GINNA PARSONS: Cook once, eat a bunch

I was in the dentist’s office earlier this week when I came across an old issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. (By old, I mean January 2009.)
I flipped to an article on food solutions that talked about cooking once and eating twice. Actually, the recipe that caught my eye was about cooking once and eating several times.
With this Spice-Rubbed Chicken, you cook 16 breasts at once and then freeze whatever you’re not using immediately. One suggestion it gave for a second use for some of the breasts is to slice a couple and combine them with cooked rice noodles, green onions, arugula, basil, cilantro and a citrus dressing.
I was thinking they’d be good sliced and served on a bed of mixed lettuce with any number of extras, like bell pepper strips, cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese and a squirt of lemon juice.
Or you could put chicken slices over fresh spinach and add sliced strawberries, mandarin oranges, red onions and a sweet and sour dressing.
And you wouldn’t have to stop with salads. Who says you can’t pull out a single breast, thaw it, heat it a bit and throw it in a whole wheat hamburger bun with a slice of Havarti cheese, a piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato?
The best part is each breast has only 200 calories and 4 grams of fat.

Spice-Rubbed Chicken
14 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
12 teaspoon cayenne pepper
16 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 5 pounds)
2 tablespoons cooking oil

In a small bowl combine brown sugar, paprika, salt, coriander, black pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Brush chicken with oil. Sprinkle chicken with spice rub on both sides. With fingers, gently rub in spice mixture. Arrange on two 15×10-inch baking pans. Refrigerate chicken for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake chicken breasts, one pan at a time, uncovered, for 18 to 20 minutes or until no longer pink. (Refrigerate second pan of chicken, covered, while baking the first pan.)
Let chicken stand 30 minutes to cool. Individually wrap chicken breasts in waxed paper. Divide wrapped chicken among two large freezer bags, removing as much air as possible from bags. Label and freeze up to 4 months. Thaw when ready to use.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal