I used to get really frustrated when I was new to meal prepping and cooking because there were so many recipes that I ran across that required cooked chicken. Obviously, I can cook the chicken right before making the recipe, but the authors of the recipes did not count that time in their calculations. That meant that someone could state that a meal is a 30-minute dinner when it was really a 45-60-minute dinner if they had included the time for cooking chicken.
There is a great way around all this which can make life way easier. It is cooking chicken in advanced and then freezing it for later use.
Buy a few pounds of boneless chicken breast or thighs. Chicken breasts will help you cut down on fat and if you are a Weight Watchers member, it is a zero point food which is great. Chicken thighs can sometimes be cheaper and they have more flavor due to the fat in them. Pick which one you want, or let sales determine which one you buy.
My favorite way to bulk cook chicken this way is in my crockpot. I put a liner in the pot, put in the chicken, and cook on low until done. If you are not going to be home, time it for about 6-8 hours on low.
I find that I don’t have to add anything extra to the chicken, but I know some people add chicken broth and seasonings. I prefer to do it plain so that I can use it in anything. The chicken gives off enough moisture that the it does not burn.
Once the chicken is done, I shred it with forks. Then I let it cool and package it in quart-size freezer bags. These are usually the perfect size for recipes. I label the bags with what is in them and the date.
When I decide to make a dish with shredded chicken in it, I take the bag out of the freezer for it to defrost while I’m at work. If for some reason I forget, it can be put in the microwave on the defrost setting until it’s just a teeny bit warm. Since it’s going to be cooked again, it is not necessary for it to get hot.
Cooked shredded chicken is so versatile and having it on hand in my freezer means I’m always one step ahead of the game.
I hope that you found this post informative and that it helps you with your meal planning. Please like, share, and/or comment below.