adventures in freezer cooking – chicken edition

chkn collageDay One was spent on the Basic Red Sauce recipes and Day Two was all  of the chicken recipes, a natural division.  The most difficult part of Day Two of freezer cooking was waiting for all the various parts to cool prior to placing in the freezer bags.

Chicken and Broccoli Bake (makes 3 servings, 4-6 servings each)

What I loved about this dish was that it didn’t use any “cream of…” canned soups, making it closer to actual homemade.  I try to avoid processed foods as much as possible… don’t get me started on the “15% chicken broth added” chicken I bought because it was on sale for $1.79/pound.  It’s too salty and affects the texture and taste.  Never again!  I’ll pay extra for a more natural product.

Ingredients

  • about 6 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 pound fresh white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules *I had only heard of bouillon cubes before and had no idea what these were.  I saw a small jar of no-sodium “loose” bouillon near the regular cubes and grabbed that.  As it was no sodium, I added a half teaspoon of salt to the recipe
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (you can eliminate this or use a lesser amount if you hate curry, but I couldn’t even taste it)
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 6 cups broccoli pieces (about 1 1/4 pounds), washed
  • 6 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 6 one-gallon freezer bags, label 3
  • 3 one-quart freezer bags

  1. Trim chicken as desired and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Cook in large skillet until no longer pink.  Remove from heat and cool.  Divide cooled chicken evenly among 3 unlabeled freezer bags.
  2. While chicken cools, melt butter in a separate large saucepan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add flour and stir.  Mixture will be lumpy.  Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add bouillon, curry and pepper; stir.  Gradually add water and milk; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.  Whisk, if necessary, to make a smooth sauce.  Add lemon juice only after sauce has thickened.  Cool sauce (this would be a good time to complete step 5 and/or start next recipe).
  4. Divide cooled sauce evenly over the chicken.  Measure about 2 cups of broccoli pieces into each bag of chicken and sauce.  Seal bags.
  5. Measure 2 cups cheese and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs into each of the three 1-quart freezer bags.  Seal bags.
  6. Place one bag of chicken/broccoli and one bag of cheese/breadcrumbs into each labeled 1-gallon bag.  Seal and freeze.  I did not use 2 separate gallon bags- I just labeled 3 gallon-sized bags, put the chicken, sauce and broccoli in and then put the cheese/breadcrumbs on top of the broccoli.  Using two bags will prevent the quart-sized bag from getting sauce on it, but it wasn’t a big issue for me (and the cheese/breadcrumbs bag stayed pretty clean).

To Enjoy

  1. Completely thaw one entree in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Place chicken and broccoli mixture in an ungreased baking dish and sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs.  Bake, uncovered, for 35 -40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.  Serve over rice, if desired.

Chicken Curry (makes 3 entrees, 4-6 servings each)

This was a very mild curry and quite delicious.  As a tip, don’t buy your curries (or any ethnic spice) from the grocery store spice section.  It is much cheaper if you buy it online, in the international section of  a large grocery store or even a separate  store that caters to the ethnicity in question.  We bought a large bag of curry at Wegmans (an awesome grocery store chain in the Northeast) for less than the cost of the spice rack brand!  Even if I have to stock up on our trips back home, it’s well worth it.

Ingredients

  • about 6 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter * I used only 1 stick because fat
  • 2 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium)
  • 1/4 cup curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger *Tragedy struck as I was getting the ingredients together, when I realized the ginger we had bought for this dish was missing!  I believe it got thrown away, unnoticed, in the bottom of a grocery bag.  I used 2 teaspoons of dried ginger instead.
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 18 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 one-gallon freezer bags, labeled

  1. Trim chicken as desired and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Cook in large skillet until no longer pink.  Remove from heat and cool.  Divide cooled chicken evenly among freezer bags.
  2. While chicken cools, melt butter in a separate large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add curry powder, ginger, garlic, sugar, bouillon and salt; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes longer.  Mixture will be like a paste.
  5. Gradually add the water and milk; cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened.  Whisk, if necessary, to make a  smooth sauce.  Add lemon juice only after sauce has thickened.  Cool sauce.
  6. Divide cooled sauce evenly over chicken. This is a challenge – it might be easier to keep the bags upright in 3 bowls, as they have a tendency to fall over and leak as you fill them.  Either prop them up or fill them one at a time and then seal immediately.  Seal and freeze.

To Enjoy

  1. Completely thaw one entree in the refrigerator.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, bring the chicken and curry mixture to a simmer and cook until heated through.  Do not boil.
  3. Serve curry over your favorite rice.

Chicken Cordon Bleu (makes about 12 rolls)

I love a particular brand of frozen stuffed chicken breasts, but this was so delicious that I will be making this homemade version from now on!

Ingredients

  • about 6 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 12 slices Swiss cheese
  • 12 slices deli ham
  • wax paper
  • plastic wrap
  • 3 one-gallon freezer bags, labeled

On hand for cooking each entree

  • 2 teaspoons melted butter per chicken roll

  1. Trim chicken as desired.  Lay each piece of chicken, smooth side down, between two sheets of wax paper.  Using a rolling pin or a meat tenderizer, pound each chicken breast piece to 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Lay out three shallow dishes.  Measure the flour into one, eggs into another and breadcrumbs into the third.  Take one piece of chicken, coat with flour, dip in egg and then coat with breadcrumbs.  Set aside.  Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.  Discard remaining flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.
  3. Fold/roll one piece of cheese into a small bundle and place in the middle of one slice of ham.
  4. Fold/roll the sides of the ham in, enveloping the cheese.
  5. Place the ham/cheese bundle on the narrow end of a breaded chicken piece, roll chicken into a packet and secure tightly by wrapping in plastic wrap.
  6. Repeat with remaining cheese, ham and chicken.  Divide the chicken rolls evenly between the freezer bags.  Seal and freeze.

To Enjoy

  1. Remove desired number of chicken rolls from freezer.  Discard plastic wrap while chicken is still frozen and place rolls in a greased baking dish.  Place in the refrigerator to thaw completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Brush each chicken roll with 2 teaspoons melted  butter and bake for 45 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 170 F.

Note: The “Print and PDF” button below will allow you to delete as much of the text and pictures  as you like prior to printing, so you’ll save on ink and paper.

Advertisements

please chirp in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s