for example- take freaking FOREVER. I need to get better at planning ahead so I can use it more.)

    2 agree
    • Well, I suppose I was suggesting that, but I have never done it. The Internets tell me rice is fine in the fridge for 4-6 days after being cooked. But my rice cooker has a timer and a "keep warm" function, so I can set it to go in the morning and have fresh rice when I get home. Thanks for the heads up, though! Someone else mentioned the same thing earlier, so I guess I need to be careful. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • The "keep warm" function on mine is quite warm and makes my rice crispy after a short period of time and I don't think would be safe, temperature-wise, to use if you aren't home. Not really in the same category as a slow cooker as far as set it and forget it all day. But if you only do couple servings of white rice it just takes 20 min or so, so you could do that each evening.

        1 agrees
        • If you add a some olive oil or butter to your rice cooker, and set to "keep warm" you can make Persian rice. The crispy bits on the bottom are a delicacy!

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