22 November 2010

Food Storage: How to use canned chicken

I was wary of canned chicken for a long time.  It just looks awful.  Really awful.  I didn't see the value of taking something I was perfectly comfortable with -frozen chicken- and turning it into something so scary and unusable.  Then, my freezer became full.  And I found a great deal on chicken.  A big box of chicken.  So, my mother and I pulled out the pressure canners and went to work.  When we were done, we had a bunch of nasty looking jars.  Usually, a bunch of full jars is a source of joy for me, but not this time.  I thought the money spent on that chicken was a waste.  I could never bring myself to use it and my husband would not be able to swallow it.  He's a texture guy, you know. 

Then I tried thinking of recipes that could use the chicken, since I hate to waste so much food.  I came up with chicken enchiladas.  I figured the chicken is so covered up in there, it might just work.  So, while my husband wasn't watching, I opened a can and chopped up the chicken inside, which is very similar to tuna in feel and texture.  I made the enchiladas and watched to see if he would spit it out on the first bite. 

He didn't.  He ate a few helpings and then complimented me on how good the enchiladas were that night.  Hmmm.  Not what I expected at all.  I was amazed actually at how good they were too. 

So that gave me courage to try more recipes.  Chicken chili is good, as well as a chicken tortilla soup that we like.  I'm going to try a chicken salad soon and see how that works out, but I don't often make that, so we won't have much to compare against.  Really, anything that takes cooked, cut up chicken would probably work great with canned chicken. 

I never thought I would admit that I like canned chicken, and you certainly won't see me eating it straight out of the jar. (shudder)  But, I like that it is already cooked and ready to go, and I love that it isn't taking up valuable freezer space.

Hopefully tomorrow I can type out a few of these recipes, but not tonight.  I have to go put away that chicken chili we ate for dinner.


  1. Chicken is so versatile. I love tuna salad, and I know you can buy chicken packed the same way.I have always said, since I love experimenting with new foods and recipes, that if you don't like a particular food, you need to try it prepared in a different way. I honestly don't think there is any food, that a good cook cannot make palatable for a picky eater.

  2. Very true. I've been trying a few different things in the kitchen lately and my husband is getting a bit wary of my creations. I'm just trying to find new ways to cook old food! :)

  3. Chicken in dressing (Stove Top type) - we make it often, very fast and easy as anything! Chicken a la King - MMMMmmmmm poured on whatever, biscuits, mashed potatoes, toast.... Chicken stew, always a favorite! I use a lot of canned chicken, easier for me!

  4. I forgot about chicken a la king! Thanks Sharon.

  5. This is good to hear. I'm planning to try pressure canning the next batch of laying hens we "retire." So far I haven't found a way to make those tough old birds edible, and I have tried, believe me. So maybe canned chicken is the way to go with those birds. And yeah, enchiladas, I could go for those.