Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thrifty, Tasty, Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Ideas

                   I'm busy. I bet you are too. It's part of the parenting gig. We're all trying to balance work, school, shuttling kids from point A to point B, and hopefully squeezing in a little time for ourselves. Having something quick and healthy for dinner is not going to happen without some planning, unless you can afford a personal chef. So today's Thrifty, Tasty, Tuesday, isn't going to be a recipe as much as an idea.
                   Boneless chicken breast is high in protein and very inexpensive. Usually one of my local grocers has giant packages on sale for $1.99 a pound. And there is no end to ways to use it. If you type “boneless chicken breast” into Google, you'd fine millions of recipes. But are you really going to whip up a batch of Parmesan encrusted chicken between Sally's karate class and Tommy's piano lesson, while helping little Suzie with her multiplication tables?
                   If you're like me, you're going to be very tempted to stop at Wendy's or whip up a batch of blue box mac and cheese. With a little planning you can do something much healthier that only takes a few minutes longer. When I have time, I buy one of those giant packs of chicken and pre-cook it. That way I have it on-hand for a quick and easy dinner.
Grilled Chicken for the Freezer

You will need:
                   a large package of boneless chicken breast
                   olive oil
                   salt & pepper

1.)   Pre-heat a non-stick grill pan to medium heat.*

2.)   Trim fat off chicken breasts and pound until they are about ¾ of an inch thick.

3.)   Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper

4.)   Cook first side until it's nice and brown and the top is beginning to look cooked.

5.)   Flip over and cook the other side.

6.)   Remove from pan and let cool

7.)   Once the chicken is completely cool, cut into strips and store in a freezer bag. Try to spread the chicken out into one layer within the bag.
Cute penguin print totally optional.

8.)   Place flat in freezer for 1-2 hours.

9.)   Take bag out of freezer and toss the chicken onto the counter to keep the pieces from sticking together. Then put back in the freezer. This will make getting them apart easier later.

*You can also do this on your outdoor grill. Mine is still covered with snow.

            Here are three ways to use your chicken:

1.)   Chicken Quesadillas. Smear refried beans on ½ a flour tortilla, add chicken, and sprinkle with cheese. Pop them in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Serve with salsa.

2.)   Caesar Salad. Top salad greens with chicken and croutons for a quick Caesar salad.

3.)   Chicken Broccoli & Pasta. Toss chicken with cooked pasta, broccoli and olive oil. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.

In the coming weeks, I'll offer more ways to use your pre-cooked chicken. I'd also love to hear your ideas! Check out my new page called Thrifty Tasty Tuesday, etc. I've compiled all of the recipes I've ever posted on this blog in one place.