Do you ever hop into the kitchen all ready to make dinner only to realize you totally forgot that the recipe you planned to make requires cooked chicken? And all you have are a couple of totally raw chicken breasts?
This used to bug me so much that I stopped even planning on making recipes calling for pre-cooked chicken. But there are many tasty recipes that need pre-cooked chicken, including the quesadillas I plan on making after I finish this post!
Instead of just avoiding these recipes I brainstormed a few ways to cook the chicken quickly and easily and solve this dilemma. One method comes from my mom, another inspired by this post, and the last is more of an obvious solution.
The longest, but still quick and easy, option is to roast some chicken breast in the oven.
Preheat oven to 450°
Liberally season both sides of chicken breast with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Depending on the recipe you are making the chicken for you may also want other seasonings that go with your dish.
Place chicken in a greased baking dish and roast for 18-25 minutes depending on the size of the breasts. The chicken will be cooked through when the juices run clear and the temperature reaches 165° degrees Fahrenheit or 75° degrees Celsius. (Any readers out there using Celsius?)
Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes so it retains its juices. Then dice, shred, etc. for your recipe!
Chicken breast cooked in the microwave.
Now this sounds like the chicken would turn out rubbery and disgusting but it is actually not bad! I do still recommend this one for recipes in which the chicken will absorb flavor from the rest of the meal such as in a soup or casserole. The first option is better for things like the quesadillas I am making where the chicken needs to have flavor on its own.
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To cook chicken breast in the microwave place two to three thawed, medium sized chicken breasts in a microwave safe bowl and cover with seasoned water. Make sure all of the chicken is submerged. I suggest seasoning your water with a teaspoon of salt and pepper and half a tablespoon of garlic and onion powders.
Cook the chicken on high for ten minutes then check for doneness. If more time is needed add two to three minutes at a time.
Option three: Chicken in the skillet
The third is probably the most obvious solution but I’ll write it out anyway.
To quickly cook chicken in the skillet dice chicken into half inch sized pieces and season with at least salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, adding any additional seasonings as you see fit. (Do you see a trend here?)
Heat a skillet to medium high and add oil. When oil shimmers it is ready.
Add the chicken to the skillet in one layer and cook two to three minutes. Flip/stir the chicken and cook an additional two to three minutes until chicken is no longer pink.
A rotisserie chicken! If you are really short on time and realized your mistake before you got home or your spouse isn’t home yet, swinging by the store for a rotisserie chicken can be a super simple solution. For me, the previous options would take just as much time as going to and from the store so I would only do this if my husband or I were already out.
There you have it. Three (well- four) options for quickly having pre-cooked chicken on hand when you need it. Tonight I will be roasting some chicken breasts then dicing it up for the quesadillas. Luckily I did remember to thaw the chicken! That is a whole other story!
Let me know if you have any other methods for quickly cooking chicken for recipes below!
I would also like to hear what other possible struggles you may have with cooking and meal planning. I truly want to be able to help you! Let me know what challenges you below.
For meal planning and cooking tips check out these other posts: