Now that I am (finally) through the first-trimester yuckiness that so many of us face - yes, I am pregnant (15 weeks) and we are very happy! - I feel that it is my duty to share a wonderful revelation that I had about 6 weeks ago. Truly, I should have figured this out about three babies ago, but perhaps by sharing I can help some of our readers who are still trudging through those difficult first few months of pregnancy!
The revelation came one hot July afternoon when I was feeling at the height of my "morning" sickness. A good friend, Mary, had invited my kids and me on a last-minute trip to story time at our local library, and although I just felt like staying home, I knew that the distraction would be good for all of us. After story time, Mary invited us over for an early lunch. Again, I hesitated, knowing that my kids were ready for naps/quiet time, but I decided to take her up on her kind offer. We arrived at Mary's home and I played with the kids while she prepared lunch, fully expecting that we would be eating turkey sandwiches or something similar. After all, that's what I would be serving for an impromptu lunch date! I had forgotten that Mary is a great cook, and also one of the most generous people that I know.
We sat down to lunch and Mary served me a steaming plate of chicken and rice, full of veggies and little pieces of perfectly-cooked chicken. Let me tell you, it was the most satisfying dish that I had eaten in a long time, and the rest of the day I felt great! Had I been preparing lunch for myself at home, I would have eaten something much less elaborate - I've always saved our leftovers from dinner for another weeknight meal - but this delicious meal was just what my pregnant body needed. Since that day, I have been consciously eating a hearty lunch, usually leftovers from the night before or something that I have prepared in advance. I have been making soups, stews, and sauces galore so that I always have something on hand, and it has made a huge difference in my ability to function for the remainder of the day! On the menu today: beef stew left over from last night's dinner. I promise that it tastes much better than it looks in this unflattering snapshot :)
In case you'd like to taste Mary's delicious chicken and rice dish for yourself, I've posted the recipe below. It was such a life-changing experience that I made myself a big batch the very next day, and I enjoyed it for the rest of the week! The only caveat: I wouldn't suggest freezing this dish, as the consistency of the rice changes dramatically with freezing. Enjoy!
Chicken and Rice
1-1.25 pounds of chicken breasts or tenders
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 T. worcestershire sauce
1 t. salt
Juice of 1 lime
1 t. minced garlic
Chop the chicken into bite size pieces and marinade it in the rest of the above ingredients for at least half an hour.
2 T. vegetable oil
1-2 t. paprika
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3-4 small sweet peppers, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 tomatoes peeled, seeded, finely chopped (I didn't peel the tomatoes)
2 c. uncooked white rice
4 c. chicken broth
Salt and pepper
1.5 cups cooked peas (not from a can)
Over med-high heat, heat the oil and saute the chicken with all the marinade. Once cooked, take out the chicken. Add a bit more oil and the paprika so it infuses the oil (just a few seconds), then saute the onion for about 5 minutes. Next add the bell pepper, carrots, and tomatoes and saute another 5 minutes. Add the uncooked rice and chicken again and saute for another minute, drizzling with a little salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth and bring to a rapid boil for about 5-7 minutes (until the broth has been mostly absorbed), then cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
Stir with a fork and add the cooked peas before serving. Enjoy this flavorful and slightly sweet dish!