As easy as red, white and blue. | Pictures | Food Newsie

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As easy as red, white and blue.

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As easy as red, white and blue.

Nearly every country claims meat and potatoes. In snooping around, it was difficult to establish a first-appearance of the combination and every culture has a twist and spin. Thanks to Tin Tongue and Bob (who made this for me two nights ago as I still recover from surgery), both demographically unlikely to cook anything fancy, I was tipped off to a staple that’s easy to make, just as complete as meat and potatoes while perhaps being more easy to customize – it’s chicken and rice but there’s so much you can do with it that I’m calling it America’s big easy staple. Even it isn’t.

With chicken thighs, rice and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, you’ve got the basics. There’s no official measure that I’ve seen, but it looks as though two cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup can cook and cover six thighs in a skillet large enough. With the chicken added, pour the cans in, bring the heat up until there’s activity and then set the heat to LOW to simmer for 20 or 30 minutes. That was lots of time for Bob to cut an avocado.


As easy as red, white and blue.

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That frame of time envelopes anything else you’d like to do – I provided some real rice that took 18 minutes (not that fast, in-a-minute stuff) and Bob steamed some broccoli over an inch of water which takes about five minutes start to finish. Before ringing the dinner bell, get into one chicken thigh and make sure it’s soft and white. Once done, arrange all the pieces anyway you like making sure to reserve the Mushroom ‘sauce’ to the end so it covers everything like gravy. The avocado was a surprise appearance here. At first I questioned it but after having some with the rice and chicken, it reminded me that avocado makes regular appearances in burritos, tacos and salads along with rice and chicken. So, while strange to see in mid-January, it was quickly a welcome part of the dish.

Tin Tongue’s take is to bake everything all at once in the oven, walk away and read a book about guns or Ireland or something. The top (of the meal) is crispy and he can add cheese if he’s feeling cheffy. At the table, seasonings and extra flavors, like Cumin powder for the broccoli, are a cinch and with that gravy-like soup trick, you can switch out Mushroom for Cream of Broccoli or any other flavor and win some gravy goodness just as easily if mushrooms aren’t your thing.

I’d mostly forgotten about this kitchen trick. It smells good, provides just about everything you’d need in a meal and it’s simple-easy so entertaining or being distracted or just chatting up a storm over a drink won’t botch any of the primary cooking time. Most importantly, it’s an ace up your sleeve if you’re kind enough to chef for any of your friends or family in their time of need. They get plenty of leftovers on their way to a healthy recovery with minimal effort on your part! They’ll thank you mostly for the company and have something nutritious leftover. That’s another good reason to call it America’s big easy staple. Even if it isn’t.

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