This is a recipe I created for a cooking contest called Dining On A Dollar (on another site). It’s so delicious. It’s an easy-to-prepare casserole with a Mexican flair. Using canned and jarred selections from the grocery store will help reduce prep time. Depending on how spicy you like your dishes, you can opt for a mild or hotter salsa and/or include or omit the optional jalapeno pepper. Even going on the mild side, it still has a nice Mexican feel to it.
Slice each chicken thigh into thin strips. Heat oil in skillet; add chicken strips, onion and jalapeno (if using), and sauté, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until no pink remains in chicken; drain excess liquid. In a bowl, mix together cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add chicken/onion mixture and zucchini to bowl, and toss to coat with the seasoning mixture; set aside.
Dissolve bouillon cube in hot water to make a broth. Place rice in bottom of 2-quart baking dish. Pour broth over rice, and stir. Spread rice to cover bottom of baking dish.
Spread seasoned chicken/zucchini mixture on top of rice, top with a layer of salsa, then sprinkle sliced olives over salsa.
Cover baking dish and bake in oven at 350° for 45 minutes, or until chicken and zucchini are thoroughly cooked and rice is soft. Remove lid, sprinkle the top with cheese and return baking dish to oven (uncovered) for another 5-10 minutes, or until cheese starts to melt.