Do you think a DELICIOUS, quick, budget-friendly meal is impossible? Well, it’s not! This one dish Italian chicken and rice bake is here to save the day.
We’re all moved and settled in our new house yet I feel like things are just getting busier and busier. I guess that’s life though. Ben and I always talk about how funny it is that we thought we were busy before we had kids. Isn’t it funny how that works? I guess it’s all relative.
But we were busy. And obviously insane for thinking we were busy.
Now? Oh goodness, now it just makes my head spin. Get up before the kids, work on my site, get the kids up and ready for school. Feed them breakfast, make myself breakfast IF I have time, get the kids off to the bus stop, etc. I would go on but we’d be here all day and you’d probably be pretty bored.
Moral of the story (sort of) is that I like easy dinners. Bet you couldn’t see that one coming. I’m nothing if not predictable. I also like budget-friendly dinners, because who doesn’t?
What I like about this one dish Italian chicken and rice is that it only makes one dish dirty, it’s easy on the wallet, and it tastes delicious.
About this easy casserole
I use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts for two reasons. The first reason is because they are more budget-friendly. Secondly, this dish has to cook for quite awhile to make the rice tender. The chicken thighs don’t dry up like chicken breasts might.
Try Red Gold Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano to keep the ingredient list nice and short — all the flavor you need is in the tomatoes. You can also use regular canned tomatoes and add dried basil and oregano, with a bit garlic powder, to taste.
This casserole is similar in some ways to my healthy stuffed pepper casserole but it is a little easier to make. Another really easy one pan skillet dinner with rice is this One Pan Sausage and Rice with Sweet Peppers.
Simply put all the ingredients (no need to cook the chicken first!) in a casserole dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake. It will take a couple of hours but it’s all hands off time, except for one stir in the middle of the baking time.
I love that because sometimes it just gets so busy when the kids come home from school and you’re trying to get dinner on the table. No worries, dinner’s in the oven before they even get home.
Used in this recipe
Like the convenience of canned tomatoes?
Canned tomatoes are a treasure in your pantry. In most cooked recipes, like this Italian chicken and rice bake, you won’t be able to tell the difference between canned and fresh. Here’s a few more recipes using convenient and tasty canned tomatoes:
- 10 soups and stews made with canned tomatoes (a collection of some my favorites and includes a little tour of the Red Gold farm and processing facility)
- Homemade Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pockets (only 4 ingredients and yep, one of the ingredients is canned tomatoes)
- Restaurant Style Salsa
- Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Tomatoes, Ricotta, and Balsamic (did you know you can roast canned tomatoes?)
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup uncooked extra long grain brown rice
- 2 cans (14.5oz each) Red Gold Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano (see note)
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- fresh parsley for garnish, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a 9x13 baking dish, mix together onion, bell pepper, rice, and Red Gold tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add chicken thighs, pushing them down into the tomato mixture.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake for one hour and 15 minutes.
- Uncover, stir, cover tightly again and bake for 30-50 more minutes or until rice is tender.
- Uncover, add cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve immediately.
- Green bell peppers are typically the most budget-friendly option, but feel free to use your favorite color.
- You may also use white rice — this will likely decrease cooking time since it cooks faster than brown rice. Try to avoid short grain brown rice or you’ll find that the rice takes even longer to cook.
- If you are using plain canned tomatoes, add a 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried basil, and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.