How to prep chicken for quick meals featuring One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

It’s no secret that I make chicken ALL. THE. TIME. It is a protein that the whole family loves and no matter what cut you use, it’s versatile and easy to prepare. I use a few simple prep strategies that can help get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.

Last year, I talked about how to cook, portion and shred chicken for quick meals. Today I’m showing you how to portion and prep a family pack of chicken breasts. 

We don’t realize how much time we spend taking out ingredients and doing dishes when we prep meals. 

Meal Prep Tip: To save time, it’s best to tackle as much prep as you can in one session. This is especially helpful when prepping on the weekend for busy weeknights. 

60-Second Meals

Manitobachicken.ca has some great 60-Second Meal Videos that show you step-by-step how to make each recipe.  This week I’m trying the One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki.  I prepped my chicken as soon as I brought it home from the store. 

Meal Prep Tip: Slice, portion and freeze boneless skinless chicken breasts as soon as you bring them home from the store.

I had a family pack of 11 chicken breasts.  I divided them and sliced them in three different ways:

  • Three chicken breasts, sliced in medium pieces for the One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki
  • Four chicken breasts, sliced in strips for Chicken Strips
  • Four chicken breasts, sliced thinly for a sheet pan or stir-fry (portioned in two bags)

That makes four meals that are ready to cook.

Meal Prep Tip: You can even go one step further and marinate the chicken before you freeze it.  Depending on your recipe, you can also marinate whole chicken breasts. 

Before you freeze the chicken, flatten the bags as much as you can.  They will stack neatly in your freezer and will also take less time to defrost. 

Food Safety Tip: The best way to defrost frozen chicken in overnight in the fridge. Never thaw chicken at room temperature on the counter, as it may promote bacteria growth.  Thawed chicken should be cooked within 48 hours.  

Check out the Storing Chicken section on manitobachicken.ca for a chart on safe thawing methods, as well as other food safety tips.

How to cook One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki

There are two ways that you can cook the One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki, depending on how much time you have. 

If you are pressed for time, cook it in the skillet, as directed in the 60 Second Meal Video.

If you are not pressed for time, but you have other tasks you want to do while you wait for it to be ready, you can bake it on a sheet pan at 425°F for 20-25 minutes.

Food Safety Tip: Always use a thermometer to check if your chicken is ready. Cooked chicken breast should read 165°F on a digital thermometer when inserted into the thickest part of the breast meat.

How to serve One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki

There are a variety of ways you can serve One-Pan Chicken Souvlaki.  I like to set out all the components and let everyone decide how they want to eat it.  Deconstructing is a great strategy to use for picky eaters or for people who have dietary restrictions.  Everyone can serve themselves the components they would like to have.  I talk more about deconstructing in this blog post.

Here are some of the components that you could put out on the table for serving:

  • Warmed naan, pitas or mini pitas
  • Chunky Greek Salad
  • Tzatziki
  • Hummus
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Olive tapenade
  • Tabouleh
  • Lemon roasted potatoes
  • Rice

My partner likes his as a wrap in naan with all the fixings. I like mine deconstructed, using the tzatziki and hummus as a dip for the chicken and the naan.  The kids will most likely just have chicken, naan, lettuce, and tomatoes, all separate and not touching on the plate! If we have leftovers to take for lunch, a great side is a tabouleh salad, made with bulgur, fresh herbs, lemon juice, olive oil and tomatoes, as this can be made and dressed ahead of time.

This meal is so versatile that you can try it over and over it again with different sides.   Head to manitobachicken.ca to check out the 60-second video, as well as more 60-second meal ideas!

Four seasonings to gift

There are three more days until Christmas, and since we can only head into stores for essential items, why not make a few spice blends that you can make from ingredients you most likely have in your pantry or can grab on a quick grocery run.

Jars & tags

You can make your blends and gift them in any type of packaging you’d like. I prefer mini 125 ml mason jars, because they are reusable and they also stack nicely if you want to gift a few different ones to the same person.

A cute handwritten tag with a list of ingredients and a few uses for the spice is also helpful for the recipient. Tie them on the jars with some jute, hemp or baker’s twine and you’re good to go!

Measuring out your blends

The first three blends are super easy to measure (equal parts of all ingredients) so I recommend using the amount of jars you want to make as a guideline. (I’ve included the exact measurements to make one jar.)

Everything Seasoning

You’ve seen it before. You’ve tried it before. The best thing about Everything Seasoning is that it literally goes on everything!

I love it on eggs, avocado toast, pizza pretzels and of course the traditional bagel. I typically like a salty Everything Seasoning but the salt affects the quality of the spice when mixed in, so I leave it out and just add salt whenever I use the seasoning. The recipe is equal parts of:

  • Dried minced onion
  • Dried minced garlic
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sesame seeds

To make one 125 ml jar, you will need 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of each ingredient.

Dilly Italian Seasoning

This is a great one to use as a marinade for chicken or pork, as a salad dressing or mixed with butter to make an herby garlic cheese toast.

You need to make sure when you’re jarring this one, that you fill each jar one scoop at a time, alternating jars, as the dill tends to fall to the bottom of the bowl when you mix it. It’s also important to use the dried minced onion and garlic, as the powder equivalents fall to the bottom of the jar. Doing this ensures you have equal distribution of all the herbs. The recipe is equal parts of:

  • Dried minced onion
  • Dried minced garlic
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Dill

To make one 125 ml jar, you will need one tablespoon of each ingredient.

Simple Seasoning Salt

In our house, the kids refer to this as “Fry Spice”. This is a great basic seasoning to use on fries, hash browns, meat, fish, and a great multipurpose spice for a sheet pan meal. The recipe is equal parts of:

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika

To make one 125 ml jar, you will need one tablespoon of each ingredient.

Taco Seasoning

This taco seasoning requires some more precise measurements, to get the flavour just right. This blend tastes almost exactly like the store-bought version, minus the excess salt & preservatives. Three heaping tablespoons is approximately the same as one package of store-bought taco seasoning. This is a great cost-effective option if your family eats tacos as much as mine do. Blending this seasoning with some lime juice , white vinegar and olive oil, also makes a great dressing for a fiesta salad.

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried chilies

I also gifted another seasoning for shawarma that is very flavourful. You can find the recipe on my Tried & True Pinterest Board.

Gift yourself

Even if you don’t have anyone to gift these to, why not make a few batches for yourself?

How to Make a Holiday Snack Board

Featuring Recipes from Manitoba Chicken Producers

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Snack boards aren’t just for large gatherings! We like to enjoy them for lunch or dinner regularly. Whether you’re wrapping gifts solo or having dinner with your family, pulling a snack board together for any occasion is doable with these tips.

For this board, I scrolled the Appetizer & Snacks section of Manitoba Chicken’s new website for some make-ahead appetizers. 

My favorite part about this website is the categories in the Recipes section.  You can search recipes by type, cut, preparation and cuisine.   Also, it`s educational.  You can find absolutely anything you want to know about Manitoba Chicken Producers, from farming to food safety in the following sections:

  • Nutrition
  • Cooking School
  • Blog
  • At the Farm
  • Our Industry
  • About Us

Store-bought VS Homemade

Using a combination of homemade and store-bought ingredients will help you impress without the stress. Choosing make-ahead appetizers saves you some prep time before you assemble your board.

The Appetizer & Snacks section of the website has an assortment of fresh, make-ahead and freezer friendly recipes to choose from. Think of your main homemade ingredients as the anchors for your board, then fill in with store-bought ingredients to complete the look.

This time, I chose the BBQ Chicken Bacon Bites (assemble ahead of time) and the Chicken Empanadas (make-ahead and freeze) to anchor the board.

How to add interest to your snack board

You can try to stick to a particular color scheme or create a theme for your board, but I honestly think the best part about making a snack board, is using whatever you want and have in the house.  I like to focus on using different textures to make the board visually appealing.

Here are a few specific ways to add interest to your board and how they were used in this board.

Use a couple items from each of these categories:

  • Protein (BBQ Chicken Bacon Bites, Chicken Empanadas)
  • Cheeses & Spreads (Fresh ricotta, sliced mozzarella, habanero black pepper cheese, honeycomb, tzatziki)
  • Fresh fruits & Vegetables (cucumbers, apples, pomegranate)
  • Breads, crackers, pretzels (Whole Wheat Crackers, rustic seed & fruit crackers, beet chips)
  • Something pickled (olives)
  • Filler (to fill in the small gaps around the board)
    • Fresh herbs (dill & parsley)
    • Dried fruit (dried cranberries)
    • Nuts
    • Candy or chocolate

Assembling your snack board

Assembling your board is the trickiest part. You may have to move some ingredients around once you place them to achieve the look that you want.  The important part is to have fun!

  • Place crisp ingredients like crackers and chips on the board just before serving, to prevent them from getting soggy.
  • Contain dips, spreads and pickled items in small bowls.
  • Choose appetizers that can be served warm or at room temperature to prevent heat transfer to the rest of the board components.

Making your snack board ahead of time

If you want to assemble most of your board ahead of time, there are a few ways that you can do this. The first way is to get all your components ready, so that you can assemble the board quickly.

  • Prepare dips and spread and fill bowls.
  • Prepare hot appetizers that need to be cooked
  • Chop and slice fruits, vegetables and cheeses

The second way is to place most of the fresh ingredients on the board and to store it in the fridge.  Just before serving, add the hot appetizers and dry components to the board.

Here are some other great appetizers from manitobachicken.ca that would work well on a snack board.

Prep ahead and assemble before serving

Make-ahead and freeze

Which one will you try first?  Head to manitobachicken.ca to check out their new website and find a new recipe to add to your next snack board.