Friday, November 11, 2011

Cheater Chicken: What You Have Been Missing

You have seen this before if you have ever been to any store that has a deli. They are popular, and tasty. But they have a darker, more sensual side to their existence. Normally, they come home with you, and go nicely with a side of mash and gravy. But when you aren't looking, they are flashing their juicy goodness at your recipe book, like the naughty little cheater chickens they are. Why exactly do I call it cheater chicken? Because unlike good little "Suzie Homemakers" that can strangle, pluck and boil a fresh chicken for a recipe, (or even just open a package and dump it in water), I can use the cheater and avoid the boiling mess and get to de-boning and chopping immediately. The flavor is also included with the chicken. Look Ma! No Seasoning! Now there are things that you still want to boil for, such as soups and stews. You can use the cheater, but you can't beat homemade broth.

But for the sake of my point, (I will eventually make one) let's say one night you are feeling like enchiladas, but you are in dire need of a siesta. That means you want enchiladas, but you are tired. Instead of going out to the coop (or freezer) for your main meat, scoop up a cheater. Cut that cheater up, and make cheater sauce (that is another discussion for another time), throw in tortillas, and cheese, and OLE! You have in your possession one sexy pan of enchiladas ready for your  enjoyment. Same goes for most chicken dishes. Add a cheater to a pan of broccoli cheese and rice casserole, or put it on a salad and call it "chef sal-lad". There are many many things I can think of to do with a cheater, other than eating it right from the package.

I encourage you to cheat in the kitchen when you feel like it. I don't care if you opened a package and dumped it in boiling water, you are cooking. You have to enjoy it to get good at it. If you are stuck in a kitchen grumbling about a long process, then look for ways to make it easier. I pride myself on getting meals prepped and on the table in less than an hour. But I can't always do that without my cheats. Above all, have fun, because if it is not fun, then it is a chore. Plus you cook they clean! (or at least that is how it is supposed to work)

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