If you're thawing a piece of meat for later cooking, place it (in its wrapping) in a cast iron skillet/pot. It will thaw faster that way -- the iron seems to draw the coldness out of the meat. The larger the skillet, the more effective this is. We try to avoid using the microwave for thawing meat.
(BTW -- Anna and I are eating the chicken alfredo for lunch, and it is tastier today than it was yesterday!)