Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice

In this Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice, golden brown chicken breasts are smothered in a creamy orange almond sauce and served alongside an almond rice pilaf for a simple and comforting recipe during the colder days just prior to gorgeous, warm spring days.

Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice

This time of year is so incredibly tricky. I remember just about a year ago, Kevin and I were actually contemplating getting the boat out of storage for the winter and taking it out on the lake. It had been so warm, like almost summer kind of warm.

In the end we chickened out (no pun intended) on that idea because we didn’t want to risk ruining the boat if we ended up with a cold front coming through after essentially de-winterizing the boat by taking it out on the lake. We also didn’t want to have to pay to have it winterized again after using it for a weekend.

I’m so glad we didn’t go through with it, because we ended up with more snow coming through and freezing temps. What a disaster that would have been. In fact, we had our biggest snow storm sometime in March last year, complete with 18+ inches of snow and school cancellations.

Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice

Well, here we are again. The official first day of Spring arrived this week. We have had a really uncharacteristically warm pre-spring here in Colorado (someone please knock on some wood). Like even more warm than last year. It was in the 80’s over this past weekend. And the weather is talking about the possibility of snow this coming weekend.

Weather in Colorado this time of year really could not be more bizarre. For all intents and purposes it isn’t really spring in Colorado until May, after Mother’s Day is considered “safe” for any planting.

We can be hit with snow and winter weather again just about at any time, and it doesn’t matter if the day before was nearly 80 degrees!

Should we be making spring recipes or winter recipes?

Since it is sort of spring and sort of not, I have been trying to come up with some different meals to make to transition during this in between seasons stage. Like comfort food but not at hearty and heavy as during the winter months. Something that fits the season that it is trying to be.

Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice

I was reminded of a Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice recipe I made years and years ago. I think Logan, who is now 12 (when did that happen???), was under 3. I don’t know if Madeline was even born yet. The recipe featured browned chicken breasts with a creamy sauce. I remember that it had marmalade in the sauce and lots of sliced almonds.

I thought that would be perfect for this time of year. A little comforting with a side of rice pilaf and some roasted asparagus, but bright flavors with the orange marmalade in the creamy sauce.

I looked everywhere to try to find the original recipe, but in the end I had no success. I think that I must have donated the cookbook that the recipe was in during our purging in prep for our move last year.

So, I did what I could to recreate the idea of the recipe based on the little knowledge about what was in the original Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice recipe.

Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice - Almond Rice Pilaf

First, you’re going to saute a bit of onion and garlic in butter. Then add the rice and saute that until it starts to sizzle. Add some water and chicken broth and prepare the rice like normal.

While the rice cooks, the chicken breasts are nicely browned in butter (or olive oil) after being seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then, you set the chicken aside while you make the sauce.

For the sauce in this Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice, I combined half and half, chicken broth, orange marmalade, and stone ground mustard.

I added that to the same pan the chicken cooked in to take advantage of the flavor in the pan. I brought that to a simmer, and then to thicken it a touch I whisked in a bit of flour and stirred in part of the sliced almonds.

For nuts, I like to use Fisher Nuts because they’re preservative free and non-GMO Project Verified. Plus, they have several different varieties of nuts for cooking and baking, and the resealable bag helps keep the nuts fresh for longer since I don’t always use a whole bag at once.

Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice

Next, you’ll return the chicken to the pan with the Creamy Orange Almond Sauce. Let it look on low a bit so the chicken is warm and cooked all the way through and has the opportunity to soak in the flavors of the sauce. Plus, the sauce will get infused with flavor from the almonds while it continues cooking.

By then it will be time to finish up the rice. It is a pretty simple rice pilaf to start, but I decided to add some sliced Fisher Almonds and fresh chopped parsley to give it some color and texture.

Once the chicken is ready, sprinkle the sliced green onions, finely chopped fresh parsley, and more sliced almonds on top.

It is actually a super easy recipe to make since all you’re really doing is making some rice, browning chicken and making a quick sauce to go on top. But it seems like a nicer, more comforting meal than plain baked chicken.

Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice

To serve this Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice, I like to add a bit of rice to the plate, and then place the piece of chicken to the side of the rice and spoon extra sauce over the chicken – this will give you plenty of the sweet and savory sauce to dip the chicken in as you eat it. The rice will soak up some of the extra sauce as well, making it nice and creamy to eat.

For a side vegetable, we like Roasted Broccoli or Roasted Asparagus best. The kids all vote for asparagus every day. But a side salad or Sauteed Garlic Green Beans work well too, depending on what you’re in the mood for.

What are you favorite no-quite spring recipes?

Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice

Yield: serves 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Golden brown chicken breasts are smothered in a creamy orange almond sauce and served alongside an almond rice pilaf for a simple and comforting recipe.

Ingredients:

For the Chicken

  • 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (about 6 small breasts)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Half and Half
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
  • 3 tablespoons Orange Marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons Stone Ground Mustard
  • 1 - 1/2 tablespoon Flour
  • 3/4 cup Fisher Nuts Sliced Almonds
  • 2 Green Onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Finely Chopped Parsley

For the Rice

  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1/4 cup minced Yellow Onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced Fresh Garlic
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
  • scant 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 cup Fisher Nuts Sliced Almonds
  • 1 tablespoon Finely Chopped Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste (if desired)

 

Directions:

For the Chicken

Pat the chicken dry, then season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, according to your personal preferences.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saute pan or cast iron skillet. Add the chicken to the pan. Depending on the size of you pan, you may need to cook half the chicken at a time in order to not over crowd and cook evenly. Cook the chicken for 3 - 5 minutes per side, allowing the chicken to get nice and brown on each side. Repeat as necessary until all of the chicken is cooked.

Set the chicken aside on a plate.

In the same pan that you cooked the chicken, add the half and half, chicken broth, orange marmalade, and stone ground mustard. Whisk until well combined. Cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer.

If desired, for a thicker sauce, add 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk vigorously with a wire whisk so that the flour completely dissolves in the sauce. Stir in 1/2 cup of the almonds.

Return the chicken to the pan, with any accompanying juices from the plate. Stir and coat the chicken with the sauce. Let simmer for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and heated through.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup almonds on top along with the green onions and fresh parsley.

For the Rice

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add the garlic and onion and saute, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula  periodically, for about 3 - 5 minutes - until it starts to turn golden brown and smell fragrant.

Next, add the rice to the pan with the butter, onion, and garlic. Stir the rice while it cooks until the rice starts to sizzle, taking care to not allow it to burn.

Add the chicken broth, water, and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid and let the rice mixture simmer for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove it from the heat and allow the rice to sit (lid still covering) for 5 minutes. Then, remove the lid, discard the bay leaf, add the almonds and parsley, and fluff with a fork.

Notes:

This Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice pairs well with roasted asparagus or broccoli for a side vegetable.

This recipe for Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fisher Nuts. The opinions and text are all mine.