1. Cuban Chicken with Rice
I call it Cuban Chicken because it is based off of one of my favorite meals I get at a local Cuban restaurant, El Ray.
I always keep a bag of frozen chicken on hand for dinners like this, of course any chicken breast will do. I let the chicken marinate in some generously sprinkled salt and pepper, and then i drizzle them in olive oil. Make sure to cover both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and olive oil. Next I cut up some fresh cilantro and 3-4 cloves of garlic, depending on how much chicken you are using. Place the cilantro, garlic and squeeze some fresh lime juice on both sides of the chicken.
The chicken only needs to sit for a few minutes, typically about the time it takes for you to heat up a grill. Of course if you would rather not use a grill, using a stove is perfectly fine. Many people also let their chicken marinate in the fridge, however chicken kept at room temperature will cook faster! As long as you don't leave the chicken out for over an hour.
Once your grill or stove is ready, let the chicken cook about 5-10 minutes on both sides. Cut the chicken in half if you need to. Just make sure that there is no pink in the chicken! As soon as you are done grilling, your chicken will be ready to eat!
Now onto the rice.... an old Italian trick with rice is to let it boil in a pot of water just as you would boil pasta. I finally resorted to this trick after my husband (and Emeril) told me it was OK. Plus, I was tired of calling my mom everytime I made rice because I couldn't ever remember the rice to water ratio.
Once your rice is done boiling about 15 minutes, use a strainer to remove excess water. Next cut up a tomato, fresh cilantro and green onions. Sprinkle some salt for flavor and your delicious chicken dinner is done!
Another great way to save money is to buy a 3-4 ounce rotisserie chicken. They are typically only $4-5 dollars and you can get at least 2 meals out of them (at least if you are eating for 2!). Some stores even sell pre-cooked rotisserie chickens, of course I try to make mine homemade if I have the time!
For a deliciously roasted chicken you will need an assortment of herbs (preferable fresh, such as rosemary, thyme and oregano), salt and pepper, carrots, onions, garlic, and celery.
Generously sprinkle the top and bottom of your chicken with the salt, pepper, herbs and some olive oil. Next, stuff the inside of your chicken with chopped celery, carrots, a whole head of garlic and the onions. Of course if you are missing or forget one or two of these ingredients your chicken will still taste fine, I just like a lot of flavor.
Your chicken will need to roast for 1-2 hours at 375
Now for the green beans you will need fresh green beans, 2-3 cloves of garlic, a shallot, olive oil and some white wine (cooking wine or any cheap, $5-bottle will do).
You will want to saute the garlic, olive oil and shallot in a non-stick skillet on medium heat until the garlic starts to brown. Next you will want to add the green beans and a splash (or 2) of white wine for flavor. And of course, don't forget your salt and pepper! Let everything saute together about 5 minutes, until the green beans are tender.
ps. if you have chicken leftover, I like to use it for when I make a casserole dish, enchiladas or soup the next day!