This is a flavorful Weight Watcher’s casserole full of chicken, veggies, rice and a nice touch with the saffron. There are 8 PointsPlus per serving which is 1/4 of the dish. I have been wanting to use some saffron a sister brought back from her trip to Italy, among other things like tomato seeds for this year’s garden 🙂
Weight Watcher's Chicken Casserole with Saffron
- 1-1/2 lbs.bone-in chicken parts with skin removed (I chose to use boneless chicken breasts and cut them up into big pieces)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 4 tsp. olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14-1/2 oz.) can diced (I like petite) tomatoes
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup long-grain rice (I use Basmati)
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. saffron threads, crushed (I only had 1/4 tsp. but this was enough to give this recipe some beautiful color and taste – see gardening comment below)
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- cilantro for garnish (I used my cilantro crystals – see Herb and Flower Crystals)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add chicken and cook about 4 minutes per side; transfer to a 2 quart casserole.
Add the pepper, celery and onion to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes or so, until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and broth; bring to a boil. Add the rice, oregano and saffron and then combine with the chicken in the casserole.
Bake with the lid on for about 20 minutes; sprinkle with peas. Continue baking until everything is tender and liquid is absorbed. Because I used boneless and skinless chicken breasts I did not have to cook this dish as long. Garnish with fresh cilantro or use cilantro herb crystals.
Recipe by cooking with aunt juju
Comment: Saffron is the stigma of the fall flowering crocus. Crocus is a genus in the family Iridaceae. It only grows 8 to 12 inches high and bears up to four flowers. If you look inside most flowers you will see three threadlike filaments which are called stigma. But only this particular crocus is worth a lot of money. It is a very labor intensive crop and only 5-7 pounds of saffron can be produced from each acre of land. This makes saffron the most expensive spice by weight, but you only need a little bit to color and flavor a dish.
Saffron contains a carotenoid dye, crocin, which imparts a rich golden-yellow hue to recipes. See the pictures above and how pretty the dish looks 🙂