The $8 Dinner Shortcut I Always Have in My Freezer

The $8 Dinner Shortcut I Always Have in My Freezer

The $8 Dinner Shortcut I Always Have in My Freezer

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In the depths of winter, few things are better than a massive, comforting bowl of soup for dinner. The huge variety of canned soups gives me so many options, but I always feel like there’s a certain amount of stretching or embellishing I need to do to make even the heartiest of soups feel like a full meal.

I’ll often add some leftover rice, a stray carrot, a wilting zucchini, random beans, frozen corn, or that last handful of baby spinach to give the bowl a little more oomph. The one ingredient that always does the trick, though — pushing a can from cozy starter to satisfying entrée — is Tyson Grilled & Ready Oven-Roasted Diced Chicken Breast.

What’s So Great About Tyson Grilled & Ready Oven-Roasted Diced Chicken Breast?

True to the bag’s promise, Tyson’s Grilled & Ready Oven-Roasted Diced Chicken Breast is skinless, boneless chicken breasts that come fully cooked and trimmed. Basically, they’re all prepped and ready for you to reheat. The white meat chicken, while tender, is less silky, and more firm than dark meat, so it stands up particularly well to being warmed up in soup (more on that below).

The chicken is also neutral tasting, which makes it go well with nearly everything. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s flavorless — far from it. The meat is very lightly seasoned, with an unmistakable chicken-y flavor from being cooked in its own stock, broth, and fat. It doesn’t ever overshadow other ingredients; it simply registers as, “Oh, there’s chicken. Nice.” 

The quality is also pretty consistent. No woody chicken breasts or spongy bites, which is not something I can say for other products and certain store-bought rotisserie chickens. While there are sometimes veins or errant bits of fat in the coarsely chopped cubes, the pieces are big enough for you to pick them out if you want (as I do). 

What’s the Best Way to Use Tyson Grilled & Ready Oven-Roasted Diced Chicken Breast?

I keep the diced chicken as is for heftier bites, or thaw them in the microwave just enough to cut into smaller pieces, which I’ll do from time to time depending on the soup. You can microwave the pieces all the way or, as I do, throw them directly in the pot with the soup, bringing it all to boil at the same time. Because they’re already fully cooked, I don’t worry about them toughening up like I would with poaching chicken or undercooking as I would if they were raw. 

As the chicken warms directly in the pot, it’ll absorb the flavor of the soup (I recommend using a slow simmer to bring the soup to full heat). You can also bring it all to a rolling boil quickly if you want the roastiness of the chicken to stand out more. 

I love adding this pre-cooked chicken to creamy soups, like chunky chipotle chicken corn chowder, because it turns the canned soup into something in between a sauce and a stew. This also works for creamy chicken and rice soup, which I can pour on a bed of steamed broccoli for a casserole shortcut. 

It works great in medium-bodied soups, too. Supplemented Thai-style chicken and rice soup and hearty gumbo go on leftover rice to transform the two cheap, easy items into a big-bowl meal. It also complements vegetable-based soups, like garden vegetable, and adds protein to broccoli cheese soup. It breaks up the soft monotony of processed meatballs in Italian wedding soup or contrasts against the gentle give of beans in minestrone.

Finally, and most obviously, it adds nutrition and satisfaction to classic chicken noodle, chicken rice, and chicken and stars. Try adding some diced chicken to wonton, matzo ball, ramen, and egg drop soup, or whatever canned soup you like best. The opportunities are as bottomless as I can only wish my bowls were.

Buy: Tyson’s Grilled & Ready Oven-Roasted Diced Chicken Breast, $8.97 for 22 ounces at Walmart

What frozen shortcut are you loving right now? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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