Maybe you’re great with meal planning—scheduling out your menus, shopping for all the ingredients, knowing when to prep what. Or, maybe every night is an adventure. “What’s in the fridge? Looks like we’re having chicken tacos and roasted beets. Yuuummm.”
Whatever your dinner strategy, we thought you might find it useful to know that some cuts of meat can be cooked without thawing. Yep, you read that correctly—sometimes it’s perfectly acceptable, maybe even preferable, to take a steak straight from the freezer and put it in a skillet. Or to put that whole chicken in a crock pot. We think having a few of these tricks up your sleeve is handy for both the avid planner and the spontaneous home chef. So, here you go…
Oh, wait! One quick note—an instant-read thermometer is an important tool in the kit of anyone cooking meat in any situation, from both the food-safety and dish-quality perspectives. And this is especially true when you are cooking from frozen. Be warned—we absolutely do not recommend trying these techniques at home without the proper equipment.
Whichever steak tickles your fancy. We prefer a New York strip for this method. But it can work with just about any of them.
1. Sear your steaks in a well-oiled skillet over high heat for about 90 seconds per side.
2. Transfer them to a baking sheet, then place them in a 275 degree oven until they reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees—medium rare. This should take about 18 to 22 minutes.
3.Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Outside of the obvious—no foresight required—frozen steaks actually cook more evenly and lose less moisture during cooking, which makes for better flavor and texture. Win, win, win.
Breasts. You can do a whole chicken, too. But that’s a different technique for a different day.
1. First, break apart your pieces, if they aren’t already separated. We do not recommend cooking a lump of frozen chicken.
2. Coat the breasts in olive oil and season with your favorite herbs or spices. Note, you can also save seasoning for the end if you prefer.
3. Spread the individual pieces out on a lined or greased baking sheet and place in a 425 degree oven.
4. Roast until the breasts reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.
The versatility of cooked chicken breasts means you can incorporate them into a wide variety of simple dishes. Slice them and layer on top of a salad. Toss with your favorite pasta and roasted veggies. Shred them and wrap them into a tortilla with your favorite burrito. The possibilities are as endless as the ingredients in your pantry.
Any cut of boneless pork chops.
1. Sear the chops in a well-oiled skillet on high heat for about 90 seconds per side.
2. Cut an onion in half and use the circles to cover the bottom of a slow cooker in a single layer.
3. Place the seared chops on top of the onions.
4. Season the top of the chops with your preferred spices or fresh herbs.
5.Pour a ¼ cup of hot water into the slower cooker and cover,
6.Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, until the chops reach an internal temperature of 147 degrees.
Multitasking—this dish cooks while you do whatever else it is you do.