I loathe the question, and all variations of it - “What’s for dinner?”.
Here’s a helpful tip for getting through a hectic work week without starving or spending all of your time and money on fast food junk.
Meal Prep Protein!
We eat a lot of chicken and lean ground turkey, as well as eggs. My husband, a type 1 diabetic with gastroparesis has a limited diet, and on top of that, I’m simply not a fan of fatty meats. But cooking chicken 3-5 nights a week? NO and THANK YOU.
What You’ll Need:
- 2-4 lbs. of chicken, depending on how many meals you’d like to make and how many mouths you have to feed. I prefer to take advantage of our deals at The Fresh Market, which often times has antibiotic-free chicken at 2.99/lb. on Tuesdays. That’s $3.00/lb savings!
- Crockpot (any size will do!)
- 2 tablespoons oil (I prefer grape seed to olive oil because it has a higher smoke point)
- Seasoning of choice (I prefer a 1 teaspoon dried Rosemary as it is pretty universal and doesn’t have a super strong flavor profile)
- - - -
Turn on your crockpot to the “high - 4 hour” setting. If yours doesn’t have variable settings, I’d watch this the first go-round.
Pour in your 2 tablespoons of oil (less for 2 lbs. chicken). Top with your raw chicken, salt, pepper and rosemary. Cover with lid.
After 2 hours, rotate the chicken pieces. The ones on the bottom are likely totally done, but the ones on the top are still raw. Stir!
After the 4th hour, you’ll start to see magic. Notice how I never said to add any liquid? Well, your pot is full now, right? Marvelous! Once fully cooked, you should be able to get out a spoon, stir, and the chicken will fall apart.
Cut the heat, and set the crockpot aside to cool. I let the chicken rest for an hour in the stock as to retain moisture.
Pull your chicken out with strainer spoon (lots of shredded goodness!), and portion for your meals. Make sure to pour a few tablespoons of the “chicken juice” from your crockpot into your portions so reheating doesn’t dry it out.
I use this in a HUGE variety of chicken, seasoning appropriately for each meal. For example, here’s our meals from last week:
- Monday - Chicken Quesadillas (in the oven) w/ Spanish Rice and Roasted Peppers
- Tuesday - Chicken N Dumplings
- Wednesday - Spaghetti w/ Meat* Sauce and Roasted Portabella Mushrooms (*We use ground turkey, cooked w/ a teaspoon of grape seed oil for 15 minutes, then I drown it in a sea of tomato sauce and spice it up - cooking for another 5 on low/medium).
- Thursday - Cheesy Chicken w/ lemon Risotto and Spinach Salad (Top shredded chicken with provolone cheese, bake for a few minutes on low to melt and heat)
- Friday - Spinach & Tomato Quiche (can add shredded chicken to get rid of it, or for added protein)
With 5 bellies, 3 of which belong to children, it took 3 lbs. of chicken to make all of the meals above. All of which I already had portioned, partially seasoned, cooked and shredded before even starting my post-work personal Chef sessions for my family.
What do you do to save time? I know this has saved me from many martial “debates”!