*Full disclosure: I am a proud partner with Unilever's Agents of Change program. Unilever provided me with packets of Knorr® Fiesta Sides™ -Spanish Rice, but the views and opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.
Once upon a time, I traveled to Spain with three of my childhood friends. We had all recently graduated from college and decided to backpack our way through Europe. Little did I know how much of an impact this travel experience would have on me. Our six-week adventure opened my eyes to new people, cultures, incredible food and culinary experiences. One of my favorite dishes from my European vacation was the paella we ate in Spain. My jaw dropped when the servers brought this massive round pan of food to our table. Not only had I never seen a pan that big, I had never seen such a beautiful mound of seafood and rice and vegetables all together. It smelled amazing and it was unlike anything I had ever seen or eaten before!
Several years later, I came across a chicken paella recipe in a heart-healthy cookbook. It was an easy dish that brought together some of the same great flavors I remember eating in Spain. More recently, I’ve found yet another way to capture those flavors using Knorr® Fiesta Sides™ - Spanish Rice! In less than 10 minutes, the rice is cooked. In another 10 minutes, my chicken and vegetables are also cooked, and after 10 more minutes, everything is tossed together. So, within 30 minutes I have a delicious, one-skillet meal on the dinner table that is a guaranteed hit with my family!
Knorr® Fiesta Sides™ can be prepared and served alone as a simple side dish or made into an entrée by adding vegetables and a protein. My Spanish Chicken Paella is one way to create a balanced meal with a generous portion of vegetables that provide vitamins C and A as well as filling fiber. Knorr® recipes like this one, as well as my Southwest Mexican Skillet (using Knorr® Fiesta Sides™ - Mexican Rice), are designed to include at least ½ cup of vegetables along with 3-4 ounces of lean protein per serving, making it a complete, satisfying meal. The added bonus to this better-for-you-meal? It looks absolutely beautiful on your plate! After all, we do eat with our eyes first.
Enjoy, or as they say in Spain, ¡qué aproveche!
Spanish Chicken Paella
Created for Unilever using Knorr® Fiesta Sides™ - Spanish Rice
Author: Christy Wilson, RDN
Prep time: About 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
1 Knorr® Fiesta Sides™ - Spanish Rice packet
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1-pound chicken breast (or thighs)
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper (about 1 ½ cups), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes (about 1 cup), diced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon paprika
1 cup frozen green peas
Juice from ½ lemon
Prepare Knorr® Fiesta Sides™-Spanish Rice as directed on package.
Over medium-high heat, add olive oil to a large heavy skillet. Add red pepper and onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper then place into the skillet. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side then add diced tomatoes. Add oregano and paprika and stir to combine ingredients.
Add prepared Knorr® Fiesta Sides™ -Spanish Rice to the skillet with the chicken and vegetables. Mix to combine all ingredients together. Top with green peas and heat over medium-to-low heat for about 5 minutes.
Squeeze juice from ½ of a lemon over of the finished dish. Serve immediately.