How to set up a DIY Chicken Toast Bar

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.

May Long Weekend is just around the corner.  You may be one of the lucky ones who scored a campsite for this unofficial start of summer or you may be heading to a family cottage to open up for the season.  You might also be staying home, enjoying the comfort of your own backyard like I am. Wherever you choose to celebrate the long weekend, this DIY Chicken Toast Bar featuring three toast recipes from Manitoba Chicken Producers is a great option for a lunch or a snack.

The basics

To set up this toast bar, all you need is shredded chicken, toasted baguette slices and a few fresh toppings.  Here are three toast recipes that you can make:

You may have seen these recipes featured on Great Tastes of Manitoba Season 31, Episode 6- Toast to MB Chicken. If not, you can watch it here to see how they’re made.

Setting up your Toast Bar

Here are some recommended ingredients for your toast bar:

  • Toasted baguette slices
  • Chicken (roasted, shredded, sliced or chicken fingers)
  • Two spreads
    • Hummus
    • Pesto
    • Olive tapenade
    • Baba ghanoush
  • One or two soft cheeses
    • Ricotta
    • Brie
    • Fresh mozzarella
    • Goat cheese
  • Two to three fresh toppings
    • Tomatoes (fresh or roasted)
    • Greens (arugula, cilantro, dill, sprouts)
    • Avocado
    • Roasted red peppers
  • Finishing touches
    • Fruit preserves or jam
    • Balsamic reduction
    • Capers
    • Pine nuts
    • Dried fruit (blueberries, apricots, cranberries)

Meal Prep Tips for your DIY Toast Bar

You can set up your toast bar to be as simple or elaborate as you want.  Most of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time, to make this a quick and easy snack or lunch, perfect for a day of yard work, camping or sitting on the dock.

Here are some steps that you can take to prep your toast bar ahead of time:

  • Slice the baguette (toast it just before serving for maximum crispness)
  • Cook and shred or slice the chicken
  • Make hummus
  • Roast tomatoes
  • Other fresh toppings need minimal prep, like fresh arugula or herbs, tomatoes, avocado & capers

Store-Bought Shortcuts for your DIY Toast Bar

Store-bought ingredients

If you’re looking for maximum time-savings, here are some store-bought shortcuts that you can try:

  • Rotisserie chicken from the deli
  • Chicken fingers
  • Crostini rounds (find them in the cracker aisle)
  • Store-bought hummus (try a few flavors)
  • Guacamole
  • Oil packed sundried tomatoes
  • Olive tapenade
  • Capers
  • Flavored goat cheese spread

What to do with the leftovers?

What happens if you finish off the baguette and you have a bunch of toppings leftover?

This is why this is the perfect weekend meal.  The ingredients are so versatile that you can pack everything you need for the toast bar and have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Show us your toast bars! Tag @manitobachicken and @toobusylivin204 so we can see which ingredients you chose!

How to make a burrito bowl

One of my favorite weeknight meals is a burrito bowl because it’s easy to switch up the protein and flavors and it’s easy to deconstruct for the kids, who aren’t always into spicy foods, or foods touching each other on their plates.

The Rice

The rice is the base for this burrito bowl. You can use white or brown rice, or even quinoa if you prefer. If you want to prep this ahead of time on the weekend for a quicker weeknight meal, you can cook the rice in two different ways.

  1. Cook plain rice, then season it in a skillet when you’re ready prepare dinner.
  2. Cook the rice with the seasoning in the water. (Don’t use this method if you’re using fresh ingredients like cilantro and lime to season the rice.)

I prefer the first method and here’s why. The kids don’t love the seasoning, so I usually add corn and black beans to the rice in the pan, set some aside for the kids, then season the rest for us.

My favorite ways to season the rice are:

The Veggies

I like to add corn, black beans and diced red peppers to mine. You could also add onion, garlic or jalapeno if you want. Again, to make weeknight preparation quicker, chop your veggies ahead of time and rinse and drain your beans. This reduces some of the steps for busy weeknights.

The “Meat”

The picture shown above is a vegetarian version of a burrito bowl with roasted sweet potato. When I say “meat” I mean anything to add more texture to your bowl. Pulled pork or jackfruit, barbacoa beef, shredded chicken, grilled shrimp or fish and spicy chorizo are all excellent options. Consider providing a few different protein options if you’re going to serve these buffet style and allow everyone to choose their own toppings.

The Toppings

The sky is the limit on toppings. I like to use fresh or pickled ingredients to top my burrito bowls. Pickled jalapenos, banana peppers or onions pair well with avocado or guacamole. You can even add some fresh salsas like this tomatillo salsa or this pineapple salsa.

The Finishing Touch

No burrito bowl is complete without crispy tortilla chips and a bit of shredded cheese. You can also top it with your favorite hot sauce, some chimichurri or a drizzle of sour cream.

Meal Prep Tips

Here are few meal prep tips you can use to save some time in the kitchen when making these burrito bowls:

  • Cook, portion and freeze meat when you bring it home from the store
  • Pre-chop veggies
  • Rinse and drain black beans
  • Pre-cook rice
  • If using fresh salsa, make it ahead of time
  • Make extra and take them for lunch the next day
  • Use leftover cooked rice from a previous meal

If you like bowl-style foods, check out these Back-to-school lunch bowls with maple tahini sauce for another quick meal idea.