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Make ahead recipe for boneless skinless chicken breasts?

Help. I have to make dinner for a group of picky individuals for a meeting at my house. Because of food preferences, religious guidelines and allergies, the only thing that everyone can eat is chicken breasts or turkey cutlets (no red meat, no dark meat poultry, no shellfish, no eggs so no quiche, no eggplant so no parmigiana, no fish). They are all showing up at 6:30 and we need to start our meeting and eat at the same time, so I can't be doing any last minute cooking other than plating and serving. Last time I did a vegetarian lasagna, the time before I did turkey meatballs. I was thinking about doing Chicken Kiev, but was wondering if anyone had any other ideas as I am frustrated with trying to come up with something. Thanks so much for any guidance.

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  1. Chicken pot pie or chicken and dumplings!

    1. I feel like I always suggest this, but how about Chicken Marbella? All the prep work is done the day before and you only have to stick it in the oven to cook before people arrive. Although the recipe calls for chicken pieces, I've done it with all bone-in breasts, and a friend of mine has made it with boneless, skinless breasts with success (just less cooking time). You can serve it with cous cous, which is so easy to make too.

      You can also make the chicken a day ahead and serve it at room temperature.

      4 Replies
      1. re: valerie

        Ina Garten's Chicken with Morels. You can make up to the day before and then just reheat in the over for a half hour or so.

        1. re: valerie

          Valerie, do you have that Chicken Marbella recipe?


          1. re: valerie

            I've made this with boneless, skinless breasts - used Joan Nathan's adaptation, link below, and it came out very well. I agree that if you make it a day ahead to serve at room temperature because reheating the breasts could cause them to become dry.


          2. Wow maybe you should meet at a restaurant..they would be too fussy for me but I have a suggestion. Pound chicken breasts, add a mixture of spinach, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, and spinach mixed on the top and wrap in filo. Back 350. GREAT

            5 Replies
            1. re: pindapanda

              I know you will look at the ingredients list and think I have truly lost my mind but trust me this is really a great crowd pleasing dish.
              1-1/4 cup salsa (your favorite brand and desired heat- I love the hot one but others don't)
              1 cup of raspberry or blackberry jam (or jelly)
              Splash or two of hot sauce (Optional, like I said, I like it hot)
              A sprinkle of red pepper flakes (also optional)
              juice of a lime
              Put your chicken in- I like to cut mine up into strips or I use the tenders.
              Mix all together
              Pour into a casserole dish. (I put the casserole dish ontop of a cookie sheet just incase it bubbles over- don't have to clean the oven just the pan.)
              Bake for about 45 minutes (or until chicken is cooked)
              I love served over white rice....
              Be daring give it a try.

              1. re: MeffaBabe

                On a similar note, mix together 1 jar of apricot preserves (not jelly), 1 envelope onion soup mix, and 1 small bottle french or red french dressing. Pour over boneless chicken breasts and bake in a casserole dish uncovered for about 45 minutes or until chicken is done. This is an old recipe modified with boneless chicken breasts (the original calls for 1 chicken cut up) from a Jewish fundraiser cookbook called "From Manna To Mousse".

                1. re: potterybliss

                  Potterybliss, that recipe brings me way back, my mother made that recipe approx. 30 years ago, but the breasts would be stuffed with a mixture of crushed ritz crackers, grated onions and carrots, it was quite delicious as I recall but I don't think I have had it in over 30 years! Thanks for the memory.

                  1. re: potterybliss

                    When I was kid a friend's mother used to make this but cooked it with the rice in the bottom - don't know if she added stock or anything to provide sufficient moisture (she used chicken pieces on the bone, with skin) but the dish was really good and the rice was delicious, absorbing all the flavors from the preserves, french dressing and onion soup.

                    As Potterybliss said, thanks for reminding. I may give this a go sometime soon.

                    1. re: potterybliss


                      Please do not take thispersonally because jfood's body is still desalinating from Grandma jfood making this (plus substituting a can of whole berry cranberry sauce for the preserves) dish while growing up. It was one of the inspirations for jfood learning how to cook. Jfood appreciates the memory and now has to stop the tick that has re-emerged in my neck. Loved it as a kid, can;t think of it as an adult. BTW the french dressing used was Milano 1890.

                2. what about going a different route & doing a nice chicken salad, maybe served with pita or croissants. I think it's fine to have a nice cool dinner, and for a meeting, nobody's plates will get cold while talking (which can happen with hot dishes). Also, you have many side dishes as options. You could go gourmet-ish with the chicken salad too!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pamd

                    That's a great idea, pamd! Get prepared crescent roll dough. Smoosh two triangles into one larger square and put a big spoonful of chicken salad in the middle. Wrap the top of the salad with the dough, twisting it on top. Sprinkle on some breadcrumbs and bake.

                    You can have them assembled ahead of time and bake them off before serving. Any chicken salad would be good in this, but you want to use some cream cheese in play of the mayo so it doesn't all melt away.

                  2. Thanks all for some great ideas! All of them will be put in the rotation, other than the Chicken Marbella - unfortunately that is the signature dish for one of the other group members and I don't want to steal her thunder. This should keep me going for the rest of the year, at least.

                    1. Chicken Picatta is a good one for a group too!

                      1. Mix equal amounts of Best Foods Mayonnaise (note lite) and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Brush liberally on one side of chicken breast with kitchen brush, sprinkle seasoned Panko breadcrumbs on top and pat down well. Do the same on the other side. I do these ahead and put them on a 1" deep foil lined baking pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. I serve them on a bed of arugula. Everyone always loves this.

                        1. You could make foil packets with chicken and veg -- handful of baby spinach, parboiled new potatoes, white beans, dash of white wine... or tomato slices, garlic, pesto... lots of possibilities. Wrap each packet in foil, bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes and voila -- a delicious, individual parcel of food. I got the idea from Jamie Oliver. My husband loves these.

                          1. Just be careful about reheating such a lean and bland piece of flesh.. Do it *very* gently. Preferably not in the m-wave (and if in the m-wave, not over 20-30% power for reheating any meat you want to keep tender). Best way is covered in a slow oven, with even heat, or in a double boiler arrangment where the heat is direct.

                            Is there a reason the breasts have to be skinless and boneless? Breasts are waay more flavorful cooked on the bone, and cooking them with the skin helps protect the outer layer from becoming nasty - guests are free to remove the skin themselves. Generally, in a group such as this, food *preferences* don't rank with allergies (real ones) or religious dictates (that is, guests are not supposed to burden any host with a mere food preference), so that may help you triage the hospitality better as well.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Karl S

                              Thanks - you are right, bone-in and skin on breasts would be a good way to add flavor and moisture. I'll keep that in mind as I finalize the next menu. I don't use a microwave and would just reheat in a slow oven. The shellfish is a religious dictate and the no red meat is a preference, but I don't feel comfortable in ignoring that one.

                              1. re: farmersdaughter

                                Well, if you are willing to do bone-in skin-on breasts, I have the solution for a later meal (where there are no guests who cannot eat eggs) that is better when made ahead: Cornell Chicken. In fact, this is the most reliably *best* tasting cold or tepid chicken (and it also tastes great warm).

                                Basically, Cornell Chicken was basting sauce that was invented decades ago by a poultry agronomist who later ended up at Cornell U. It was developed to use on halved chickens over a grill, and is still done that way in western NY state at fire deparment and other public grill-fests. However, it turns out that the basting sauce is even better as a marinade, and split chicken breasts are the ticket (mind you, I am a dark-meat fanatic, so for me to find something that makes chicken breasts worth eating is to say something). Marinate and grill beforehand, and then chill before serving the next day.

                                This will marinate 8-12 split chicken breasts:

                                1 large egg (the function of the egg here is to sustain the emulsion, but I imagine one could experiment with other emulsifiers like lecithin or potato starch...) -
                                1 cup vegetable oil (I avoid canola, which because of its fat profile when exposed to high heat like a grill results in a somewhat fishy taste that a sizable minority of people can detect)
                                2 cups cider vinegar
                                3 tablespoons kosher salt (or 1.5 tablespoons table salt)
                                1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (I use Bell's, but you can also substitute or add any other seasoning you like!)
                                1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

                                Put the egg(s) in a blender, and pulse it to beat. Add the oil slowly in a thin stream to emulsify. Then repeat with the vinegar. Then add the other ingredients in turn.

                                If you want to use part of this batch for a basting sauce, reserve it first (because you cannot use marinades of raw meat to baste, as that would present health risks).

                                Marinate the breasts in ziplock bag for several hours or overnight (I put the bag of chix in a container in case of leakage). Drain before grilling. If you reserved basting liquid, you can use it periodically during grilling. Basically, start with skin sides down on a clean and oiled grill, cook for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for 5 minutes, baste, and repeat until you've cooked them 15-20 minutes on each side or until done to your preferred level of doneness.

                                Chill. Serve chilled or tepid next day. I'd serve with salads and some bread - garlic bread would be great!

                              2. re: Karl S

                                When i brine chicken breasts, I feel like they stand up to reheating better. I haven't done rigorous tests though so this could be imagination.

                              3. Before I started keeping kosher I made a chicken dish consisting of cream of mushroom soup, sour cream and sherry. Pour that mixture over boneless chicken breasts and sliced fresh mushrooms and bake. It was really good.

                                1. I just caught Giada on the FN this morning and thought about this thread. Theme of the show was on make-ahead dishes. The Roman-style chicken (linked below) looked very good. She keeps the ribs on, but you could remove if needed. The little bit of prosciutto looked good, but in case pork is out, then I guess you could omit this too. She served it w/ roasted potatoes and cipolline onions done the day before and refreshed right before serving.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Carb Lover

                                    I saw that episode too, and had the same thoughts about the chicken . . . I will do it using bone-in breasts with skin and let everyone remove, and leave out the prosciutto. I suspect the dish will suffer without it, but it's worth a shot.

                                  2. Another way that I like chicken is to pound the breast out until its about 1/4- 1/2 inch thick/ then stuff it with a garlic, butter,mushroom, onion and fontina. When I was working and commuting I often would make the dinner in the morning, refrigerate it and then cook it at night. You can make these in advance and pretty much come up with any combo making them Italian, Greek, Mexican or French. Just change the sauce and the stuffing. If it were me, I would not get too exotic since it is a working dinner. But you can make these ahead, brown, then bake them off 35 40 minutes ahead of serveing. Serve it with a rice or potato, and a salad. I would try to keep the meal simple, you won't have time.