Confession: I’m not a big fan of raw poultry. It’s slimy, it’s cold, and it smells kind of funny. I just don’t care for it.
I do enjoy eating chicken, though, as does the fam. So I’m forced to man-up and deal with it every now and then.
Recently, I devised a way to keep the chicken-handling to a minimum. The best part: a little extra hands-on time at the beginning of each month saves me time and money for the next four weeks.
At the beginning of each month, I buy the chicken that we’ll need for that month’s meals. Since I plan our suppers one month at a time, I already know what meals I’ll be preparing that require chicken.
I bake the chicken (usually boneless skinless breasts or thighs) on a cookie sheet, then I shred it using my KitchenAid while it’s still hot.
Next, I portion the shredded chicken into freezer bags based on the amount I need for each recipe. For example, if I’m making oven-fried chimichangas twice this month, and that recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken, I’ll fill two freezer bags with 1 1/2 cups of chicken.
I put each of those smaller bags into a larger one labeled with the name of the recipe and the portion size. The whole thing goes in the freezer. When it’s time to make the recipe, I just remove an individual bag and stick it in the fridge overnight to thaw.
My reasons for loving this method are threefold. First, I only have to deal with raw chicken once a month, and even then, I’m touching the chicken very little.
Second, I eliminate the most time consuming part of most meal preparation: cooking the meat. I can whip up a batch of chimichangas in less than ten minutes- not including cooking time- when I’m using precooked chicken. Some nights it seems like all I can do to just get a meal on the table, so I’m all about quick and easy.
Which brings me to my third reason. When preparing a meal takes less time than running to the fast food place around the corner, we end up eating out a lot less. Our wallets and our stomachs are much happier when we’re eating something that I’ve prepared.
If you aren’t already planning your meals at least a week or two in advance, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. It’s something I’ve been doing for quite a while now. It takes so much of the guesswork and stress out of meal preparation, and it’s nearly eliminated those last minute trips to the grocery store.
I want to know: what tips, tricks, or shortcuts do you use to speed up the supper-making process?