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Braised Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables Recipe
Chicken, Vegetables, and Rice for a Healthy Dinner
This chicken dinner recipe is healthy (loaded with rice, broccoli, and carrots) and easy on the pocket-book. Chicken thighs are used for the meat portion of this recipe, and are very inexpensive at the grocery store. To increase the health factor in this recipe, replace the white rice (I often use Jasmine rice) with brown rice and use a low sodium chicken broth in place of the chicken bullion.
Children can help with the preparation of the vegetables, the creation of the broth mixture, and the rice in this recipe. All of the braising and cooking should be handled by an adult, of course!
By cooking the carrots and the broccoli in a chicken broth, a unique flavor is imparted to the vegetables. A child who is normally resistant to broccoli may enjoy this meal, because the "bite" of the broccoli is reduced by simmering in the chicken broth. Some children really enjoy the taste of cooked carrots, and some do not—we always offer raw carrots on the side for our one child who really detests the flavor of cooked carrots.
Braised Chicken and Rice Ingredients
- Chicken thighs (we use a package of 4 thighs for our family)
- 1 large bunch of broccoli
- About 5 large carrots
- 1 medium sized onion
- 1 chicken bullion cube
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp sage
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (or canola oil) for braising the chicken
- 2 cups of prepared rice
- 1/2 cup of milk with 2tbsp flour, used to thicken chicken sauce.
A large stock pot is required to cook the chicken, chicken sauce, and vegetables. A separate pot will be required to prepare the rice (use 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water and cook according to the package directions).
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Prepare the Vegetables for Cooking
Preparing the Vegetables
- Wash the vegetables. The kids can rinse the broccoli and carrots in the sink—this is an important part of learning to cook. Dirt from the fields must be washed off, along with any pesticide residue!
- Have the children cut the broccoli stalks into small florets with a butter knife. Place the broccoli into a bowl and set aside.
- Cut the carrots into coins—my older son did cut some of the coins using a butter knife, but I took the majority of the carrots and cut them using a sharp knife. Cutting carrots with a butter knife is a lot of hard work! I do not peel our carrots before cooking - the carrot peel contains a lot of fiber and nutrients, and since the carrots are cooked in this recipe, the outer layer does not need to be removed.
- Peel and chop one onion. My six-year-old son loves operating our food processor, and was able to chop the onion by himself with this tool. If you do not own a food processor or onion chopper, have an adult perform this task. Onions can be rather irritating to a child's eyes and mucus membranes!
Pictures of Making the Broth
Prepare the Broth
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. I simply place a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave for 2 minutes to heat the water.
- Add one bullion cube to the water and allow it to dissolve.*
- Have the children add 1 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1/8 tsp sage to the broth. We use a pepper grinder to add freshly ground pepper—pre-ground black pepper may be used if you do not own a pepper grinder.
*2 cups of low sodium chicken broth may be used in place of the chicken bullion.
Cooking the Chicken and Vegetables
Cook the Chicken and Vegetables
- Heat oil in the stock pot until it smokes faintly. Place the chicken thighs into the pot, skin side down, and cook until the skin is the color of a brown paper bag. Turn the thighs over using kitchen tongs and brown the other side.
- Remove the chicken to a plate and place the chopped onions in the stock pot. Stir the onions until cooked through. Loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir.
- Return the chicken thighs to the pot and add the chicken bullion mixture.
- Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil, and add the carrot coins.
- Cover and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.
- Add the broccoli florets, bring back to a boil, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Bring 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water to a boil—cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes (or according to package instructions).
- Once the broccoli, carrots, and chicken are thoroughly cooked, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl. Remove the chicken with kitchen tongs.
- Add 2 tablespoons of flour to 1/2 cup of milk and stir to combine. Add the flour/milk mixture to the chicken broth and stir over low heat to thicken.
- Serve the chicken, vegetables, and rice with the chicken sauce—enjoy!