Cooking Frozen Chicken: Last Minute Alternatives

Cooking Frozen ChickenHave you ever wanted to kick yourself for forgetting to take something out for dinner? Many people are faced with this dilemma, due to their busy and hectic lives, which leaves us worried about what is happening at the moment and forgetting about what will be needed later. Have no fear, there are ways to cook frozen chicken without having to thaw the meat first. Most alternatives to cooking frozen chicken are simple, however there are a couple of ways that chicken should not be cooked if still frozen. Chicken can also be cooked and then frozen to make later cooking simple. First I will start with the basics of cooking chicken.

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Cooking Chicken

Chicken is a very versatile food and it can seasoned and prepared in many different ways. When cooking Chicken you should remember that the temperature of the chicken must be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly. It is important to keep a thermometer in your kitchen to check the temperature of all meats that are cooked. This prevents illness from undercooked food. Another important factor in cooking frozen chicken, is to remember that frozen chicken must be cooked 50 percent longer than if the chicken was thawed out. Now that you know a little about cooking chicken, you need to know the ways that cooking frozen chicken may compromise your health and are not recommended.

Microwave

Cooking frozen chicken in the microwave is not recommended, as it is hard to regulate the temperature while cooking; allowing for bacteria to grow. While cooking frozen chicken is not ideal, you may thaw chicken in the microwave. This method does, however, cause the chicken to dry out and may even cook it a little, depending on the wattage of the microwave. It is also recommended that when you thaw chicken in the microwave, the meat should be cooked immediately after, as the room temperature can foster bacteria.

Slow Cooker

Another poor method for cooking frozen chicken is slow cooking. Slow cookers cook the meat over a very long time and do not reach hot enough temperatures to kill bacteria. It is recommended that you thaw chicken before cooking it in a crock pot.

There are several ways that frozen chicken can be cooked to avoid compromising the quality from thawing it in the microwave or to ensure that your food does not become a breeding ground for bacteria.

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Oven

Cooking frozen chicken in the oven can provide optimal results for the quality of the food, especially if you don’t have much time. When cooking frozen chicken in the oven, make sure that the temperature is at least 325 degrees to ensure that the temperature is high enough to prevent the opportunity for bacteria to grow. When placing the chicken in the baking dish, make sure that there is space between the pieces of chicken or the chicken and the edges of the dish so that the chicken does not stick. Allow the chicken to cook for about 15 minutes and then remove the chicken to season. Chicken must be seasoned after it has been slightly cooked, as the seasonings will merely slide off of the chicken when it is frozen and will not absorb into the meat.

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Skillet

Another effective way of cooking frozen chicken is in the skillet. This method is most used with chicken breasts and can be a quick way to make a meal when nothing is thawed out. An easy way to cook frozen chicken in a skillet is to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet with oil (preferably olive oil, as it is the healthiest for you), and preheat the pan to medium high heat. Once the pan is preheated, place the chicken in the pan and season the chicken to your liking and then add about a half of a cup of water, making sure not to wash away the seasonings. Cover the pan and allow it to simmer for about 20 minutes and then flip. Be aware that the chicken may stick a little so it is better to loosen it up before flipping. To ensure that the chicken cooks all the way through and to speed up the process, it is beneficial to cut a few slits through each piece. After that, simply cover it back up and allow about 15 more minutes of cook time. There are many other ways to cook chicken in a skillet, however this is one of the easiest methods.

Pressure Cooker

Some people prefer to cook their food in a pressure cooker. While it is not recommended to cook frozen chicken completely in the pressure cooker, there is a way to do it. The process involves two steps. In the first step, a small amount of oil should be added to bottom and the temperature should be set at medium high heat. It should be noted, that a whole chicken should not be cooked in this way, as the chicken often breaks apart during this process. Each piece should be cooked individually for about 1 minute on each side, until it starts to turn golden brown. Once each piece is seared, all of the chicken should be added and seasoned. After seasoning the chicken put the lid on and consult the instruction manual for the high temperature that it should be brought to. Cook the chicken for 7 – 10 minutes and voila, you have a quick and tasty meal.

Another effective method in cooking frozen chicken involves more than just cooking it. Some people may have many nights where they find themselves in need of a quick meal idea. A useful way to ensure that you always have a quick meal on hand is boiling chicken.

Boiling Chicken

When boiling chicken (which can be done frozen also), you are also left with a wonderful homemade chicken broth that can also be frozen for later use. The benefit of boiling chicken is that there are many ways to use the chicken afterwards. The chicken can be cooked whole, in chucks, strips, or however you want the meat cut. To boil simply put the meat in a stock pot and cover it with cold water. To flavor the meat and the broth, some simple ingredients should be added, such as onion, carrots, celery, and pepper, however it is best not to add too many ingredients to leave room for versatile options when cooking the meat later. Bring the pot to a boil and then let it simmer for about a half an hour to an hour. Remember to start the cooking time once the pot starts boiling and don’t worry about the white foamy stuff that shows up at the top, just skim it out and throw it away. Once the chicken is done, it should be cooled down along with the broth (veggies should be discarded) and then it can be frozen. Before freezing, it is beneficial to slices up the chicken for the different dishes it may be used in, whether it be strips or chunks of chicken. The added benefit to this method is that for many of the dishes that the frozen chicken will be used for, thawing is not necessary, as the chicken is already cooked. For dishes like salads, however the meat should be thawed out before putting it into the dish. This method could be used for many different styles of dishes including; stir frys, casseroles, tacos, soups and many more.

As you can see, chicken can be cooked in many ways while it is frozen. However, it is important to remember the temperature requirements and the different ways to avoid the formation of bacteria on your foods. So, when it’s late and you remember that you forgot to take something out for dinner, don’t worry; all you need is some frozen chicken and an imagination.

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