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Freezer Cooking Day: Oven-Baked Chicken and Burritos coming out our ears!

Someone had left a tip on a recent Freezer Cooking Day suggesting that I try baking the chicken instead of boiling it. I’m not sure who left that tip, but it’s a good one. I just stuck the frozen chicken breasts straight onto a baking sheet and cooked them at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes, turning them once while they were cooking (not exactly sure on how long I ended up cooking them because I just checked them every 10 minutes or so to see if they were done).

Wow! The chicken breasts came out so much more tender and juicy than they do when I boil them. Plus, it freed up some stove-top space, too! So a big thanks to whomever suggested that (I couldn’t seem to find the original comment to specifically thank the individual!).

After the Cheeseburger Meatloaf was in the oven and the Blueberry Pancakes were cooking, we moved on to the burritos. Gretchen made the Brown Bag Burritos and I made the Chicken and Red Bean Burrito recipe. We love Brown Bag Burritos–especially the guys in our family. I’m so thankful to Amy for sharing this winner recipe. We doubled it and should have enough burritos to keep our husbands happy for the next few weeks!

I wasn’t thrilled with how the Chicken and Red Bean Burritos turned out and ended up adding some salt to the recipe as I thought the filling seemed a little bland. That seemed to do the trick.

Next up: Taco Meat, Lasagna, Lemon Chicken, & White Bean Chili

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  • Mimi says:

    The burritos look so good! Instead of salt to spice up flavors, I have found that adding a little dried onion seasoning and dried garlic seasoning does the trick. I buy the flaked versions at Dollar Tree and they taste great! Our kids get so much salt in their diets these days that I am now trying to cut it out of my cooking as much as possible.

  • Stephanie says:

    The Brown Bag Burritos look like a great recipe! Question, can they be microwaved straight from the freezer or do you thaw them first?

    • Val says:

      I microwave mine. The smaller burritos microwave for 1.30 mins and are perfect. When I made really big burritos I had to defrost for 2 mins flipping over half way in the microwave and then regular power another 2 mins flipping halfway.. To save me the trouble I only make small burritos now ?

  • Stephanie says:

    Also does this actually make 20 burritos?

  • Jenae says:

    I always stick my frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water for about 10 hours (overnight). That way, when you wake up in the morning, your chicken is already cooked and ready to be used in your recipes. Plus, it makes the chicken SO tender! Baking sounds like a good idea too, though.

    • Sarah Taras says:

      @Jenae, what a great idea! Do you put your crock pot on high or low when cooking overnight?! Thanks

      • Jenae says:

        I put it on low and have put as many as 8 full chicken breasts in and it has always fully-cooked them. 🙂

        • Jenn says:

          @Jenae, This is my new favorite way to cook chicken for freezer meals too. Its so great to have the chicken already done and its so good! My husband asks every time- what smells so good? I need a breakfast recipe that takes chicken to make him happy!

  • tiffany says:

    The pressure cooker is also great for chicken… and way faster than a crock pot!
    Also, I can’t find the recipe for Chicken and Red bean burritos…. is it posted somewhere?

  • Shannon says:

    Have you posted somewhere how you prepare these things for freezing? If you don’t already have a link… could you post some info & speak s…l…o…w…l…y…. I’m a NON cooker!! LOL

  • ali_rn says:

    Have followed your cooking days for a long time now, when I saw those brown bag burritio’s I just had to jump in, used the stuff I already had. I now have 10 man sized burritos, 12 kid sized burritos(smaller tortilla’s) 3lbs of chopped blanched and frozen carrots, and dinner cooking in the crockpot-I’m afraid to open my fridge, I might cook something else!

  • janet says:

    that looks delich! I have nevered boiled chicken in my life- either bake or crock pot 🙂

  • Mandie says:

    I actually use my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker (stoneware) and do the chicken in the microwave. It takes 14 minutes (1100 watt oven) and since it cooks evenly in its own juices, it comes out incredibly tender and moist. Then I use the Salad Choppers to shred it to size. I do this at my cooking shows for BBQ chicken pizza, which can be frozen, too, btw!

  • Does anyone have a good — quick! — homemade enchilada sauce recipe to use for this? I really want to whip these up but have no canned sauce…


  • Megan says:

    This all looks great – nice work, Crystal! Have you considered investing in a digital-read thermometer? I just love mine. You stick the probe into the thickest piece of chicken and the digital readout is magnetic (to stick to your oven) so you just set the alarm to go off when the chicken gets to the right (“cooked”) temperature. It would save you the hassle of running back and forth to the oven to check if the meat is finished. It’s also really handy to have on hand to ensure food safety. Maybe something to put on your Christmas list 😉

  • Kimberly says:

    What a great idea to bake the chicken. I am doing my big shop for freezer cooking today. I’ll have to remember that when I go to cook tomorrow!

  • Danielle says:

    The problem with boiling chicken is that despite the fact you are actually boiling it in water, the chicken often comes out very dry and tasteless. Sometimes its really tough to eat, other times it’s very flaky and unpalletable.
    So here’s a great tried and tested way to make your boiled chicken breast taste much better!
    1. Soak the chicken for half an hour in salted water.
    2. Now soak for a further half hour in milk (I use a very small amount of milk in a bowl or pan and flip the chicken halfway through to ensure its coated).
    3. Put the chicken breasts into a pot, and fill up with water so that it reaches about half way up the chicken breasts.
    4. Add some chopped carrots, chopped onions, a few bay leaves, some celery, rosemary and 4 stock bouillon cubes (stock cubes). You don’t necessarily need all this ingredients, add or subtract whatever you have in the fridge and don’t be afraid to experiment.
    5. Cover the pot and leave to simmer for around 35 to 40 minutes. Occasionally check the pot, and scoop out any scum or froth that appears at the top of the water with a spoon.
    6. Now just serve as it is (my fiancée just eats it like a soup), or dice the chicken and use in another recipe and save the stock.

  • julie says:

    I have a question? Were the chicken breasts whole when you cooked them in the oven… and then you chopped them. Or do you chop them up raw before you freeze?

  • tammy says:

    crystal..i was just wondering if you wrap your Brown Bag Burritos the same way Amy does with the paper towel and foil? just seems like alot of paper towels and foil to use. Do you have another method to freeze them?

  • Amyt says:

    LOL..I did suggest baking chicken instead of boiling it and so glad you tried it! Original credit goes to Barefoot Contessa who does it that way for her chicken salad. I think it’s easier too!!!! I love your blog and cooking days!

  • Jessica says:

    I believe there are a couple of reasons why a boiled chicken tender would end up being tougher then oven baked:
    1) Judging from the bag the chicken likely has an ice glaze on it. This ice glaze helps it delay freezer burn and help it seal in moisture while still in the freezer. I have a hunch that this ice glaze also helps keep it moist when oven baking, but I’m not positive.
    2) Many chicken products have been injected with a saline solution (salt) before being frozen. This helps them retain moisture and taste better. When boiling the salt in the saline injection would ‘leak’ out of the meat and into the cooking water – osomosis if I remember correctly…

    There’s you’re food science for the day 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    But not your grammar lesson – sorry for the misspells!

  • Sarah Taras says:

    I made the brown bag burritos! They are great! I ended up making 24 from the recipe. Thanks so much!

  • Shannon says:

    I love roasted chicken–it’s even better if you buy the split breasts (skin-on, bone-in). The skin gives the chicken a ton of flavor and once they are cooked they peel right off the bone.

    Also I just recently learned how to poach chicken and realized I’d been boiling all these years! Put chicken in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. As soon as the first bubble pops, cover the pot and remove from heat (the water will continue cooking the chicken). When chicken is cooled remove from pot and chop or shred.

  • Sean says:

    Looks delicious, thanks.

  • gayle says:

    I always thought you couldn’t cook frozen chicken. I thought it had to be completely thawed first. Can you help me with that one?

  • Kelly says:

    Have you ever used your Kitchen Aid stand mixer to shred chicken (or any boneless meat)? If not OMG it will change your life. Take the meat straight from cooking, hack into large hunks, put in the bowl and use the standard paddle blade to shred. Less than 30 seconds and you have shredded a whole chicken breast without burning yourself!! The key is to have the meat hot so it separates easily. I do chicken breasts all the time, I have done pork loin for BBQ, I don’t think I have done beef though. Since I bag them to freeze as one breast I only do one at a time, plus I am a little scared I’ll overwhelm the motor!

  • Julie says:

    I prefer using my pressure cooker: it’s fast, easy and comes out juicy and tender every time. I can cook even the cheapest, toughest meat in (comparatively) no time flat, without heating up the kitchen – very important in Florida where the AC’s running 10/12 months.

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