If you’re like me, you don’t always have the time or energy to cook a big meal. Cooking ahead and freezing food can mean having food on hand whenever you need it, but for some that sounds like spending all day, or at least several hours, in the kitchen. It doesn’t have to be that way!
You can simplify and save time by making several versions of one thing at a time. I like to use chicken as an example, but you can use this for other foods. Instead of just making one chicken dish, try making throwing together 3 or 4 (in separate baking dishes) and baking them all at once. It will add a few minutes to your prep time, but save you several hours. Try a combination of any of the following.
1. Lemmon & Pepper chicken (see recipe June 27, 2007).
2. Teriyaki Chicken – just place the chicken in the pan and cover with teriyaki sauce.
3. Chicken with tomato and mozzarella – placed chicken in the pan, cover with a can of diced tomatoes, add some garlic if you like, and top with shredded mozzarella.
4. Spicy herb chicken – place chicken in the pan and add salt, paprika, oregano, basil, garlic powder, cayenne, and any other spices that sound good!
5. Onion and garlic chicken – place chicken in the pan and add sliced onions, fresh garlic, and a few pats of butter.
6. Quick raspberry jalapeno chicken – scaled down from my more time consuming recipe, place chicken in the pan, top with some raspberry jelly or preserves, sliced, fresh jalapeno, a little onion powder, brown sugar, and some salt.
7. Other fruity chickens – if you have cans of fruit that you’re not sure what to do with, fresh fruit that needs to be used up before it goes bad, or fruit juice, put it in there with the chicken! You can add onions, peppers, and/or molasses, for a nice twist.
All of these can combine well with quick and easy accompaniments and sides. In the summer, it’s nice to serve chicken on a bed of salad. Pasta, rice, couscous, or baked sweet potatoes make nice additions, with or without the salad. Or, you can always use chicken in a sandwich.