A chicken patty adds to a simple Japanese-cuisine-inspired noodle bowl, Jan. 15, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

A chicken patty adds to a simple Japanese-cuisine-inspired noodle bowl, Jan. 15, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kalifornsky Kitchen: Pondering chicken patties

You can find them at most stores. A big pack of breaded chicken patties that come frozen, and can be cooked or reheated in the oven, or microwave. They’re probably not that great for you, but when times are tough, or things are hectic, they are an answer to an easy and filling meal.

If you have no idea what a chicken patty is, let me take you to the frozen section of Costco, or Three Bears. A large stack of breaded chicken patties lasts a long time in our house. We pull them out of the freezer when we can’t possibly be bothered to cook a thought-out meal, or when ramen just needs a little something extra, or eggs and toast won’t cut it for an early afternoon breakfast.

Growing up, I spent the school year living with mom, who was working most of the time. I remember from a very early age I was solely responsible for most meals I ate. She cooked full dinners occasionally, but my sister and I often fended for ourselves with either leftovers, or whatever food was around, which usually included chicken patties from Costco. I remember in elementary school, microwaving a chicken patty was a meal I made for myself a lot. In high school, I moved in with my dad, stepmom and my grandparents. Full, family meals, with full place settings, were the norm. It didn’t matter what we were eating, everyone had a place mat, a full silverware set and cloth napkin, and salt and pepper had to be on the table.

Shopping for my own groceries, I’ve passed by chicken patties. I never wanted to buy them. For me, they represented a part of my past I don’t enjoy thinking about. So I didn’t buy them, until recently. My boyfriend wanted to get them on our last Costco trip. We were looking for food that could be cooked quickly, to be eaten on days when we’re both exhausted from the never-ending hustle that is our self-employed lives. I agreed. They are easy to cook and eat. And as an adult, I can find better ways to dress them up, and elevate them from the dishes of my basic and juvenile elementary school palate.

This is an ingredient-specific guide for chicken patties. If you have these in your freezer, you can likely pull other things from your fridge and pantry to make an easy weeknight meal.

Asian-inspired noodles

Ingredients:

Chicken patties, one per person

Your favorite teriyaki sauce, or other similar sauce you have on hand

Some type of noodle, whatever you have on hand, but preferably soba, ramen or udon

Some greens or other vegetables or herbs

Your favorite spices to add oomph to your noodle bowl

One of our favorite ways to eat chicken patties is on top of ramen. We keep a diverse selection of udon, soba and ramen noodles in our pantry.

Before we prepare the water for boiling and decide what noodle we want to cook, we get a couple chicken patties on a baking sheet, and spread some teriyaki sauce on the top of patty. We use Yoshida brand, but whatever you have and like will probably work just fine. In the oven, it will create a sort of saucy coating for the chicken patty.

Bake that for as long as your brand of chicken patties directs you too. While those are in the oven, prepare your noodles per the package instructions. While the noodles and chicken are cooking, find whatever greens you have lying around in your fridge. Some chopped cilantro, green onions, leeks, baby spinach, arugula, kale will add some freshness to your meal.

Feel free to use fresh veggies that you have that aren’t greens. Some mushrooms, summer squash or carrots would make a good addition too. Frozen or canned vegetables work as well, if you’re short on fresh produce.

Once your produce is ready, dig through your spice cabinet, pulling out everything that could add oomph to your meal. We love Chinese five spice, sesame seeds and a homemade kelp gomashio that my aunt made for us using Alaska kelp.

Next, we pull out sesame oil to lightly coat the noodles. You only need a little bit to incorporate into the noodles and give it some toastiness. Peanut oil works too.

Once the noodles and the chicken are done, mix the oil and spices into the noodles, and stir it around so the ingredients are evenly distributed. Take a portion of noodles and place into your bowl, adding the greens and additional spices on top. Finish it off with sliced up chicken patty on top of everything.

A simple sandwich

Ingredients:

Chicken patties, one per person

Your favorite burger sauce, like ketchup, mustard, barbecue or teriyaki

Greens and/or veggies to add to your burger, like lettuce, spinach, arugula, tomato, cabbage, slaw

Some sort of bun, could be slices of bread, a tortilla wrap, hamburger buns, English muffin, whatever you have

Cheese slices, optional

Heat your chicken patty up in the microwave, or oven, per the brand’s instructions. While it’s cooking, assembly the rest of your ingredients. Assemble the sandwich your preferred way, starting with the buns, and leaving room in the middle for the chicken patty. Adding an egg can adapt this sandwich to be a breakfast sandwich.

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