Tag Archives: Zaycon Foods

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice

21 Oct


A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a 40 pound case of Zaycon Foods boneless, skinless chicken breasts like the case I got in March.  A friend of mine came over with her case, and we worked on processing the cases together.  She cut the butterfly breasts into 2 pieces, while I cooked dinner (bacon wrapped chicken stuffed with cream cheese and chives, with sweet potato chips as a side), grilled about half of each case, and got the FoodSaver bags ready.  5 hours later and we had 80 pounds of chicken processed!  As she was cutting the breasts and removing extra fat, there were small chicken pieces that we set aside, my guess it was about 4 pounds worth.  We decided it would be best for some kind of stew, so I decided on chicken and rice.  I had onion, carrots, and corn in the freezer, so after a long night of prepping chicken, it was easy to throw this all in the slow cooker and let it cook overnight.  It turned out perfect!


Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice

What you need:

4 pounds fresh chicken, diced
2 cups carrots, sliced
2 cups onion, diced
2 cups kernels of corn
8 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes (gluten-free)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked rice

How to make it:

Add all ingredients, except rice, to the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.  After it is done cooking, stir in the cooked rice.  Serve hot.


21 Oct


I had heard of borscht, but never actually had it.  Beets are regularly available in Sunizona Family Farms FarmBoxes, so when my husband requested that I make this, I knew where I could get beets.  I also had gotten a head of cabbage and a bunch of carrots from them, then I had onion and potatoes from Bountiful Baskets and ground beef from Zaycon Foods.  Who needs the grocery store anymore?!?

In my search for the recipe, I discovered that everyone makes this a little different.  Even I varied some from the recipes I mainly used.  I only had ground beef on hand, so I used it instead of stew meat.  I also didn’t have tomato paste, so I used ketchup instead of the tomato paste and cider vinegar.  This does take a little time and effort, but it’s worth it!  It does have a little beet taste, but not really.  It’s more of a stew taste with all the different veggies in it.  And, fair warning, this makes a LOT, so be prepared to eat it for a few days or cut the recipe down.


Based on recipes here and here

What you need:

16 cups water
2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/4″ rounds, then cut in fourths
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 pound ground beef
2 carrots, cut in matchstick pieces
1 pound beets, peeled and cut in matchstick pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
1/3 cup ketchup (or 1/3 cup tomato paste and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar)
6 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh dill or 1  1/2 teaspoons dried dill
Salt and pepper

How to make it:

In a large soup pot, add the water and potatoes, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are softened, about 15-20 minutes.  Add cabbage and cook another 5-10 minutes.

While the potatoes and cabbage are cooking, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add carrots, beets, and onion, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 15-20 minutes.  Stir in the ketchup (or tomato paste and vinegar).

Add the vegetable mixture to the soup pot.  Add bouillon cubes, lemon juice, bay leaves, dill, salt, and pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes at high heat to dissolve the bouillon, then reduce heat to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender to eating.  Serve hot, with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

16 Aug


I apologize that the picture above isn’t the best, but I forgot to take one of the finished product!  Had a busy day yesterday.  Anyway, this gumbo is delicious and something I only make occasionally, just because it is rather time-consuming.  Plus, the roux can be tricky to get just right.  This particular recipe calls for a dark brown roux, which doesn’t mean burned, it will become a dark brown color after 30-45 minutes of cooking.  This article from allrecipes.com has a great explanation of how to make a roux, with pictures of the different shades of roux to use as a guide.  Once the roux is right, the rest is easy and can be done either on the stove top or in the slow cooker.  This recipe uses sausage and shrimp, but you could also add chicken or substitute chicken for the shrimp or sausage.  I used my last bag of Zaycon Foods shrimp (sniff, sniff) to make this, along with smoked andouille sausage.  You can also change-up the vegetables a little if you want, I sometimes won’t use okra if I don’t have it and will use extra corn or celery in place of it.


Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
Original recipe here

What you need:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced fresh okra
2 cups whole corn kernels
3 cups seafood stock (use vegetable or chicken stock if you can’t find seafood stock)
1 cup bottled clam juice (or use another 1 cup of stock in place of this)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (I use Louisiana Cajun seasoning)
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked smoked sausage, sliced diagonally (I used Johnsonville Andouille)
2 pounds shrimp, cleaned and deveined
Cooked white rice

How to make it:

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the flour, and cook on low heat until the roux is dark brown; about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring constantly.  Be careful not to burn the roux.

Add the onions, celery, peppers and garlic and saute until translucent.

Mix in the remaining ingredients, except the rice, and simmer over medium-low heat until thick, about 1 hour.  Remove the bay leaves.  Serve over white rice.

Slow Cooker Method:

Make the roux the same as above, and saute the onions, celery, peppers, and garlic until translucent.  Transfer this all to the slow cooker and add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, except the rice.  Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or high heat for 3-4 hours.  Remove bay leaves.  Serve over white rice.

Our 4th of July Barbecue

4 Jul

Today is a day we celebrate our freedom in the USA.  So, I planned to make a little extra food today in celebration.  We had invited a friend over to join us, but he ended up cancelling.  We had a ton of food ready to go, but the extra will take us through the next few days with some spin-off dishes.  So, what did we have?

We had top sirloin steaks, which I got on sale for $3.99/lb at Safeway last week, that I marinated in Dale’s Seasoning.  The shrimp was from Zaycon Foods, and I marinated to give it a spicy, garlic, lime flavor (see recipe below).  I also grilled corn on the cob, and to do that I cut each corn cob in half, sprayed with olive oil, sprinkled a little salt and ground black pepper on, and wrapped in aluminum foil, and put on the grill for 10-15 minutes.  Finally, I made a potato salad.  Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a hurry and didn’t cook the potatoes quite right and so they were a little crunchy, but the rest of the taste was right on.  This recipe called for sweet relish and onion, so since I had made Refrigerator Pickles a couple days ago, I chopped up the onions and “pickles” to add to the potato salad.  The recipe for this is below as well.

I have quite a bit of steak and corn left, so I am thinking I will cut up the leftover steak and saute with green peppers and onions to make steak fajitas.  Then, I will use the corn to make Roasted Corn Salsa as a side to go with it.  I also made a few extra hard-boiled eggs when I boiled eggs for the potato salad, so I chopped them up and chopped up more of the onions and pickles to mix in with it, and then mixed in some mayonnaise and mustard to make egg salad for sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.


Spicy Garlic Lime Shrimp

What you need:

1 pound large shrimp, fully cooked, peeled, and deveined
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons tequila, optional (I omitted)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (red) pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

How to make it:

Mix together all ingredients, and toss to coat shrimp well.  Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Option 1: Place shrimp on metal skewers.  If using bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in water while the shrimp marinades.  Heat a grill to high and lightly oil the grate.  Place shrimp on grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side.

Option 2:  Heat a large skillet on the stove to medium high heat.  Pour contents of bowl into the skillet.  Stir, and cook about 5 minutes, just enough to heat shrimp through.


Potato Salad

What you need:

1 lb potatoes
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish (I chopped my Refrigerator Pickles and some onions from that for the relish and onions)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Ground black pepper to taste

How to make it:

Peel and chop potatoes.  Place in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Place on stove and bring to a boil.  Boil for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender, but not mushy.  Drain water and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients.  Stir well.  Chill in refrigerator before serving.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Goat Cheese and Chives

25 Jun

I had thawed chicken for tonight’s dinner, but had no idea what I wanted to make.  I remembered I had bacon on hand, and bacon always makes everything better, right?  So, I started looking at bacon wrapped chicken recipes, and found a few that had a filling of cream cheese and chives.  I didn’t have cream cheese on hand, but I did have soft goat cheese from our Farmer’s Market visit, so I decided it would work.  I also had fresh chives from the fresh herb pack. Normally, this would be baked in the oven, but since it is so hot here, I didn’t want the extra heat.  I thought about grilling, but we had a threat of rain all afternoon.  So, I cooked this in a little olive oil on the stove top, and it turned out really well.  I served with baked potatoes and salad.


Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Goat Cheese and Chives

What you need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz soft goat cheese or cream cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
4 strips bacon
Olive oil

How to make it:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Pound each chicken breast to 1/2′ thickness.  Spread goat cheese or cream cheese over each chicken breast.  Sprinkle each with minced chives.

Roll each chicken breast.  Wrap each breast with a piece of bacon, stretching bacon around each breast to make it thinner.  Place the wrapped chicken breasts in the skillet with the preheated oil. (You can see I was in a hurry and didn’t get the bacon wrapped around the chicken real well)

Turn wrapped chicken often to get even cooking on all sides.  Cook until internal temperature is 180 F.

Alternate baking instructions: Place wrapped chicken, seam side down in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 35-40 minutes or until a thermometer reads 180°. Broil 6 in. from the heat for 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

Creamy Mustard and Tarragon Chicken

6 Jun

I normally not a big fan of mustard, but I got past it and this was really, really good.  So good, in fact, that my 3-year-old ate almost a whole piece of chicken on her own!  I used fresh tarragon from the herb pack I got from Bountiful Baskets, and chicken breast from my freezer stash of Zaycon Foods chicken.  The chicken was very moist and tasty.  I did change the original recipe a bit.  First, doubled the sauce, and then, since I didn’t have sour cream, I just milk.  It worked out well.  I served it with a wild rice blend and salad.


Creamy Mustard and Tarragon Chicken
Original recipe here

What you need:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 (5 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

How to make it:

Place the flour in a shallow dish and mix in salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken breasts in the flour.  Add chicken to the pan. Cook the chicken in the hot oil and butter until golden, about 3 minutes. Flip chicken and brown on the other side, an additional 3 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and tent with foil.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir the onion into the remaining oil in the skillet. Cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the chicken broth into the pan, and simmer while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour in the wine and bring back to a simmer. Cook the sauce until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to the pan along with any juices that have accumulated. Simmer chicken in the sauce until it is cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to a warmed platter.

Whisk the mustard and milk into the liquid in the pan; stir in the tarragon. Spoon sauce over chicken to serve.

Zaycon Foods Grilled Chicken Breast Strips

3 May

Ok, I know, I know, I just bought 40 pounds of fresh chicken breasts in March at $1.89 per pound.  I had wanted to pre-cook some of it before freezing it, but I didn’t have the time to do it.  Then, Zaycon Foods announced they were having a Fully Cooked Grillmarked Chicken Breasts Strips event for $2.89 per pound, I debated on whether or not to buy in.  My friend that I had split with before had contacted me to ask if I was, but I was still on the fence.  She said she was interested in sharing again, so I eventually decided that I would participate.  I know the other chicken I had just purchased was cheaper per pound, but for the convenience of having fully cooked chicken to pull out for various uses was very appealing to me.  Plus, fully cooked chicken at the store is usually closer to $4 per pound, so I was pleased with the price as well.  The original e-mail said that it would be 8 5-lb bags, but when I picked it up this week, it was 32 1.25-lb bags.  Which, actually is fine, because this size bags is actually better portion size for my use.  I haven’t used it yet, but by looking at the bags, it looks really good, not a lot of gristle like some fully cooked chicken tends to be.  Once I do use it, I will give an update as to how it tastes.

Crunchy Cod

30 Mar


Since we got a lot of cod recently from a Zaycon Foods event, I have been coming up with different ways to use it.  My usual standby for white fish like cod is Fish Tacos, but I needed something different.  My husband isn’t thrilled with breaded fish normally, but I wted to make something my kids wouldn’t immediately turn their noses up at.  Turns out my husband really liked it, and my kids at least tried some, but weren’t overly crazy about it.  And I thought it was really good as well.  What I like about this is that it can be versatile.  I used Italian dressing, but I think it would be good with ranch dressing as well.  I used Panko, but regular or seasoned bread crumbs would work, or you could crush stuffing mix to use.  I like when I can easily substitute what I have on hand.  Tonight, I served it with Roasted Asparagus.


Crunchy Cod 

What you need:

1/4 cup Italian or ranch salad dressing
2 cups bread crumbs (Panko, seasoned, or crushed stuffing mix)
1 pound cod fillet, cut into smaller pieces
Olive oil

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

Dip each piece of cod in the salad dressing, then in the bread crumbs to fully coat.  Place on baking sheet, and generously spray each with olive oil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until flaky.  For best results, flip each piece of cod over halfway through cooking.

Ultimate Chicken Fingers and Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes

28 Mar

I had a bag of Zaycon Foods chicken I had kept in the refrigerator instead of the freezer, and I was having trouble deciding how to cook it.  On Sunday, my girls wanted pancakes, so while I was making them using Bisquick, a recipe on the box for Ultimate Chicken Fingers caught my attention, and I decided that would be how I would cook the chicken.  Then, this week I received green beans and cherry tomatoes from Bountiful Baskets, and I thought they would make a nice side for the chicken fingers.  So, here are the recipes for both!


Ultimate Chicken Fingers
Based on recipe here

What you need:

2/3 cup Bisquick mix
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt or garlic salt (I used garlic salt)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (I didn’t use paprika)
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1 egg, slightly beaten
Olive oil
How to make it:
Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with cooking spray.
Mix Bisquick mix, Parmesan cheese, salt and paprika in 1-gallon plastic zipper bag. Dip half the chicken strips into the beaten egg; place in bag of Bisquick mixture. Seal bag; shake to coat. Place chicken on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Spray or brush with olive oil.  
Bake 12 to 14 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until no longer pink in center.
Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes
Based on recipe here
What you need:
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 cups cherry tomato halves
How to make it:
Place green beans in a large saucepan, and add enough water to just cover the green beans.  Cover pan, and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off water, and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic salt, pepper and basil. Add tomatoes, and cook stirring gently just until soft. Add green beans, and toss gently to blend.  Cook just another minute or so, then remove from heat.

Zaycon Foods Chicken

23 Mar

I’m really liking Zaycon Foods so far.  You order and pay online, then when you pick it up, you don’t even have to get out of the car, they load it for you.  Buying meat this way, then getting produce from Bountiful Baskets, makes it so that I don’t have to be in the grocery store as much.  This is nice for a couple of reasons, one is that I don’t have a lot of time for long trips, and another is that I don’t have to make my kids be in the grocery store as long.

This week, Zaycon Foods had a boneless, skinless chicken breast event here in my town.  Chicken is their trademark event, and I have seen pictures of others who have gotten it, and I decided I wanted to try it.  This time, I didn’t share the case, I just bought one for me.  It was a 40 pound unit, and the price this time was $1.89 per pound.  Sometimes the grocery stores will have chicken as low as $1.67 per pound, but it’s not often and hard to get a good quantity since they usually have limits.  I can’t get to the grocery store every day to get daily limit to stock up, so I was happy for this opportunity to stock up.  So, what does a 40 pound box of boneless, skinless chicken look like?  Like this:

Inside the box was a large, sealed bag that contained 4 unsealed bags of chicken breasts.  Lots of juices are with this chicken, so you need to have a workspace prepared in case of spills.  Here is how each piece of chicken looks:

This was actually one of the largest ones, weighing about 2 pounds.  I first cut it down the middle, then trimmed off the extra fat.  I also trimmed some of the chicken from the undersides.  Those pieces I cut in smaller pieces and collected in a measuring cup to get to 2 cups.  The recipes I use that call for diced chicken or pre-cooked chicken typically are for 1 cups of chicken, and this ends up being about 1 pound worth of chicken.  Once that was all done, I decided to put 1.5 to 2 pounds of whole chicken breasts into each bag.  I used a roll on my FoodSaver to create my own size bags for this.  I cut the larger size chicken breasts in half, so those bags had 4 chicken pieces, then the smaller ones I would put 3 pieces in a bag.  It was a lot of work!

I ended up with 16 bags of whole chicken breasts, weighing between 1.5 – 2 pounds each and 4 bags of diced chicken pieces, that were 2 cups or 1 pound each.

My freezer is now just about full!  So, I guess my hopes of buying a 1/4 cow are on hold for now.   I’m happy to have the chicken and looking forward to getting to try it out!  Now that I have a variety of meat in the freezer, when I make my meal plan for the week, I can take out the meat I need for the week and not worry about if I can get the meat on sale at the grocery store.   This also means I need to have a good system for labeling and inventory of the freezer, which I will talk about in a later post.

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