Today is the final installment in my 3 part series on quick meals. I’ve been showing everyone how having frozen precooked meats on hand can really speed up dinner preparation and save you from the dreaded “drive thru trap”. Previously I wrote about ways to use Ground Beef and Meatballs. . . today I tackle chicken.
When precooking and freezing chicken my biggest money saving tip is this: DO NOT BUY BONELESS SKINLESS BREASTS!!
I know, we’ve all been pre-programmed to just grab that quick and easy bag of flash frozen chicken. Or even worse, the chicken tenders-same thing, just cut smaller for a higher price. Resist!
You will be cooking and then either shredding or cutting up the chicken before freezing it in meal sized portions-so buy whatever is cheapest and save yourself some cash. Please.
There are several ways you can cook the actual chicken. If it’s a small amount and I’m going to be around, I’ll throw it in a roasting pan and bake it in the oven. If I want to be hands off and not obligated to be right there all the time I’ll toss it in the crockpot and let it cook. You can even let it cook while you sleep!
Once you’ve got the chicken all packaged up in the freezer you can take advantage of the bones & skin by tossing them all back into the crockpot with some water (and a TBS of vinegar to leach calcium out of the bones) to make your own broth. Cook for 4-6 hrs, strain, stick it in the fridge to have the fat float to the top, skim and package in 1 cup portions for future use!
Just be careful that you don’t drop the pot like I fairly famously did the time I was bulk cooking 20 pounds of chicken thighs!
If you are a visual person, you can check out the Bulk Chicken Cooking Tutorial at Kims Kitchen.
Now, on to my 10 simple ways to use precooked chicken!
Chicken & Gravy: Use dry packet of gravy mix (or make your own) and serve over rice, biscuits or bread.
Mustard Chicken: Mix either sour cream or plain yogurt (1/3 C) with a dollup of dijon mustard and some beef bullion powder/onion soup mix. Warm (do not boil) and add chicken. Serve with rice.
Chicken soup: Broth, veggies, chicken, rice or noodles.
Chicken Tacos/Burritos: Add the spice mix (packet or homemade) and serve either on burrito wraps or in taco shells with all the regular accompaniments.
Stirfry: Mix with a bag of frozen stirfry veggies and some soy sauce, serve with rice.
Curry: Mix with leftover/frozen veggies and instant curry cubes (I have a curry making tutorial). Serve with rice.
Chicken Cacciatore: Add to spaghetti sauce and simmer. Serve over noodles
Chicken Stuffing Casserole: Make stuffing (box or homemade) layer chicken on top and pour gravy over (packet or homemade).
Chicken Divan: Mix cream of soup, 2tsp lemon juice, 1 C mayo & chicken. Layer over spinach or broccoli, sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 till hot.
Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese: Add to favorite Mac ‘n Cheese
And there you have it! I am sure if you sit and think you can add even more to the list!
After learning all these great ways to use precooked ground meat, meatballs & chicken to make quick and easy dinners won’t you just feel terribly guilty if you run through the drive thru instead?
Photo by stevendepolo
Thanks for the tips Jenn!!
Marj M. says
I am so thankful that you shared all these things to do with shredded chicken. Some I already incorporate into meals….others I sure am going to try. We also have a yummy Chicken Enchilada way to use it. Thanks again.
In our house chicken on the bone is a waste of money, so I do buy the boneless breasts, but I buy them in a 40lb case at 1.39 a pound and then process it. I tried using whole chickens but it was taking time I didn’t have, and there was a lot of wasted chicken hitting the trash. And that 40lb of chicken lasts about 4 months and we eat chicken based meals 4 times a week.
So there are situations in which bonless chicken is the better buy.