Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The First Pantry Challege: Chicken Breasts!

My pal Shannon from over at the Motivators threw me the first Pantry Challenge (and inspired pretty much the whole group to clean out their pantries I think! Eek!) so here I go! Here's the message I got from Shannon.

"I loved your ideas with the roast & the whole chicken. I'll have to save them for when I find those items on sale.

OK, here is my challenge for you. I have a freezer full of chicken breast that I got on sale & I also have a ton of dark red kidney beans as well as white rice & pasta(these are things I use very frequently). What can you come up with? I will take as many ideas as you have."

Isn't this par for all of our freezers? We find a great buy on something as versatile as chicken breasts and then stare at it. Yes, chicken has potential but you can only make the same stuffing casserole, broccoli and rice bake, and grilled breast so many times before you are ready to curse Mr. Perdue into oblivion. The same thing can happen to ground beef. So here's my answer to the challenge.

Chicken Chili! Think about it. You brown up those breasts and chop them up fairly fine. Grab your kidney beans and a large $2 can of diced tomatoes and you are on your way. It's different, uses what you have on hand and is really great for the recent weather. Not to mention that you can put it in the crockpot and have a one dish easy dinner. Pair it with my Cornbread and you are on your way!

1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
½ cup melted butter
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 ¾ cup flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

Blend together sugar, egg, milk, butter and cornmeal until smooth. Stir in flour, salt, powder and soda. Pour in greased and floured (or use a bit of the cornmeal) 9x9 pan. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

But Sarah that was a gimmee! So I'll give you some more takes I have. Cheesy Cornball Chicken - this one was an invention from one of my own pantry dives when I was running low and didn't want to head for the grocery store.

Corny Cheeseball Chicken
3 boneless, skinless breast halves
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
¼ green pepper (diced)
1 med tomato (diced)
1 bunch green onions (diced)
1 12oz package dipping cheese (with or without jalapenos)
6 oz milk
Mexican chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown chicken in large skillet. In med bowl mix together corn, green pepper, tomato, and onion. Season lightly with salt, pepper and chili powder and set aside. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and return to skillet. Stir in corn mixture and allow to simmer. Prepare cheese according to package directions and stir into chicken and corn mixture. Pour into oven proof dish and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until beginning to brown and getting bubbly. Serve with flour tortillas.

There's also L.M. Lion's favorite! Italian Skillet Chicken. Simply brown your chicken breasts and add some quartered fresh tomatoes, garlic, parmesean cheese and Italian seasoning. Top with some shredded mozarella and bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until your cheese starts to brown.

And if you think you have exhausted my chicken reserves you are dead wrong. My favorite thing to do is to grab menu items from restaurants and try to recreate them at home. Some faves around the neighborhood are Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with homefries; Chicken Cheesesteaks; Chicken Reubens; Chicken Ceasar Salads or Wraps. I'm a huge fan of the gourmet pizzas too. Check out my Faker's Gourmet Pizza's then shake it up to suit your own mission!

A Faker’s Gourmet Pizza
1 premade pizza crust (Boboli)
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 boneless skinless chicken breast half (cooked and chopped bite size)
1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese
Additional toppings:
1 jar sundried tomatoes
½ pkg sliced fresh mushrooms
½ bag frozen broccoli
½ pkg sliced fresh mushrooms

Place pizza crust on lightly greased cookie sheet. Top with preferred amount of alfredo sauce and chicken. Then add preferred topping blends and cover with cheese. Bake according to pizza package directions or 425 until cheese is browned.

This also works with A1, cooked steak-ums and shredded cheddar cheese; olive oil, Italian seasoning, thinly sliced tomatoes, prociutto, and very light cheese; or blue cheese dressing, chicken tossed with hot sauce, and blue cheese crumbles – obviously served with a side of celery!

So Shannon, even if you don't ever make any of these, I hope it got those culinary ideas flowing. Happy Eats! Any more takers? I'm up for The Challenge!



Wyndi said...

I make chicken chili all the time. its the only way my kids will eat it.

S said...

I've never made chicken chili before. Sounds great.