This is a delicious and simple meal that will be a hit at any festive dinner you are hosting! I found the original "Mandarin Chicken Recipe" on Taste Of Home last year, but thought it sounded a little bland. I realized that with a bit of tweaking, this could be a fabulous main course dish. I served it at a holiday gathering last December and my guests loved it!
MANDARIN CHICKEN BAKE
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon crushed garlic (bottled kind usually found in produce section and packed in olive oil or water)
1 - 1 1/2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
2 cups unsweetened orange juice
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 can (284 grams/10 ounce) mandarin orange segments, drained (Note: You could retain the juice and add to the orange juice to make the 2 cups required)
1/2 - 3/4 cup slivered almonds
Spray a 3 quart shallow casserole (or a dutch oven) with Pam and spread rice evenly over the bottom.
In a frying pan, brown the chicken in a tablespoon of olive oil. Remove chicken to paper towel lined dish. Add onions and red pepper to fry pan and saute until onions are translucent, adding a bit more olive oil if necessary.Then add mushrooms and garlic and saute an additional minute.
Spread the veggies evenly over the rice. Then spread the chicken evenly over the veggies.
Add the juice, broth and spices to the fry pan and stir just enough to lift the pan drippings.
Pour gently and evenly over the chicken. DO NOT STIR!
Cover and bake in a 350F oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or until rice is almost done. Arrange mandarin segments and slivered almonds over the top and return to the oven uncovered for about 5 minutes.
Makes 5 to 6 servings. Serve with a tossed salad.