Blah-blah Sweet Chili Marinated Chicken

As much as I’m trying to cook from scratch these days, there are times when convenience is key. Or quick. After a few rounds of experimentation, Chris and I discovered that we like a few of the prepped items from the meat department at Kroger. They do a stuffed chicken breast or pork loin- the apple almond is good, the other flavor is mediocre. They also have a Parmesan crusted chicken breast that is basic but tasty and easily jazzed up with sauce or seasoning of one’s choice.

Tonight’s request was the Parmesan chicken with “the creamy mushroom sauce you made once.” I’m pretty sure that is the “sauce” I made for pasta, from Cooking Light.

So, I sent him off to get the Parmesan chicken and some cream. One of the nice things about this chicken and the other ready-to-cook items is they are often on sale. The chicken breasts are usually as little as 2.99 a pound. However, tonight they did not have any in the meat case. So, we decided to try this Sweet Chili marinated chicken instead. Along with some snap peas and leftover risotto.

Verdict: Decidedly underwhelmed.

The problem with marinating full chicken breasts is that the sauce just can’t get to the deep parts of the meat before the acid starts to cook the outside. As a result, you get chewy meat with only spotty flavor. If I’m marinating chicken, I either pound the breast thin or butterfly them. They cook faster too, especially when sauteing.

I baked the chicken in the oven at 350. After 20 minutes I added the snap peas to the pan, tossed them in salt/pepper and garlic powder then added a little balsamic vinegar. I poured some of the pan juices over my chicken after but it didn’t really help.

Now the risotto, we really like that. From Lundberg, the Organic Porcini Risotto is creamy and has a nice earthy mushroom flavor. For added yum, mix in some lightly sauteed fresh mushrooms and garlic or shallot.

Fair warning: there is another flavor of this risotto with spinach that we absolutely did not like despite attempted improvements. Dry and dusty tasting, the cardboard box had more going for it than the seasoning packet.

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