Quick & Easy Back-to-School Dinners: Brick Chicken and Fried Rice Recipes
The back-to-school season is underway, and that means a return to after-school activities, PTA meetings, fall sports and nights filled with homework as well. (Side note: Have you ever been surprised how much time you spend on homework in those early years of your child's schooling? Phew. It sure can be time consuming.)
And while, sure, you may get some freedom back during the daytime if all your kids are in school, generally the return means you are busier. Gone are the long, lazy days of summer, heading to the beach, spending the afternoon at the zoo or just hanging out in the backyard.
This is the time of year when dinner can get pushed aside and shoved under the table, and moms and dads alike may find themselves opting for convenience food and fast food instead of real food. These two dinners are designed to make real food fast while using leftovers from one to become the next meal.
Spatchcocking the chicken decreases the cooking time to just 20 minutes. Dinner will be ready in no time, and leftover chicken can be sliced and saved for a second meal: Chicken Fried Rice. Serve this with rice and vegetables, but go heavy on the rice and store that in the fridge to use for the fried rice meal later in the week.
1 whole roaster chicken
6 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
8×10″ or larger brick
heavy-duty aluminum foil
Wrap the brick in foil and place on lit grill. Mix together 3 tablespoons of butter with the oregano, basil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Rinse and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
Using kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the bird by first cutting down the center along one side. Discard. Make a small cut in the center of the chicken where the breastbone is. Slide your finger underneath and gently pull it out. Trim any excess fat. Pull the skin up and rub your butter mixture between the skin and the chicken. Rub the outer layer of skin with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt.
Move the brick from the grill using oven mitts or grilling mitts. Place the chicken in the grill, skin side down and replace the brick on top of the chicken. Close the lid, reduce heat to medium low and leave to cook for ten minutes. After ten minutes, flip the chicken to the other side, again placing the brick on top.
Mix together remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper with the minced garlic and lemon juice. Remove chicken from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 180° F. Place small spoonfuls of compound butter over the chicken and allow to melt. Slice and serve.
Using the leftover chicken from earlier in the week and the rice that was made and set aside, you'll have dinner in no time. I like to dump in vegetables that have been leftover from other meals throughout the week. It's a great way to clean your fridge out before a shopping trip.
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
2 cups fresh vegetables (mushrooms, sprouts, carrots, peas, broccoli, etc.)
2-3 cups diced cooked chicken
3 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine
black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for 20 seconds. Turn heat up to high and add in longer-cooking vegetables like broccoli or green beans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in green onions and shorter-cooking vegetables like precooked carrots or peas and cook 3 more minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add in the chicken.
Combine sesame oil, soy sauce and rice wine. Add the precooked rice to the wok and drizzle sauce over the top. Fry on high heat, stirring until rice is heated through. Season with black pepper if desired.