Cooked Chicken {for soup, casseroles, other recipes}

cookedMany recipes that I make regularly and many recipes that I have posted here include “cooked chicken” as an ingredient. When I was first learning to cook, that ingredient kind of scared me. Cooked? Cooked how? Why? If it’s already cooked, then what am I doing now with this recipe; I thought I was about to cook, not already cooked? I don’t have time to cook chicken now.

I have learned and grown since then.

Over time, I saw that many cooks suggest using leftover rotisserie chicken when a recipe calls for cooked chicken. This is a perfectly fine option and one I sometimes use, but it seemed to me that it would get expensive. It also seemed like something I ought to be able to handle at home on my own.

Somewhere along the way, I saw that some people suggest poaching raw chicken to get the cooked chicken needed for many soups and casseroles. Poaching is basically boiling it in water on the stove top until it is cooked through. I did this for years, and it was…okay… The chicken was cooked through and safe, I guess, but it didn’t have any flavor at all, and I would never say it was actually GOOD. Some people jazz up poached chicken by boiling it with chicken broth and some vegetables and spices, but that seems halfway to making chicken noodle soup, and that wasn’t what I wanted.

Probably five years ago or so, I came across this post about how to cook chicken on Our Best Bites, and my chicken has never been the same since. Now I either grill my chicken on the grill or I bake it in the oven. It has so much more flavor and gives me consistent results. I mainly use the oven-baked method because, usually, if I am grilling chicken, I am grilling chicken to eat, not to put in a different recipe.

bag to freezeI hope some of you will find this method as helpful as I have. I now regularly buy and bake a large family pack of breasts at a time. I then bag and freeze the cooked breasts, so I always have cooked chicken on hand for when I suddenly have a craving for a delicious soup or casserole. The chicken will thaw quickly in a sink of cool water or in the microwave, so you will be just minutes away from cooked chicken. The chicken is also flavorful enough to just eat as is for a healthy lunch or in a sandwich or to top a salad.

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Cooked Chicken {for soup, casseroles, other recipes}

Ingredients:family pack

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (I usually buy a big family pack and make a large amount at once to freeze and have on hand)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt (I use kosher)
  • black pepper (I use coarse ground or freshly cracked)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easier clean-up.
  2. Remove excess fat from chicken with a sharp knife.
  3. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. If you have any thick breasts or breasts that are much thicker on one end than the other, I recommend slicing them in half the long way to get more evenly thick pieces of meat. For a while I had trouble with part of the chicken being overcooked and part being under-cooked. By slicing the chicken, the cooking is much more even.
  5. Place the sliced chicken pieces on your prepared pan. Brush one side of the chicken with olive oil and then generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the chicken over and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until a thermometer poked into the thickest part reads 165 degrees or higher and juices run clear. (Tip: If some of your pieces are extra thin, you might check them and remove them from the pan sooner than the other pieces.) Boneless breasts cook pretty quickly, so start with less time and add more if needed. thermom

What to do with it?

  • Bag it up and freeze it for a future recipe.
  • Make chicken and wild rice soup or chicken tortilla soup or taco soup
  • Add it to a fresh salad for some protein and to make a complete meal
  • Make taquitos
  • Make BBQ chicken pizza
  • Make a casserole
  • Use a piece for a simple chicken sandwich
  • chop it up for chicken salad

Source: Our Best Bites

 

 

 

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2 Comments on “Cooked Chicken {for soup, casseroles, other recipes}

  1. Pingback: Chicken Noodle Soup | Christine's Taste of Heaven

  2. Pingback: Chicken Verde Wonton Taco Appetizer | Christine's Taste of Heaven

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