Monday, February 20, 2012

Easy Chicken Meals on the Fly

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 I have a solution for you that will make dinner much easier the next time you have "one of those days." You know, when everyone is starving and cranky and you need dinner NOW. Are you ready for it?

The next time you cook a chicken, or buy a rotisserie, or bake chicken breasts, chop up the leftovers and freeze in 1 cup portions. I like to freeze as many bags as I can come up with, because they are so handy!

Then, the next day you know its going to be a doozy by dinner time, take out a bag and either thaw in the fridge, or in a bowl of water if you need it faster.

Now here is the list of meals I've come up with that use said cup of chicken:

1) Pizza- Take either a store bought crust or homemade (I do mine in the bread machine, my favorite appliance EVER), lather with red sauce and cheese, and throw the meat on top. For hot wing pizza (my husbands favorite), drench chicken in hot sauce, spread over the plain crust, and put mozarella on top.

2) Pasta- Cook whatever noodles you have on hand, add chicken, and decide on a variety of sauce options. If you have a jar of red or white, go for it! Or you can toss in olive oil and add a simple favorite seasoning. The simplest option of all may be salt and butter, topped with a shredded cheese or even jarred parm.

3) Salad- Chop up some quick veggies and top with chicken and your favorite dressing.

4) A Sandwich- While this isn't an option for a family dinner, every once in awhile when my husband is running late and I have to find something quick to send with him for lunch, I'll defrost a bag of chicken, and add mayo. Voila, chicken sandwich!

5) Soup- I shared my recipe for Chicken (or Turkey) noodle soup here, and it is a great use for your cup of meat. Done in 15 minutes or less!

6) Couscous- Couscous is a brilliant grain because it takes only 5 minutes to make! There are several yummy ideas you can try. Mexican couscous: Add a can of black beans, some frozen corn, a tsp of cumin, and a dollop of salsa or some cheddar. Whatever you like/have on hand! This is good with or without chicken, I like to make it when I'm out of meat and need something with protein quick. Simple: Add your favorite green vegetable (I use either frozen broccoli florets or snow peas) to the couscous, some butter and salt, and sliced almonds (optional), mix with chicken.

7) Casserole- This is a bit more time consuming, but you can add your pre-cooked chicken to a favorite casserole and bake. Think chicken and rice, macaroni, pot pie, etc.

8) Stir fry- Cook a bag of frozen veggies, add chicken, stir in some teriyaki, squeeze a little lemon juice, add freshly grated pepper, and serve over rice.

This is my quick reference list! Can you think of any good ideas to add?

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