By Theresa Albert www.myfriendinfood.com
Many of us are trying to get more high protein foods in our diet. Chicken is a great way to get it. It’s a family favourite that lends itself to all ethnic dishes, provides lean quality protein and with a little planning, easy weeknight meals.
With some simple planning you can take one whole chicken, prep it on Sunday and enjoy it all week long with leftover chicken recipes. All you need for a family of four is two whole chickens, cut into pieces, (or for a few extra pennies, you can buy the cut pieces and save on time) then creatively prep everything on the weekend. It should take under an hour, and if you can coerce the family into helping, even less. You will find everything you need for the easy chicken recipes listed below. Get ready to be organized, well fed and serene beyond your imagination.
Step 1: Getting prepared-Sunday
Cut a whole chicken into pieces and divide into breasts, tenders, legs, drums and wings.
Step 2: Recipe #1: Marinated Chicken Breasts
Place four breasts in freezer bag #1 and add marinade. There are some fabulous chicken breast recipes on www.chicken.ca or you can use a bottled sauce to add some flavour to the meal. Be sure to use a no sugar sauce if you intend to barbeque as the sugar will burn. If you are going to bake, simply empty the contents of the bag into a baking dish and pop it into the oven. Serve with steamed broccoli.
Step 3: Recipe #2 Chicken Prima Vera
Place eight chicken tenders in freezer bag #2 and add 1 tbsp of Italian Seasoning and ½ tsp garlic powder. This can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or frozen for up to three weeks. When ready to cook, simply thaw in the microwave (if necessary) and place chicken and red peppers in a large pan. Simmer in your favourite bottled tomato sauce until chicken is cooked through. Serve over whole grain pasta and dinner’s ready in 15 minutes!
Step 4: Recipe #3 Mango Thai Chicken Legs
Peel the skin off of four chicken legs and place into freezer bag #3. Add 1 tsp grated fresh ginger and one minced clove of garlic and place bag in either fridge for three days or freezer for three weeks (thaw in fridge before using).
On the night of...feel free to use a tinned or jarred Thai chicken sauce or gather together a few basics:
1 mango, 2 orange peppers (or sliced zucchini), 14 oz coconut milk, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp hot-garlic chili sauce and one bunch of fresh basil cleaned and chopped.
Mix together everything except the fresh basil and pour over thawed chicken, bake for 45 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 F. Stir in basil.
Serve over brown rice with a crisp salad.
Step 5: Recipe #4 Shaked and Baked
Place all four drums and wings into freezer bag #4. Add ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs, ¼ cup cornmeal, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese. Shake. Pour off any mixture that did not stick and store chicken, as is, in the fridge for three days or freezer for three weeks (thaw in fridge before proceeding). Preheat oven to 375 F. Oil a baking sheet and pull chicken pieces from bag. (Do not dump out as crumbs will burn.) Bake for 45-60 minutes until cooked through. Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks and dip.
Step 6: Recipe #5 Chicken soup
Place carcass in freezer bag #5 along with: 2 chopped sticks of celery, 1 onion (quartered, skin on), 1 carrot, cut into 6 pieces, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp of white vinegar. Place in the freezer for up to three weeks. Empty this entire bag, frozen into a slow cooker filled with 8-12 cups of boiling water. Cook on high for 8 hours then strain the broth and discard the scraps. (If you are really keen, you can pick through the bones to find some nice pieces of chicken!) Add some frozen peas and corn and a nice baguette. Here’s a video to give you step by step help. http://chicken.ca/cooking-tips/videos/slow_comfort/
About the Author
Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com