If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m all about delicious food. Chocolate? Good. Pie? Good. Cheese? Goooood. (Anyone catching the Joey Tribbiani reference?)
And while I consider myself a foodie, I also consider myself a pretty healthy eater… for the most part. My general rule of thumb is everything in moderation. Any while moderation is super important, I definitely feel that the key to healthy eating is in the preparation. Nothing can derail a healthy diet like lack of planning and preparation. When hunger strikes, it’s all about convenience and if you’re not prepared, it’s usually easier to grab a not-so-healthy option.
So in an effort to make healthy eating convenient, I try to prepare healthy food (in bulk) ahead of time so it’s in the fridge and ready to grab when hanger takes over. I’ve talked about this before and covered some of my healthy staples (see this post) like quinoa, hummus and chopped veggies, and today I’m talking protein. Specifically, easy instructions for frozen chicken strips!
More than ever, I’m finding myself throwing lunch together on the fly (whether packing it for the office or squeezing it in during baby’s nap time at home) and these chicken strips have become a quick and easy solution for topping salads, adding to quinoa bowls or tossing into a wrap. I prep and store the strips in a gallon-size freezer bag so all they need is a 2-minute zap in the microwave or an overnight thaw and they’re ready to eat!
Frozen Chicken Strips
Needed: Chicken Breasts, Baking Sheet, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, optional spices
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Trim excess fat from chicken breasts, then halve and arrange on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. (You don’t need the foil, but it sure helps make clean up quick!)
- Lightly coat chicken with a drizzle of olive oil, rubbing each side. If you want to forgo the oil, just make sure to give your pan/foil a quick coat of cooking spray!
- Sprinkle each side lightly with salt and pepper. (experiment with garlic salt, paprika, old bay, basil, etc. depending on how you use your chicken!)
- Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes, or until it’s cooked through. (Test by cutting into a larger breast piece or use a meat thermometer.)
- Allow chicken to cool for 10 minutes, then slice into strips (or cubes, or whatever fits your meals best).
- Transfer chicken strips back to the baking sheet (remove the foil) and arrange so that they’re not touching, then stick the entire sheet in the freezer overnight.
- Use a spatula to loosen the strips from the baking sheet and store in a gallon-size freezer bag.
- To use, pop strips in the microwave for about 2 minutes, or until they start to sizzle.
If you’re feeling really motivated and organized, you can even store pre-measured portions in snack-sized baggies inside the larger freezer bag. I just use a measuring cup to portion out my servings as I use them.
And, yes, you can definitely purchase pre-made frozen chicken strips, but making these yourself takes less than an hour (including a lot of passive time) and I’m able to save a good bit of money by purchasing family sized packs of chicken breasts when they’re on sale. Cheap and healthy… my kind of cooking!
What’s your best time-saving trick for healthy eating?