Monday, February 13, 2012

Lemon chicken {freezer meal} + book review

Blog?  What blog?  I have gotten very bad at blogging as of late.  A fact that has bitten me in the rear a couple of times when I went to look for a recipe I had made to see how I had changed it and low and behold, I hadn't bothered to even blog it.  Oops.  Part of my problem has been a husband who has been exponentially more busy at work lately - lots of trips to china, late hours.....  That equals 1 mom at home with 4 busy boys much of the time alone.  2 of my busy boys were involved in school sports until last week.  One was in cross country, followed almost immediately by basketball, the other was in wrestling which started practicing the second week of school.  Between games and busy life, blogging sadly fell by the wayside.  Well, happy day, Basketball is over!  Wrestling is over!  I can't tell you how much more time I have in my day not having to go to pick up my boys at 5:00 everyday.  Tons more time.  Of course now I've volunteered to be soccer coach for the next one down.  :)  However, that is low key.  Practice is 1 day a week not 4-5, and games are 1 day a week for 1 hour, not 2 hours - some of the wrestling tournaments that were 13 hours long.
So, enough of my busy life, point is, I actually stopped cooking quite a bit.  I got a book at Christmas that was some Freezer meals and for DH's last 2 trips to China, we've had freezer meals most nights.  Life saver.  I love the book I have.  It's called Once-A-Month cooking Family Favorites Can't say all of the recipes are the greatest in the world.  We've had our definite favorites, and the ones we haven't cared for as much, however, I love the setup of the book.  It is different from other types of freezer meals because it is just 30 different meals, not make a quadruple batch of 3 recipes.  For a 1 month cycle you make 30 meals.  It does take all day, and it is better to start the day before, but I love the convenience once the meals are done.  I also love how the book has everything set up for you.  If you want to choose to do an entire cycle, the grocery list is done, and there is even a list of how to process everything.  For example it will say dice 5 onions (13 cups), dice 2 bell peppers (2 cups)...  The ingredients are to be used throughout the many meals made, but all the chopping is done at once.  Then you chop meat, and it will tell you, Slice 8 chicken breasts into strips (4 for this meal, and 4 for the other)  Then it gives you steps to cook the meals so you have some simmering while you are just tossing others in a bag.  I will say I followed the directions well for the first 2 week cycle I did, but the second 2 week cycle I'd already made 2 of the meals just as regular meals, and I didn't follow the directions as well.  I did a bunch of quick chicken meals the night before, rather than between simmering....  You can rearrange as you see fit, but the first time, I was all about sticking to the directions.
So, I do like the book.  Our meal this evening is from the book.  I do have to say that the meals do not always include any vegetables or anything, so I do usually have to add a veggie and/or fruit, and/or green smoothie to our meal, but that is easy enough.  I always purchase fresh fruits and veggies weekly.  I also have to say that this makes shopping super easy.  I only have to buy fruits, veggies, milk and eggs a lot of the time.  I didn't even go to the grocery store last week because I did bountiful baskets and got milk, eggs and cheese at costco.  Wahoo.  Such a time saver in more ways that one.  OK, enough gushing about the book.  On to the recipe right.
I chose this recipe because #1 it was absolutely delicious.  Super tender chicken.  Which was an absolute surprise because the chicken was microwaved.  Originally I looked at this meal, and even commented to my neighbor - the chicken tonight is microwaved, I'm afraid it will be rubbery.  So far from the truth.  I keep having dry chicken or pork from the oven.  Keep buying thermometers.  I'm determined mine are off.  By the time the meat is up to temp, it is dry.  Anyway, total tangent, but because of that, I was even more impressed with this chicken.  I also liked it's lemon flavor.  It was pretty strong, and relatively tart, but I really liked it like that.  A lemon chicken that tasted like lemon, and not a lemon pie.  :)  This was also a super easy meal to prepare.  -SUPER EASY.  Not only the actually cooking, but also the prep of putting it in the bag to freeze.  How can you go wrong?  Easy to prepare and delicious.  YUM

Oh, and also forgot to mention that on one of those China trips the thing that died while my husband was gone was the computer.  (also a huge reason I haven't been blogging - can't do it from the ipad.)  The worst thing about that is that I don't have any of my pictures.  Hopefully that will get remedied and I can go back to posting pictures, but until then, I'm using an old work laptop and I'm not installing picasa or worrying about adding pictures here.  Good thing I have 2 memory cards that are 16 GB each right.  I should be good for quite a while.


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I did cut mine in half because they were very large, but I still used 4)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (I did squeeze mine fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped sweet peppers (I always buy the mini sweets at costco.  original recipe just called for red bell pepper)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic (I used jarred here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Mix all ingredients in a 1 gallon freezer bag;  Label and freeze.  (Could it be any easier?  -I do recommend freezing it flat or it won't defrost in 1 day in the fridge)
To serve 
  1. Take out of the freezer the night before and put in the refrigerator to thaw.
  2. Place in a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 5 minutes.  Baste the chicken with the juices, turn, and microwave for 3 more minutes.  (I do have to say, this took a lot longer than 8 minutes for me.  I just kept doing 2-5 more minutes depending on how pink the chicken still was, and/or what it was measuring on the thermometer.  I think it ended up taking something like 16 minutes rather than 8.  Still quick though.)
I Served this over brown rice.  Can't remember what veggie we had - probably a green smoothie, and maybe something else like green beans or something.  I just can't remember.  What I do remember is how tender and juicy this chicken was.  

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