I love using boneless, skinless chicken tenderloin. They can go straight from the freezer to the oven and bake for only 20-30 minutes. I make baked chicken that way, or a chicken and stuffing casserole. On Sunday mornings sometimes I’ll put the frozen chicken tenderloin in a single layer in a baking pan and pour Italian dressing over it, let it marinate until we get home from church, then pop it in the oven while I make a side dish. I sometimes will put a plate of them in the microwave for 9-10 minutes, rearranging them about halfway through (bringing the ones on the outside of the plate toward the center and vice verse). If you sprinkle them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and minced onion, then cut them up into small pieces when done, you have chicken ready for a casserole or soup. If you do the same with the addition of chili powder, you have chicken ready for chicken tacos or enchiladas.
The only trouble is they are more expensive than other forms of chicken, so this is a time- and labor-saving tip rather than a frugal tip. You’re paying for the convenience of a shorter cooking time and being able to cook them immediately without deboning or skinning them. In our area they are sold in 2 1/2 lb. bags for $8.98, but they do go on sale fairly often, and sometimes stores will have a buy-one-get-one-free sale. Tyson makes them, but many stores have their own brand.
Here’s one of my family’s favorite recipes using them (you could also use leftover baked or stewed chicken):
Chicken Enchilada Bake
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2-4 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into pieces, or around 9 chicken tenderloin pieces, cooked and cut into small pieces
1 pint sour cream
3/4 lb. Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
6 flour tortillas or 8 corn tortillas
1 small can green chilies, diced (optional)
Mix soup, sour cream, chicken, chilies, and half the cheese, Tear tortillas into bite-size pieces and stir into chicken mixture. Pour into casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Or, leave off the remaining cheese, microwave for about 3 minutes, stir, top with remaining cheese, and microwave for another 3 minutes.
Check out Rocks In My Dryer’s blog for great tips!