Chicken the Solution for Dinner

Is dinnertime frantic for you?

katelyn-chick2.jpgNo matter how well I think I’ve planned, many times dinnertime seems to arrive much too early. I’ve found two easy solutions for a quick dinner prep.

Once or twice a month, grill a large package of skinless chicken breasts. Freeze in individual pieces or enough pieces to feed your family. Defrosted grilled chicken breasts can be shredded for quick addition into salads, tacos, and casseroles. They can be served as the main course when you’re tight on time.

Is it late-afternoon all you have is frozen uncooked chicken? You can hurry up the defrost time for frozen chicken by submerging it in its airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to be sure it stays cool. A one-pound package of boneless chicken breasts will defrost in an hour or less. It speeds up the defrosting time if the breasts are individually frozen.

Katelyn thinks chicken is a great idea for dinner.

Chicken a healthy choice for protein
Chicken is one of the most used meats in the world, because of its low cost. Ounce for ounce, skinless chicken is one of the lowest-fat meats around. Lean chicken is a great source of protein and vitamin B12. Chicken is low in calories and cholesterol, unless it’s fried. Although breast meat has the lowest fat content, even skinless dark meat is comparatively low in fat and high in iron and other essential vitamins and minerals.

Organic, natural or free-range what’s the difference?
Organic farmers never use antibiotics, or synthetic hormones, or pesticides in production. Organic chickens receive organic feed (no GMOs). There are no such standards or inspections for natural, pastured, and conventional chicken. Free-range means the chickens have access to the outdoors.

Do you have visions of a family farm with children scattering seed for the chickens in front of the barn? Do you think chickens roam the yard, scratching the ground, and pulling up worms. But, “free-range” only indicates there is “access” to the outdoors. There may be a small door in the sidewall of a standard chicken house. The chickens may never use it.The freshest chicken I ever ate was in Italy, when I stayed with my cousins in Tuscany on their vineyard. They keep a large garden and a chicken coop. When chicken is on the menu, Mirella goes to the coop, picks out a chicken and in a couple of hours, it’s served for dinner. Now that’s fresh!

Fresh is allowed by the Federal Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on labeling of raw poultry products if the internal temperature has not been below 26 degrees. That means your “fresh” chicken may have been frozen.

Prevent cross-contamination
1) Always wash your hands before and after handling food.
2) Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw poultry and their juices separate from other foods.
3) Wash cutting board, knife, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after coming in contact with raw poultry.

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