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Midweek Meals: Chicken Schnitzel – Homemade versus Convenience Cooking

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I’ve spent a considerable amount of time being busy (read: productive) this past month. During this time, planning what to serve my family proved to be the most difficult part. There were a few nights of take-outs, and a few more nights of really quick meals. I used the shift in my usual schedule to look into the challenges faced as working moms, or working parents. Being able to plans meals assisted in organisation – having a fully stocked cupboard and freezer, with a daily meal plan meant that I spent less time trying to figure out what to cook, and having all the ingredients at hand eliminated multiple trips to the grocers.

But once all that was in order, the actual time spent preparing for the meals started to prove challenging. I needed to find a way to resolve this by looking into ways of pre-planning and at times, cheating the recipes.

I slowly discovered that many at-home meals could go one of two ways – a convenience, easy-to-prepare alternative, or marinating, labelling and storing the uncooked meal in a freezer.

I want to highlight that many families purchase takeaways out of convenience. If the meals are readily available, with minimal end-prep (by frying, or baking), the home-made option would always rank top-of-mind.

I want to take everyday meals and show you how to elevate them – with minimal fuss. My days have gotten considerably more busier, and with this, my time in the kitchen is limited (I still make 4 full meals a day for the week).

Chicken Schnitzels

Homemade:

  • 1kg of chicken fillet, sliced horizontally
  • 1 heaped tbl of ground garlic
  • 1 heaped tbl of Robertsons Chicken Spice
  • 1 tsp of ground green chillies
  • A quarter cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of salt

At this stage, the chicken may be portioned and the remainder frozen. You can even take it a step further by egging and crumbing the chicken and then freezing them in a single layer in a freezer-safe container.

Remember to include the date and name of item on the label before putting it into your freezer.

To crumb:

Prepare the crumb mixture:

  • A quarter box of Woolworths Southern Fry coating
  • A quarter box of Kelloggs breadcrumbs or half a tub of Woolworths breadcrumbs

Dip the chicken fillet in egg and toss in the crumb mixture.

When you are ready to serve, fry in shallow oil and drain well.

Top with a slice of cheese and put under the grill to heat or serve alongside a cheese sauce (see below how I cheated this)

Convenience:

Chicken Schnitzels are available at most butchers across the country. I usually like to purchase the ones from Forsmay Butcher in Fordsburg, Johannesburg. These double-up as chicken burgers (I shred them after frying and layer into toasted sandwiches with mayonnaise, chopped lettuce, thinly sliced tomato and Chicken Licken sauce). In fact, when you’re out shopping, don’t purchase just one tray because there are so many other uses for it.

Mushroom Sauce:

Homemade:

  • In a non-stick pan, add a stick of butter (I usually measure this slicing down through a block of butter about the thickness of my finger)
  • Add 1 tsp of ground garlic
  • Half a tsp of ground chillies
  • 1 punnet of white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 punnet of brown mushrooms, sliced

Cook this on low until the mushrooms start releasing their liquid. To this add:

  • Half a tsp salt
  • Half a tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbl Mushroom soup powder

Allow to thicken and just before serving, thin down with pouring cream.

Convenience:

In a pan add 2 tbl solid butter, half a tsp ground garlic and a quarter tsp ground green chillies. Mix well and stir in 1 carton of Lancewood Sauce Delight, Mushroom Sauce. Serve warm.

Cheese Sauce:

I cheat the Cheese sauce all the way! There are 2 ways to do this.

  1. In a pot, add a stick of butter and stir in half a packet of cheese sauce powder. Slowly add milk or cream to form a thick consistency. I prefer to season once the cream has been added – black pepper, ground garlic powder and salt is optional.
  2. In a pot, add 1 stick of butter, ground garlic black pepper and a bag of Woolworths fresh Cheese Sauce. Thicken and serve.

Baby Potatoes:

If you’re looking at a quick weeknight meal option, simply open up a bag of Woolworths Garlic butter baby potatoes into an ovenproof pan and bake until golden and crisp. Using the back of a fork, press down, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle Maldon Sea Salt flakes over.

Coleslaw:

This is the one accompaniment that I will not skimp on. I prefer making it a day before for the salad ingredients to really soak up the liquid and get well coated. If you’re pressed for time, make this first before putting any of the other sides together.

Open a packet of Woolworths Coleslaw into a bowl. To this add:

  • 3 tbl sugar
  • 1 tbl salt
  • Half a cup of milk
  • Half a cup of Woolworths Salad Cream
  • Quarter tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbl mixed herb
  • 1 tbl vinegar
  • 1 small finely cubed onion

Allow it to rest and serve cold.

I really want to get people cooking. Whether it’s planning a menu for the week in advance and making a decision to cook at least one small meal a day, or planning an entire dinner party using some of the practical advice that I share.

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6 Responses
  • Naseema Salejee
    August 1, 2019

    Looks delicious

  • Majedah
    August 1, 2019

    This is seriously awesome….I really love to make home made coz then I know its relatively preservative free and healthier etc….but after 3 or 4 days of doing it I often get tired of it….so this really helps…shukran for taking the time to.post something useful like this

  • Tasneem Gasnola
    August 1, 2019

    Love your cooking and now sharing of recipes. As a busy Single mom you are sure helping make cooking stress easy, fun & enjoyable. Thank you so much for sharing your time & knowledge & passion for what you do with us. Xoxo

  • Tasnim mitha
    August 2, 2019

    Fabulous initiative .
    Love the practical, helpful advice and tips.
    Always wish u success in all your ventures.
    I trult appreciate all your advice and helpful suggestions & tips.

  • Crystal
    August 3, 2019

    I am drooling and inspired at the same time reading this insert! I’m a mum of 2 little girls and wife with a husband that really loves food. My cooking in particular. While I love pleasing them with my home cooking, it’s not always easy to navigate being a career girl, wanting to be a present mom and a bomb wife. I love your approach and how you break down everything into manageable tasks. Bookmarking everything! Much love, from sunny Dubai.

  • Zakiya
    August 3, 2019

    Thank you so much.. these tips and recipes are so helpful..

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