Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
This article contains a brilliant idea and delicious recipes that streamline your way to a flavorful homemade chicken dinner in your RV anytime.
The basic idea is to package chicken in freezer storage bags along with flavorful marinades, AS SOON AS you return from the market. Then, either store the bags in the fridge or freezer until time to cook.
Not all proteins can handle long marinades without getting overly saturated or mushy, but chicken thrives with this technique. Not to mention, the marinating process stops while frozen, and will start infusing the chicken with flavor again upon thawing.
You can keep food storage bags of marinated chicken for two days or so in the fridge or several months in the freezer before cooking.
If you are starting out with frozen chicken, no need to thaw first, just pour the marinade over the frozen chicken in the food storage bag and freeze it all. The chicken will infuse with flavor when you thaw it all out prior to cooking.
Advantages of RV meal prep for chicken
- With marinated chicken in the fridge or freezer, all you need to do to put dinner on the table is thaw and grill, bake, and/or pan fry.
- By preparing the chicken for cooking as soon as you return from the market, you are carting around less trash in your RV that you will have to dispose of later.
- You can take advantage of sales when you see them and prepare several chicken dinner recipes in advance.
- You only have to clean the kitchen once, as you will be juicing lemons, chopping garlic, onions, herbs, etc., one time while preparing for several different dinners.
- The technique works for all kinds of chicken pieces, with or without bones.
- You’ll save space arranging chicken pieces in marinade in as flat a layer as possible. Be sure to burp all the air out of the bag, then freeze. Once frozen, stack the bags, either horizontally or vertically in the freezer, depending on your RV freezer’s situation. You will be surprised at just how many dinners you can fit in a tiny RV freezer.
Use your favorite cooking method
You can cook marinated chicken by whatever method fits your schedule and circumstances best. Keep in mind that for best flavor and for food safety you will always want to cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165° F.
Oven Baked Chicken: Bake at 375° F for about 30 minutes or until you reach the proper internal temperature, turning the chicken halfway through cooking.
Grilled Chicken: Prepare medium-hot coals on one side of the grill. Sear chicken over hot coals for about three minutes per side or until browned. Move chicken pieces to the unlit side of the grill, cover the grill, and cook about 30 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.
Hybrid Method: If I am not grilling, my favorite method is to start the chicken in a hot cast-iron skillet on the stovetop, then finish in the oven. This makes for perfect, crispy-skinned chicken every time. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry. Add a tablespoon or so of oil to the pan. Place chicken in pan, skin side down, and cook without disturbing for 10 minutes. Turn chicken over with tongs. Cook for five minutes, then place pan in a preheated 375° F oven for about another 15-20 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.
The marinades all contain some sort of acid ingredient, some sort of oil, and also seasonings and flavoring ingredients.
If you have a blender or food processor, throw everything in and blend for a few seconds until emulsified, pour over the chicken in the freezer bag, seal, freeze and you are done!
If you are preparing things the low-tech way, be sure to chop everything finely and whisk together vigorously to emulsify the marinade before adding to the bag with the chicken.
RV meal prep for chicken marinade in advance recipes
Each of these recipes makes enough for about three pounds of chicken. These are some suggestions of the many ways you can marinate chicken. I am sure you will come up with your own favorites too. Have fun and use your imagination:
- Lime Cilantro Marinade: Mix 1 bunch cilantro, 4 green onions, 4-6 large garlic cloves, 1/3 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon pepper, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional).
- Lemon Herb Marinade: Mix 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, 4-6 large garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasonings, 2 teaspoons black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Apple Mustard Marinade: 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard, 2-3 large garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon ground oregano, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Sesame Ponzu Marinade: 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger, 2-3 large garlic cloves, 2 green onions, 2-3 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce (optional).
More freezer cooking
If you like the idea of keeping ready-to-prepare meals in your freezer, be sure to check out my book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Freezer Meals for many more ideas.