Thursday, April 17, 2008

Adventures in Freezing (Dinner)

I didn't start shopping there until we became a family of eight, but I now buy my chicken at Costco. That means 30 boneless, skinless thighs or 12 gi-normous boneless breasts per package. The chidren like dark meat, and Len prefers light, so to achieve the ideal ratio I found myself the proud owner of 72 pieces of chicken. Whew!

Over the years I've gathered a repetoire of marinade recipes. With enough chicken for six freezer bags, I decided to make three varieties. That sounds like a lot of work, but one flavor this time was Good Seasons Italian dressing--vinegar (red wine or balsamic), water, mix, oil, done!

I set up an assembly line. The one-gallon freezer bags rested in plastic containers waiting to be filled with marinade. I'll post recipes for our favorites on my cooking blog: honey-mustard, Asian (hoisin), Asian (soy-orange), and Indian yogurt.

Since I've started combining thighs and breasts, I began using a trick of my sister's. I pound the chicken breasts so they'll cook more quickly on the grill; this has the added benefit of more marinade flavor per bite, although I consider this step optional. The chicken goes into the bags, held upright by their containers (See them in the background?).

I rinsed the remaining chicken in the clean sink. Now a helper was needed to steady each bag as it was filled. Then it was time to squeeze out the air, seal, and lay the bags flat to freeze. Once the chicken is frozen, the baking sheets can go back into circulation.
If I know ahead of time that grilled chicken is on the menu, I remove a bag a day ahead to thaw in the refrigerator (on some sort of protection in case there's a hole!). In a pinch, a flattened bag will thaw quickly in a sink full of warm (or hot, if you're desperate) water.

1 comment:

Anne said...

You have been tagged to receive a virtual bouquet on my site. Please come by to pick them up!