I am in the habit of defrosting chicken, meat or fish at least two days before I want to use it. My refrigerator is on the cooler side and it just seems to take that long. It requires a bit of advance planning but, I am already pretty organized when it comes to meal planning so it’s not usually that big of a deal.
The other night I went into our garage where we have an upright stand-alone freezer to grab a package of chicken and the light inside the freezer was off. I assumed the door was ajar and then noticed that most of the chicken and beef was just about defrosted! The frozen vegetables were ruined and luckily I wasn’t too stocked up on fish, shellfish and pre-prepared meals so there wasn’t too much in there to be ruined.
I found myself at 8:30 PM needing to immediately cook about 12 pounds of bone-in, skinless chicken and with 2 whole chickens that would be defrosted enough to cook the next day. Along with the vegetables and ground beef, I lost other odds and ends that were just not salvageable.
Pretty frustrating! Especially when all of the products are grass-fed and organic. The stockpile is so expensive, even though I buy in advance to take advantage of sales and promotions. It was painful to toss any of it but it had to be done.
Now, of course this had to happen on the night when I was most in need of hitting the grocery store and my pantry was looking quite bare. I didn’t have many of the ingredients I would want or need to create a couple interesting dishes. Considering it was so late in the evening, I knew there was no time to run out and grab a few things so I had to get creative with what was in the house.
I immediately pre-heated the oven and grabbed a big dutch oven.
The first chicken was quickly doused with salt and pepper, lightly coated with a spray of olive oil then tossed in the oven and baked. About 10 minutes before the baking time was up, I brushed the chicken pieces with bottled BBQ sauce from my fridge then finished them by broiling to caramelize the sugars in the sauce.
The next package of chicken was treated with a quickly mixed blend of Indian spices (mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garam masala, ground coriander and cayenne), braised with onion and garlic in coconut oil, then slow cooked on the stove top with a large can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes. It was surprisingly good and I wish I would have stopped to write down the exact ingredient amounts but maybe I’ll make it again some day.
Stuck with one more package of chicken to cook, this time skinless, bone-in chicken breasts and very little left in the pantry and fridge to get creative with, I grabbed Dijon mustard and Maple Syrup from the fridge and added a couple spices and the only fresh herb I had left in the house – parsley. I let this chicken marinate while I finished cooking the other two and had the sense to take pictures in case it came out tasty.
Extra bonus was that I was able to take a finished picture of it the next day since it turned out great and we had LOTS of cooked chicken to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I have also seen versions of this Maple Dijon Chicken done with Honey but have never tried it. If any of you do sub Honey for Maple, let me know how it is!
- Points Plus for the Marinade is 1 PP based on 8 Servings. I used 5 PP as the average serving size assuming a 4-ounce chicken breast plus 1 PP for the marinade. You can use any type of chicken (thighs, legs, etc.), just calculate the PP for that and add 1 PP for the sauce.
- 3 to 3½ pounds bone-in, skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon safflower oil (or canola)
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- zest of half small lime
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- Finely chop large handful parsley, measure 2 T into a bowl and set remainder aside for garnish. Combine mustard, maple syrup, oil, spices and lime zest into bowl with 2 T parsley. Whisk together until well blended. Remove 1 to 2 tablespoons of marinade to a separate dish and set aside for later.
- Add skinless chicken breasts to a large freezer bag with remaining marinade, seal bag and massage into chicken until well coated. Refrigerate for at least one hour or until ready to cook (overnight is OK).
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange chicken breasts on baking sheet, allowing a bit of space between each. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, set oven to Broil and evenly brush remaining marinade over chicken.
- Broil for 5 minutes until browned.
- Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled over and Enjoy!