Chicken for Summer Salads and Pastas

Dinners in the crockpot-to the Beach!

Dinners in the crockpot-to the Beach!

It’s summer and I find I try to think of all kinds of foods I can make for lunches and dinners that don’t require cutting on the oven. And chicken dishes always are a Main stay of our summer cuisine.

My family prefers white meat so most of my recipes are with chicken breasts. I buy bags of frozen boneless, skinless breasts. Sam’s, BJ’s, Costco or any of the Bulk Stores have a great selection. Otherwise I just pick it up on sale when I grocery shop. And if your family likes dark meat you can save a lot by buying whole chickens or mixed packages the meat is interchangeable in all of these recipes.

I like the frozen chicken because the flavor and quality seems to be consistent however don’t get me wrong if there is a big sale on fresh chicken I am there stocking up. That’s another thing I keep track of is the foods I use a lot and then I buy extra when they are on sale.**

So many recipes call for cooked chicken and now a days you can get all kinds of prepared chicken at a premium price so to save money and have cooked chicken on hand I will cook up a batch, bag it, and put it in the freezer. I will prepare the chicken many ways depending on how I plan to use it. For shredded chicken and for cut up I usually season it and throw it in the oven to bake. I season it with onion, garlic, celery salt, pepper, Montreal Chicken seasoning by McCormick, and Knorr’s chicken bouillon, which I buy in the GIANT jar at Walmart (so cheap).

**Always rinse your chicken with fresh water and pat dry before you cook it**

Here are three ways I prepare Chicken so I’ll have cooked chicken for recipes.

BOILING

If You Prefer To boil and Make Stock

Place chicken pieces or whole chicken in a large pot cover with water add seasonings (I use salt, garlic, parsley, poultry seasoning, dehydrated onion and some pepper) bring to boil turn down burner and let it simmer usually about and hour and a half till chicken is falling apart. Turn off heat remove chicken from the stock and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before you begin to pull it apart and shred or dice it. Use in chicken salad, chicken and broccoli wreath, individual chicken pot pies and a whole lot more.

Strain the stock and pour it into ice cube trays, freeze and then put in large zipper lock bag and return to freezer. Use these cubes of stock when recipe calls for chicken stock.

TO BAKE

For cut up chicken I use a shallow covered Corningware dish, pyrex, stoneware or other covered oven safe glass covered dish you may have. Rinse chicken and place in dish in a single layer. Sprinkle seasoning over each piece (I use McCormicks Chicken Montreal, a blend of garlic, onion salt, red pepper, orange peel, paprika, green bell peppers, lemon all in one or two shakes, some dehydrated onion, a little more garlic powder and a little extra virgin olive oil because the breasts are skinless)  on each piece. Bake in a 375° oven for 40 minutes.

For a little extra pizzazz I like to pour a little vermouth on each piece too.

Remove from oven let cool at least 15 minutes and then cut up and put away 1 cup portions in freezer bags.BAKER WITH CHICKEN

But for a whole chicken there is nothing better than a stoneware covered baker like this one from Pampered Chef. I Rub minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper with butter inside the chicken and then I season the outside with garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and dehydrated onion, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of Vermouth (optional) Cover and Bake for 1 hour. The result is Chicken like Arby’s rotisserie. Yummy.

IN MY CROCKPOT

A crock pot is great for pre-cooking chicken. I will just throw some chicken in the crock pot in the morning and let it cook all day on low. I’ll set it on low and go!

4-5 lbs chicken breasts (or if your family likes dark meat you can use one whole chicken small enough to fit in your crock pot

1 cup chopped onion (may substitute dehydrated onion)

¼ cup chopped garlic 3 lg cloves (may use dried minced)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar I prefer using vermouth

1 T brown sugar (optional)

Layer chicken in the crock pot sprinkling each layer with the mixture of seasonings (I use McCormicks Chicken Montreal, a blend of garlic, onion salt, red pepper, orange peel, paprika, green bell peppers, lemon all in one or two shakes, some dehydrated onion, a little more garlic powder.)

Top with vinegar or wine (Vermouth) and cook on low heat 6-8 hours

Remove from crock pot, cool at least 15 minutes and then either shred or cut into pieces.

Pack in freezer bags and freeze to use in your recipes.

Making your own chicken that has been seasoned by you brings and unexpected deliciousness to recipes calling for cooked chicken. All the dishes I prepare seem to get more compliments. Just the other day I bought some chicken salad from Costco that they make from the leftover rotisserie chickens and my daughter said “mom this isn’t your chicken salad is it?” I asked why do you think it’s not mine and she replied, “it doesn’t have much flavor.”

Once you have made some ready made cooked chicken packets you are ready to tackle some recipes.

Try your home cooked chicken in

Chicken salad,

So refreshing and good for you!

So refreshing and good for you!

**SALES ON GROCERIES: Grocery stores always have great sales around holidays, prices on food are especially good around Thanksgiving and there are loads of coupons in the newspaper each Sunday if you still get the paper during the holidays. This is when I buy all my Stove Top stuffing mix for the next year (about 12 boxes) which is usually around $1.79 a box but during the holidays it’s around $ .78 a box, big saving. You can get a great deal on Bruce’s sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, fresh cranberries which I freeze, baking ingredients and canned cream soup. This past year I paid just $ .50 per can for cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup which is usually $1.19 on sale.

Are you a couponer? Did you know that many stores offer a site with coupons that you know are safe to download. Read my post:

Safe Sites for getting coupons on the internet!

Safe Sites for getting coupons on the internet!

check out ‘CAUTION! IS THAT COUPON SITE SAFE?’ for some safe couponing sites sponsored by your favorite stores.

Need some substitutions:

Dehydrated onion is under appreciated. How many times do you go to your pantry for an onion and it is all mushy. Well it happens to me more than I would like to admit. Dehydrated onions are great keep on hand. I can’t tell you how many times I have thrown away soggy onions so now I only buy onions if I am using them immediately and I use dehydrated in all of my cooking. My kids can’t believe they aren’t real. My trick is to give the onion a little time to hydrate I add it when I sauté the veggies just like I would if they were fresh. They will plump right up. I use them in mashed potatoes, pizza, omelette, scrambled eggs everything. It’s great. I have even added them when I am using real onions on a pot roast, or pork tenderloin, they add a much richer onion flavor which infuses the meat with the delicate onion flavor.

Don’t have sour cream or not on sale use cottage cheese instead blend to a smooth consistency in your blender

No buttermilk… add 1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice into measure cup and add enough whole milk to make one cup now you have a cup of buttermilk for those pancakes you wanted to make, or that salad dressing.

Do you find you need lemon juice from time to time? Coca-Cola/Minute Maid makes a great frozen lemon juice it has great flavor and is real lemon juice. You buy it frozen and then you can keep it in the freezer and then refrigerator for a long time. And it’s great in the morning in your tea. more. . . . . . . . . . .

until later…      as always  betti : )

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Take a look at some of the recipes on the sight. Want to make it check out categories and choose your favorite to try…

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FRIED GREEN TOMATOES 5 DIFFERENT RECIPES

 

We were coming home from the pool and we were all hungry…too hungry to consider going home and making something so Jessica said let’s go to Captain D’s. It is a seafood/fast food restaurant owned by the same owners as SHONEYS’ and I had heard it is pretty good so we decided to give it a try.

Jessica and I ordered the Fried Shrimp Platter, baked potato and side salad and Andrew ordered fried clams, and Zachary ordered the children’s fried shrimp with macaroni and cheese and cole slaw. And oh yes the reason I am blogging this…I ordered the fried green tomatoes… 3 slices for $1.09.

Everything was delicious. Who knew fast food could be so good? And the fried green tomatoes just as I imagined they would be when watching “Fried Green Tomatoes” the movie. I remembered I had made them once or twice and had some pretty good recipes at home so…

I came right home and pulled up my recipes to share with you all.

 

Just like at the Whistle Stop Cafe!

Just like at the Whistle Stop Cafe!

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES – 5 Different Varieties

If you fell in love with fried green tomatoes watching “FRIED GREEN TOMATOES” the movie then you will really enjoy these five Different Variations on Fried Green Tomatoes-
Try them all and find your favorite!

 

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES just like at Whistle Stop Cafe

Ingredients:

2-3 green tomatoes sliced
1/2 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
Salt and pepper to taste
Canola oil
Crushed red pepper

Directions:

Slice tomatoes about 1/8” to 1/4″ thick slices. Place side by side on bar pan and sprinkle evenly with salt. Continue with slices layering them and salting them until all tomato slices are salted. Allow them to rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least six (6) hours. This method causes the tomatoes to lose any excess water so that they won’t be soggy.

If you have refrigerated the tomatoes allow them about 10 minutes at room temperature before you proceed.

In a small bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, salt and lots of black pepper.

Dredge tomato slices in mixture until well coated. Let them sit coated for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the skillet and oil.

Heat canola oil in iron skillet over med high burner until very hot. Sprinkle crushed red pepper in hot canola oil and stir. If you like hot food, leave the crushed red pepper in the cooking oil while the tomatoes are being fried. If you do not like hot spicy food, remove the crushed red pepper after you have stirred it a couple of times.

Gently place tomatoes in oil. (Reduce heat when necessary). Let tomatoes brown on one side, then turn and brown on the other. When tomatoes are a golden brown, remove one at a time and place on paper towels to drain.

I’d say serve immediately, but they’re so good, most family members hover around the stove to eat them as they are ready.

Delicious! Don’t forget some dipping sauces: ranch dressing and creamy Italian are good.

 

 

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES PARMESAN
These are cheesy with an Italian flair.

Ingredients:

4 med. green tomatoes
1/2 c. flour

1/3 c. yellow cornmeal
1/3 c. Parmesan/Romano cheese blend
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Slice tomatoes about 1/8” to 1/4″ thick slices. Place side by side on bar pan and sprinkle evenly with salt. Continue with slices layering them and salting them until all tomato slices are salted. Allow them to rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least six (6) hours. This method causes the tomatoes to lose any excess water so that they won’t be soggy.

If you have refrigerated the tomatoes allow them about 10 minutes at room temperature before you proceed.

In a large low side dish, combine cornmeal, cheese, and spices.

Dredge tomato slices in flour, then egg, then cornmeal mixture, covering both sides completely. Place on baking sheet in single layer at least 20 minutes until ready to cook.

Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium high heat reducing heat as necessary and fry 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels before serving.

 

 

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES IN CORNMEAL
I made some changes in recipe from COOKS.COM

Ingredients:

1 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
Oil or solid vegetable shortening for frying
2 lbs. (4 or 5) green tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice tomatoes about 1/8” to 1/4″ thick slices. Place side by side on bar pan and sprinkle evenly with salt. Continue with slices layering them and salting them until all tomato slices are salted. Allow them to rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least six (6) hours. This method causes the tomatoes to lose any excess water so that they won’t be soggy.

If you have refrigerated the tomatoes allow them about 10 minutes at room temperature before you proceed.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour and sugar.

Dredge both sides of the tomatoes in the mixture. Press the slices firmly into the meal so it will make a good coating.
Put enough oil or shortening in an iron skillet to come to a depth of about 1/4″ and heat over medium high heat.
Add the tomatoes to the hot oil a few at a time without crowding and fry about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn and cook the other sides.
When both sides are golden brown, remove from the skillet, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings.

 

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES DILL
Delicious dill flavor

Ingredients:

4 med. sized green tomatoes
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. yellow corn meal
1/ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. salad oil
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. sour cream
Fresh snipped dill or dill weed

Directions:

Slice tomatoes about 1/8” to 1/4″ thick slices. Place side by side on bar pan and sprinkle evenly with salt. Continue with slices layering them and salting them until all tomato slices are salted. Allow them to rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least six (6) hours. This method causes the tomatoes to lose any excess water so that they won’t be soggy.

If you have refrigerated the tomatoes allow them about 10 minutes at room temperature before you proceed.

Mix dry ingredients together. Melt butter and heat oil in skillet. Dip tomatoes in milk then roll in dry mixture. Fry on medium heat until tender and golden brown, 3 minutes on each side.
Top with sour cream and sprinkle with dill.

 
CAJUN FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
Spicy, perfect for an appetizer

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb. med. to lg. very green tomatoes (about 3)
1 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2-3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

Slice tomatoes about 1/8” to 1/4″ thick slices. Place side by side on bar pan and sprinkle evenly with salt. Continue with slices layering them and salting them until all tomato slices are salted. Allow them to rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least six (6) hours. This method causes the tomatoes to lose any excess water so that they won’t be soggy.

If you have refrigerated the tomatoes allow them about 10 minutes at room temperature before you proceed.

Combine black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder thoroughly; sprinkle evenly on both sides of each tomato slice, pressing seasoning in with hands and using it all. Let tomato slices sit at least 20 minutes.

Combine flour and baking powder in a large dish with low sides.
In a large heavy skillet, heat oil 1/2 inch deep over medium heat until hot. Just before frying, dredge each tomato slice thoroughly in the flour. Shake off excess and fry slices in a single layer in the hot oil until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Try them soon, you’ll be glad you did: )  until later, betti