Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Secret of success

I'm sure you frequently ask yourself, "How does she do it? How does she manage to make cook a meal almost once per day?" Well, for one thing, I don't have kids. For another thing, I do half the laundry or less (that's another story for a different day). But my real secret is canned chicken!

I know what you're thinking. "Seriously? Canned chicken is the secret of your success?" See, I'm not big on eating large chunks of meat. Oh, don't get me wrong, I've been known to order a steak at Texas Roadhouse (when I don't just order some potato skins, a side salad, and another basket of rolls). I've got no moral or dietary objection to meat. I just like it in a dish, rather than as the dish. And as we talked about weeks ago, we eat a lot of Mexican food in my house. As long as you have cheese and sour cream on hand (which we pretty much always do) and some bulk taco seasoning from Scam's Club or CostMo', you can make dinner in about the time it would take to go pick up food and bring it home.

Maybe you don't like tacos that much. (Or chicken quesadillas, or nachos or taquitos or whatever version of seasoned chicken in a tortilla you prefer). It's easier than cooking and shredding chicken breasts to make enchiladas, if that's your bag. But leaving aside the Mexican food, you could mix a can of chicken with some condensed soup and frozen veggies for a quick pot pie (top it with refrigerated pie dough, thin Bisquick biscuits, cornbread, etc.) Or mix it with a brick of cream cheese and some Italian seasoning, wrap in crescent rolls, and bake. You can butter and bread crumb the tops, but that's a little too fancy for most dinners. And of course, you can always mix it with some mayo (and fixin's, if grapes in a sandwich doesn't creep you out as it does me) for an easy chicken salad sandwich.

The key to all of these is to mix it with something flavorful. I wouldn't just sprinkle canned chicken chunks on a salad, for instance. Unless maybe I tossed it in salad dressing first. No, probably still not. Let me know if you try that, though.

Pound for pound, it's probably not as cheap as just buying chicken and shredding it yourself. I get six 12.5 ounce cans for $10, which is what, $2.13 a pound? That's not so bad, actually. Especially since I only buy the trimmed and ready chicken breasts because trimming it myself gives me the jibblies.  Anyway, if time is money, the canned chicken wins hands down. Not only is it precooked, but it's shelf stable. It just sits there, waiting for your next fiesta. No "oh no, I need to cook the chicken in the fridge!" Or hey, maybe I'm the only one who does that. But I'm not, right? We all cook meat of dubious freshness before it's verifiably unfresh? ...Ahem. Right. Moving along. It's great for those days when you meant to get to the store but didn't. It's such a go-to for me. Grab a can of chicken and add something to it!

So there you the secret of my success. Canned chicken. And making my husband do 5/8ths of the laundry, of course.


  1. The chicken story is fascinationg of course, but tell me how you get your husband to do the laundry! That's the real secret.

  2. Thanks for divulging this culinary secret. You've already got me thinking about a midnight snack...one hour early. Yes, please do share how you manage to do less than half the laundry.

    I'm with you on ensuring the chicken is flavorful. Eating any kind of meat without seasonings or herbs or some type of doctoring is unpalatable. One time we bought bison on sale at Sunflower Market. My husband cooked it up in our George Foreman. When asked what I thought after one bite, I said in disgust, "This tastes like meat!" "What do you expect it to taste like?!" came the reply. You guessed it--the bison was grilled and served au naturel.


Be nice.