This column is for people who have busy lives. That covers just about all of us, right? In the middle of the week when you have been putting in long days at work, picking the kids up from practice, and fighting to stay awake near the close of the day, it seems like ordering pizza from the local vendor is more than just a temptation. You'd love to make a great dinner that you and your family will love, but you don't have the time or the energy.
Chicken to the rescue! This month, I've included a simple method for marinating and thawing boneless, skinless chicken breasts simultaneously. After leaving them marinade for the entire day, you can pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes and they're done. The 15 minute baking time gives you a chance to put some veggies on the stove, make some rice, or throw together a simple salad.
So, when you're strapped for time this month and your loved ones are anticipating pizza delivery at the door, surprise them with a sit-down dinner that takes less than 20 minutes to make. Heck, the pizza guy would have a hard time competing with that!
Choose-a-Flavor Baked Chicken
The recipe below makes dinner for two. Just multiply or divide the recipes to get the number you need. Also, experiment with new marinades to keep your diet from becoming monotonous.
2 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz. total)
1/2 c. marinade (see below for some recipe ideas)
In the morning, place the two frozen chicken breasts and marinade in a resealable plastic bag. Shake the bag until the breasts are well coated with the marinade. Place the bag in the refrigerator and continue with your busy day.
When you are ready to make dinner, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the marinated, thawed chicken breasts in a small, glass baking dish. Bake the chicken for 15 minutes or until the juices run clear when poked with a fork.
Honey Mustard Marinade Combine 1/4 c. salad oil, 2 T. lemon juice, 2 T. honey, 2 T. of your favorite mustard, and 1/2 clove garlic. Mix well. Makes 1/2 cup.
Italian Parmesan Marinade Combine 1/3 c. of your favorite light Italian salad dressing, 2 T. grated parmesan cheese, and 1 T. snipped parsley. Mix well. Makes 1/2 cup.
Combine 1/4 c. olive oil, 2 T. wine vinegar, 1 T. honey, 1/4 tsp. dried basil, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper. Mix well. Makes 1/2 cup.