Chicken and rice in a dutch oven

You know what is grossly underused in our household?  The dutch oven.  And aside from the fact that it’s super heavy, I have no idea why not because when I do, we can’t seem to get enough!

So this weekend, although it was about 5 million degrees in our house (ok, maybe closer to 80), I decided to make something in my shiny, pretty dutch oven.  (for the record, I would recommend doing this when it’s not hot or when it’s so hot that there is no way that an over turned up to 425 degrees would even make a difference).

The only redeeming thing I have going for me at this point is that we ate it on the porch.  Because it was too hot in the house.

The simplicity of this meal and its delicious taste (plus that fact that Peanut loves rice and she’s been super picky about eating lately) made the heat worth it.

Now let’s talk about my picky eater.

I have no idea how a kid that used to get ecstatic at the sight of food has recently learned to shake her head at anything and everything that we offer her.  She even pitches a fit when we try to put her in the high chair.

I do understanding that she’s learning independence and freedom of choice and blah blah blah, but doesn’t she understand that mommy can’t handle watching her skinny little toddler go almost a full day without eating much more than a bite or two?  Apparently, not.

So to resolve this new toddler eating disaster, I’ve decided that I would make food that she wouldn’t be able to resist.  On her list of top 10 favorites are: zucchini fritters, mac n cheese, chinese food (more specifically, lo mein), rice, avocados, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, peas, apple sauce, and blueberries.

What do you feed your picky toddler?  Any tricks to get them to eat?

4.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken and rice in a dutch oven
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Cook time
Total time
simple recipe with few ingredients, this chicken and rice dish takes only a few minutes to prep and then cooks in your oven.
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
  • Chicken thighs (I used 8, but I like to freeze half of this)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can of whole tomato (the 12 oz)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Fresh herbs (I used parsley and basil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Braise the chicken in the dutch oven with some olive oil, about 2 minutes on each side, over high heat. It should be slightly brown.
  3. While the chicken cooks, cup up the onion in thin strips and slice the garlic (I think this gives it more flavor). Chop up the parsley and basil, or whatever you have on hand.
  4. When the chicken is ready, set it aside and cook the onion and garlic in the oil leftover from the chicken. Scrape the sides a bit so you get all that flavor into it and cook for about 2 minutes until the onions look translucent. Add the tomatos into the mix and break them up. Add the water, rice, and herbs.
  5. Add the chicken back in. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Bring everything up to a boil, then stick it in the oven for about 45 minutes.
  7. Let the dutch oven sit, covered, for about a half hour before serving (I love the way this softens the rice).



  1. Here are a few things that are a hit (for now ) with my 16 month old.
    -Cheese omelet. I go easy on the cheese because of the salt and do a white cheddar. I cook it in no salt butter or olive oil.
    -Smoothies with a fresh banana, frozen strawberries and a scoop of full fat yogurt (you could leave out ) whole milk and a splash of vanilla. My daughter loves to sit and share one and we always use a straw for extra fun.
    -Any kind of plain pasta is a big hit and she’ll eat it hot or cold. Lately we do a cold pasta salad (no dressing though) with her fave veggies
    -Healthy banana muffins (no salt or added sugar) I freeze these and they make a great lunch while out with some fruit and milk or just for a snack .
    -Sweet potatoes. I give them as part of a snack or meal I keep a cooked one in the fridge at all times and just reheat.
    -plain (or with a nut butter) whole wheat tortillas. (i try to get the lower salt variety).
    -raisins in the box. No good if she’s prone to sharing with the dog.

    One of the big signs for teething for my daughter is reduced appetite. She wears an amber teething necklace which I hope helps with some of the discomfort.

    I love when you share your meal ideas as it gives me new ideas. I get stuck in cooking ruts. Can’t wait to make the chicken and rice.

    Hope your peanut’s appetite picks up soon.

    • Alexis-
      I think the teething has a lot to do with it as well. She just cut her first two teeth and I think I see more coming. I’m definitely going to try the smoothie and I would love the banana muffin recipe if you’d be willing to share!

  2. Yay another person who loves chicken thighs. Not only are hey cheaper they taste a heck of a lot better too! Just had one with breakfast, hah.

  3. I love my dutch oven. I try to use it all the time in the winter. Everything tastes better in mind.

  4. I am OBSESSED with my dutch oven. I make sure to get FULL usage out of that thing considering I shelled out almost $300 for Bertha (yes, it’s named).

  5. Ah, the picky eating stage. That sounds about right. My kid went from loving EVERYTHING pretty much and eating what I ate to slowly cutting things out until he was living on a very limited diet by age two. Some days, I swear he’d eat four bites of food all day and it freaked me out so bad! My pediatrician said that as long as he’s growing and hitting developmental milestones, it’s not a problem. It’s actually very normal. Look at what she eats over the course of a week instead of a day. Some days she’ll eat more than others so it will balance out. Keep up with the Pediasures. Those Plum baby food pouches are miraculous – I tell Bubba they’re juice and he’ll happily drink them, but if I puree stuff on my own he’ll turn up his nose and act like I’m trying to poison him! Have other people offer her food. For some reason, he’d accept new foods from other people better than us. Marketing is everything! Try changing textures or shapes. When Bubba refused yogurt, we switched from cups to tubes and froze them. They end up being like ice cream pops! Carrots were gross, but if I sliced them and cut them into stars with a mini cookie cutter – well, they were delicious then. Same thing with sandwiches. A cheese sandwich was SO GROSS, but if I used one of those dinosaur sandwich cutters on it, well, then it was the best! Most importantly, keep offering her new stuff, even if you think she’ll refuse it. After a year of picky eating, Bubba started to surprise us by accepting things back into his diet. It’s tempting to only make the stuff they’ll eat because you get desperate for them to eat something, ANYTHING, but it can lead to a picky eating trap from which it’s nearly impossible to escape.

    It’s been hard, but I refused to listen to all the people who gave me crap about how he’s probably a “super taster” and how it’s not a big deal to make him a separate meal (a lifetime of cooking two dinners? No thank you!) of foods he likes. I don’t force anything, but there are more boundaries we follow now to help him be the best eater he can be. I’m glad to see the start of coming out the other side from this now!

  6. I feel ya on the toddler picky eating. My daughter used to eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we gave her. Now, not so much. A funny semi-recent food story was one night when I had cooked salmon and broccoli and rice. She wanted nothing to do with the broccoli…UNTIL… my hubby declared the ones on HIS plate as little “baby broccolis.” At that point she seemed interested and he hand-fed her one by one about 22 pieces of baby broccoli. It was hilarious and cute. :)

    • Aw that is adorable! Peanut is like that too – sometimes when you feed her things, she’ll eat double. Then the next day she turns up her nose like you’re offering her dog poo.

  7. This looks good! My husband has been trying to convince me to invest in a Dutch oven, but I’m honestly not sure what else we would do with it.

  8. How much water did you use? Also, you have 2 different amounts of rice listed.

  9. What kind of rice did you use? Would instant brown rice work? Thanks!

  10. We just recently got a dutch oven, and I am going to try this recipe tonight!

  11. Thanks for the recipe – tried it tonight and it was fantastic! My dutch oven is only 5.5 qt. so I just did 4 thighs. I used a brown Jasmine rice which was ‘hearty’ but white might have worked better. I also used 2 cups of homemade chicken stock instead of the water which I’m pretty sure added a little awesomeness. Or maybe that was my 2nd glass of wine…

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