Grilled Chicken with Cuban Black Beans and Rice

The Kid had her wisdom teeth pulled last Friday and while she recovered she had doctor’s permission to eat all kinds of fun stuff like ice cream, jello, pudding, and foods that kids only dream of 24/7. Since she’s dairy free, I had to stock up on versions of these things that you don’t find in the every day sections of the grocery store. While she slept from the pain killers, I ran to the Target to replenish supplies.

If you’ve ever been to Target (and who hasn’t?!), you know the siren call and intoxicating lure of their displays. I think they pump in some kind of brain altering air to make you fall for impulse purchases. So I got trapped and held hostage in their clearance organic frozen food section. Yes, there is such a place. All kinds of frozen food yummies that were dirt cheap. Sigh.

I got one in particular that was really good by a brand called Evol – love spelled backwards, get it? It was grilled steak with Cuban black beans and rice. It tasted great but since it was a pre-packaged meal, there was quite a bit more fat and sodium than I usually go for. Note: Something to watch out for even in healthier branded foods. I’m not trying to slam this brand in particular.

I looked at the description on the box and read quickly through the ingredient list and figured it was simple enough to attempt on my own and make it my way. Voila! Grilled chicken with Cuban black beans and rice made in a flash without all the sodium and fat. It was so quick and simple to cook that I was able to do it in less than 20 minutes while we were getting ready to go to a musical.

I was running in and out of the kitchen to stir and get dressed. No excuses for microwaving dinner when you can multi-task and get something like this. šŸ˜‰

Grilled Chicken with Cuban Black Beans and RiceĀ Grilled Chicken with Cuban Black Beans and Rice

  • 1Ā cup (180g) jasmine rice
  • 1 TbspĀ olive oil
  • 1/2Ā onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 redĀ bell pepper,Ā chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1Ā Ā can (15 oz)Ā black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4Ā cupĀ diced radishes
  • 1 tspĀ ground cumin
  • 1 tspĀ dried oregano
  • 1Ā TbspĀ red wine vinegar

Cook the rice according to the package directions. I steamed mine in my rice steamer since that’s the best hands off version I’ve found. While the rice is cooking, heat a pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Swirl the oil slightly to coat the pan and add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes until the onion and pepper soften. Stir every now and then so they don’t burn.

Add the rinsed black beans, radishes, cumin and oregano along with 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the water evaporates a bit and the beans start to soften. Remove from the heat and toss the bean mixture with the rice and vinegar. Serve as a side dish or add grilled chicken, steak or pork to make it a meal.

Makes 4 servings at approximately 311 calorie each – 9g protein, 58g carbs, and 4g fat without chicken. With 4 oz of chicken is 411 calories – 33g protein, 58g carbs and 7g fat.

Notes

  • You can use any variety of rice that you like. I had jasmine rice, but sushi or plan white rice works fine. You will get a different taste if you use brown rice as brown rice has more of a strong flavor than the white varieties. This isn’t a bad thing but something to be aware of.
  • You can also use a green bell pepper or a different color to spice things up. It’s whatever you prefer and I love red peppers best. The dish that I based this recipe on actually used green pepper.
  • You can make this vegan by leaving out the grilled chicken and other meat. Just give the rice and beans a go straight up.

I topped my black beans and rice with sliced grilled chicken and vegan cheddar cheese the first night. The second night I had leftovers with just the chicken and a blob (<—— technical term) of plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It would probably work well inside a tortilla to turn this into burrito filling. You aren’t restricted to just tossing it in a bowl.

Think outside the pre-packaged dinner. As a bonus, you get to customize it for you instead of being stuck with what’s in the box. šŸ™‚

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