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Cuban-Inspired Weeknight Chicken and Rice

Putting a hot, tasty meal on the table doesn’t have to take all day. This simple, Cuban-inspired dish takes about half an hour from start to finish and is filled with veggies. You can use any type of bell pepper you’d like, but using red, yellow, or orange peppers adds a nice pop of color. Additionally, you can use red, white, or yellow onion – just take advantage of whatever you have on hand! This recipe is designed for two, but can be doubled to feed more. No matter how you make it, it’s an easy way to create a homemade meal!

Cuban-Inspired Chicken and Rice

Ingredients for Cuban-Inspired Weeknight Chicken and Rice

  • 2 servings of uncooked rice, or as much as you want
  • 1 scant tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper – in the example, I used half a yellow pepper and half a red pepper
  • 1/2 a medium onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, or equivalent amount of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of green olives (optional)
  • 1 large chicken breast, or 2 smaller breasts/breast fillets
  • The juice from 1 lime, or 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of mojo marinade and 1/2 cup of water/chicken broth, or 1 cup of water/chicken broth
  • About 1 tablespoon of Goya Tropical Seasoning, or similar seasoning blend

Chicken and Rice Recipe

1. Rinse the rice and prepare it according to the package’s instructions. Rinsing the rice really is important – rice contains ‘trace’ amounts of arsenic that you can easily remove with a wash.

2. Chop the bell pepper and onions. Make the pieces as large or small as you’d like. Dice the olives. Mince the garlic, if necessary.

bell peppers

3. Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and heat on a medium/medium-high burner.

4. Cut the chicken into pieces or strips, whichever you prefer, and set aside. Make sure to cut the chicken across the grain for maximum tenderness. Not sure what I mean? Just check out the explanation on my chicken taco recipe!

cutting chicken

See how the chicken’s being cut across the grain?

5. Once the oil is warm and shimmering, add the pepper, onions, and garlic to the oil. Stir to coat them and then stir in the seasoning. Continue stirring occasionally until the onions are beginning to wilt and turn translucent (about 3 minutes or so).


Don’t let them sit like this – stir everything and spread it out across the pan’s bottom.

6. Add the chicken and cook for about one minute without stirring. Then, stir the chicken and allow it to sit for another minute. Stir in the olives. Reduce heat to medium low and add the liquids (including the lime juice). Mojo marinade makes this recipe super delicious, but if you don’t have any, you can use chicken broth or water, instead. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, use Corona instead of water. It may sound strange, but I promise it’s delicious with the lime! The alcohol will cook away, leaving nothing but the taste.

cooking chicken

7. Cover and allow the chicken and vegetables to cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

8. Once the chicken is very nearly finished, remove the lid and allow any excess moisture to steam away. You may be tempted to turn up the heat to speed along the process, but this will toughen the chicken. I really recommend cooking it at a lower temperature for just a few extra minutes!

9. When you’re personally  satisfied with the amount of liquid left in the chicken and vegetables, remove it from the heat and serve with rice.

chicken and rice

I love using this simple theme as a base for an easy meal, both for dinner or a hot lunch. It’s so easy to add different vegetables or seasonings to suit what you have on hand! Plus, it’s quick and doesn’t come in a take out bag. What’s your go-to weeknight meal?




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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Linda July 25, 2013, 4:49 am

    Thanks for the recipe! I love your terrific posts! Linda

    • natashalh July 25, 2013, 8:37 am

      Thank you! That means so much to me. This blog doesn’t get nearly as many comments as my other one and it was a joy to find your complement when I woke up!

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