Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bulk cooking

I love convenience foods, but not the preservatives & additives that normally go along with them. I've sorta been making a conscious effort to eat and cook healthier. I just simply feel better when I cook from scratch. One of my favorite ways to have "convenience" food is by bulk cooking chicken.

I try to buy a big family pack of split chicken breasts when they're on sale for $.99/lb. I spray my slow cooker with nonstick spray and put the chicken in, layering them so hey're in a relatively even thickness. I put the lid on. No liquid, no seasoning. Just the chicken. Cook overnight (8 hours or so) on low. When they're all cooked, take them and put them in a baking pan and refrigerate until they're cool enough to handle.

Remove the skin, fat, bones and any gristle and shred the meat. I portion mine into freezer bags in approximately 2 cup portions. Squeeze out as much air from the bag as you can and flatten them out so they stack nicely. Pop into the freezer! That's it.

Now you have shredded chicken to use for whatever you like. Chicken salad, pot pie, casseroles, enchiladas, etc. Just put the bag into the microwave (be sure to open it to vent), and nuke for about 1.5 minutes, and it's thawed and ready to rock & roll.

It does take a bit of work to prepare initially, but it's SO much less expensive than canned or pouched chicken, and because you fix it yourself, you know exactly what's in it! What's NOT to like about that??

If you have a kitchen shortcut, please share in the comments!!

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