MEAT LOVER’S CASSEROLE aka SPANISH RICE & MEAT

This recipe started out as Baked Rice with Chicken and Lemony Meatballs from a Cook’s Illustrated Skillet Dinner Magazine, but became something entirely different before I was done. Hubby was still raving about this recipe this morning and even considered having leftovers for breakfast so I think it was a hit!

MEAT LOVER’S CASSEROLE
MEATBALLS
1 slice sourdough bread
1 tablespoon milk
1/4-1/3 cup Panko crumbs
1/2 pound fresh ground pork
1 large egg
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
zest from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

  • Using your hands mix everything together until well blended.  Use only as much Panko crumbs as needed to keep mixture from being too “wet”.
  • Roll into 1 inch meatballs.
  • Cover and chill meatballs while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

CHICKEN & BACON
1 pound chicken breast tenders, salt and peppered to taste
4 slices bacon, browned crisp and crumbled*

*I prepare the bacon in the microwave on paper towels while browning the chicken pieces to save time and absorb the grease to make the bacon crispier.

SAUCE & RICE
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large hot house tomato, cut into pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 KNORR chicken Gel bouillon
1/2 cup hot water
2 cups water
1 cup Jasmine Rice

PREPARATION
6 tablespoons avocado oil

  • Heat oil over medium high heat in large skillet.
  • Add garlic and saute until golden and fragrant.  Remove to small food processor with a slotted spoon.
  • Add chicken to pan and sear both sides. Remove to paper towels to absorb any excess grease.
  • Add meatballs, cooking, turning and rolling until browned on all sides.
  • Prepare bacon in microwave while the other meats are being prepared.
  • Add bouillon gels, tomato pieces, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup hot water to the garlic in the food processor and process until smooth.
  • Add rice and broth mixture to pan stirring until rice is translucent.
  • Add 2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens and rice is tender.

ASSEMBLY
Parmesan Cheese

  • Spray 2 quart casserole dish with non stick cooking spray.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Layer a small amount of the rice mixture on the bottom of you baking dish.
  • Top with a small handful of Parmesan cheese.
  • Layer chicken pieces on top of rice.
  • Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top of chicken.
  • Put another layer of the rice mixture.
  • Top with meatballs.
  • Top with remaining rice.
  • Sprinkle another handful of Parmesan cheese over everything.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes to heat through.

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