Wondering what to do with that 20 lbs of chicken you just got such a great deal on? If you are anything like me, you would just leave it in the fridge until it really starts to stink and then throw it out!
Above is my “Italian Chicken”. I put the chicken breasts in the small broiler pan I have (spraying it with Pam first), dump a can of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes on top, a few squirts of Italian salad dressing and then toss peppers and onions on top and bake at 350 for about an hour. Sorry it’s not specific, that’s how we do it around here. Alternately, I put it in the crock pot for 8 hours on low, since my oven has been “unreliable” lately. Serve it over rice or pasta with a salad or veggies. Or make Mexican Chicken, dumping Rotel tomotoes on top along with canned corn and black beans and some salsa and sour cream on the side and serving with Spanish Rice. Save the leftovers to make a taco salad for the next day’s lunch.
If I am facing down a family pack of chicken breasts or tenders here is my usual plan:
Toss one (or more) night’s dinner in a gallon freezer bag with teriyaki sauce (either the vault size from Sam’s or what I have found with coupons for free). If you know you will be cooking it on the stove, it works better to chop it into slices (or use kitchen shears like I do) then just ”wok” it on the stove with a little oil and whatever leftover veggies you have in the fridge. If you are lucky you can talk your husband into lighting up the grill, all the better. Sorry, but I will NOT sweep snow off the grill, that is “Man’s Work”. Buy a bag of prepacked frozen stir fry veggies to make it all the easier. Typically on Sunday’s I like to get everything prepped for the week and have my husband cook a huge batch of basmati rice (cheaper, tastier and healthier than Minute Rice) . His secret ingredient is Mongolian Fire Oil. Just a splash, otherwise the kids won’t touch it. Add a little more sauce and you have one dinner down. I let my kids dip their veggies into the teriyaki sauce using my old (single days) bar shot glasses. That way there isn’t a lot to spill and it make it more exciting for them to actually try the veggies. Label the freezer bag and put in in the freezer, defrost in fridge the night before. Add a can of pineapple tidbits or serve with mandarin oranges on the side.
Start the stove boiling a toss a few chicken breasts in (or likewise put them in the crock-pot for 8 hours on low with some chicken broth). When cooked and cooled, dice a few bags worth to add to chicken soup or salads over the week. Put a few bags in the fridge and then label and put a few more bags in the freezer. Then it is really easy to add the unfrozen chicken pieces to salads for lunch or toss into a a one pot chicken soup recipe. Or is you are really pressed for time, add the frozen diced chicken to Chicken Helper and dinner is on the table.
Or if you are ambitious, cook the chicken breasts in the crock-pot overnight and make easy chicken enchiladas or pulled chicken sandwiches ala Once a Month Mom.
After a big store run I will usually make a big pot of rice, hard boil some eggs for salads during the week and bake some potatoes. Those diced chicken breasts get stuffed into baked potatoes, usually mixed with a Green Giant cheesy veggie mix in the microwave if I am pressed for time or steamed fresh broccoli, cauliflower and carrots if I have them available. This idea was inspired by Marie Calendar’s picnic combinations, back when we used to eat out. I bake large potatoes and sweet potatoes upside down with holes pricked in them for about an hour at 400. When they have cooled, I scrape out the half the contents and mash in a separate bowl. For twice baked sweet-potatoes I add brown sugar, honey and butter, sometimes crushed pineapple and sprinkle with cinnamon. For the regular potatoes I mix up sour cream, bacon bits and butter and wrap them in plastic and then a freezer bag for side dishes during the week. Sounds indulgent but my justification is that I am not feeding my family all the preservatives in store bought instant potatoes and the taste is so much better. These freeze really well and microwave easily for fast dinners or I have been known to dive into them for lunch.
McCormick’s Zesty Chicken Marinade- My daughter is crazy about this and it is super easy to make. Follow the directions on the package and put mix into a gallon sized freezer bag with uncooked chicken. Add vinegar and oil and let it marinade during the freezing and defrosting process. I make the marinade mix in the freezer bag so I don’t have an extra bowl to wash. Defrost in fridge the night before you plan to serve it and then back at 350 for about 40 minutes. Since the oven is already on, I will usually dice some russet potatoes, coat them with parsley and olive oil and bake at the same time.
If you happen to have a lot of peppers and onions in the house, freeze the peppers, onions and uncooked chicken breast pieces in a freezer bag. Thaw and add jarred marinara sauce for an easy chicken cacciatori in your crock pot, served over rice or noodles.
Worse case, dredge those chicken tenders through egg and/or milk and use Shake N’ Bake to make homemade chicken tenders. Flash-freeze the excess on a baking a pan in the freezer covered in wax paper and save the rest for next time. Really, kids will eat anything if they have the right dip!