Family Dinner Made Simple

apricot chicken

The following is a post from our sponsor, Success® Rice.

I used to have a lot of guilt about family dinner. Or the lack thereof. When I was growing up, my mother had dinner on the table every single night at 5:30 p.m. She always served a meat, a vegetable, and a starch. And we always had dessert. 

I have one less kid than she did, but I’m also three times busier. While I don’t for a minute doubt that she had her busy days, she was a stay-at-home-mom from the get-go. She kept a clean house and drove us around and managed to play bridge with her friends once a month, but she didn’t have the pressures we have today. We are all working mothers both in the house and out, juggling multiple kids with multiple activities. I couldn’t imagine having a set dinner time, let alone a last-minute meal that included more than chicken nuggets or sandwiches.

Somewhere along the line, I realized something had to change. 

I got over my guilt and took charge, looking for quick, easy meals that actually tasted good. The one food all of my kids will eat on any given day is rice. So the trick was to find a way to cook rice that didn’t take a half hour and to discover new ways to spice it up.

Success!

I found Success® Boil-in-Bag Rice! There are all different kinds (so in my book, that’s a week’s worth of meals right there!). There’s Whole Grain Brown Rice, White Rice, and these absolutely delicious aromatic varieties like Thai Jasmine and Basmati Rice. My kids’ favorite is Success® Basmati Rice. It’s got that yummy and distinctive fragrance that they can identify the minute they walk in the door. It’s a long and slender rice that elongates three to four times in length when it’s cooked, and it’s got a great fluffy texture that kids love. All the Success® Rice varieties come in a BPA-free boil-in-bag, which is so simple and so quick! In 10 minutes, you have perfectly fluffy rice ready to be topped with just about anything. Add a salad (I always go for the bagged salads -- they are so much easier), and you’ve got a well-rounded, healthy alternative to fast food and spaghetti.

My absolute favorite recipe is the Sweet and Spicy Apricot Chicken. The only thing I do a bit different is to omit the cayenne pepper altogether and serve the hot pepper flakes on the side. My son loves things spicy, but my daughter is not as adventurous in that area. So they both can spice up their dinner to their own liking. (Check out other great recipes on successrice.com, and tweet some of your favorites to @Success_Rice)

Life is hard enough without adding guilt and five-course meals to it. I believe when a simple solution comes along, you grab it. And that, my fellow moms, means success! 

Sweet and Spicy Apricot Chicken

Serves 4
Contest winning recipe from the 2009 Restaurant Recipe Challenge.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags Success® White Rice, Success® Jasmine Rice, or Success® Basmati Rice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small strips
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 package (16 oz.) broccoli slaw
  • 1/2 cup carrots, cut in matchstick strips
  • 2 Tbsps light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions:

Prepare rice according to package directions. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan. Stir frequently to break up chicken and cook until completely done, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Turn heat to medium-high and add remaining oil. Add broccoli slaw and carrots; sauté for about 3 minutes. Push vegetables aside and add soy sauce, spices, preserves, and water to skillet. Stir in chicken, bring to boil and simmer to heat through. Place rice in serving dish, make large well in center, and pour chicken mixture into well.

What's your family's favorite rice dish?

 

About the author: Betsy Voreacos has spent more years than she can count juggling children, driving around town in endless circles, picking up random kids, feeding the masses, and regularly over-volunteering. While her life is usually in constant chaos, Betsy wouldn't trade it for anything. After all, being a mother and a writer always gives you a good story to tell. Check out her personal blog OldMinivansDieHard

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recipes, dinner, family meals