I'm changing my strategy of meal planning, shopping and cooking. It all revolves around this.
Our new little freezer. (Our kitchen freezer is tall, narrow and hard to open. Good but not very functional)
Isn't she cute. I think I'll name her Judy. After doing a little research I opted for the Sunpentown Compact Freezer (from here). It is 3.0 cu ft freezer which is small enough to fit in our pantry/closet. I love that is has four removable baskets instead of shelves.
Why am I excited about a freezer you ask? Let me show you.
Currently the top baskets holds approximately 15 bags of pre-cooked chicken ready for lunch/dinner. What makes me extra happy about this basket is that I payed about $20 for all that meat. I'm not one of those extreme shoppers but I do like to take advantage of a good deal. A few posts ago I wrote about the chicken sale at my grocery store ($1.77 @ Sunflower Market). Here is what I do with it.
Chicken grosses me out by the way so if I only have to prepare it once that is another bonus.
I took three packages and marinated them in Italian dressing from Costco (less than $4 for the gallon). I think 1 gallon would probably make about 4 batches like this. And yes, I actually finished that whole container of dressing.
The other package of chicken goes into the crock pot. I fill it with water and add seasoning. For this batch I added about a teaspoon of salt, garlic powder, onion powder and a half teaspoon of pepper and red pepper flakes. This is one of those things you can add what ever you have on hand.
Prep work: 15 minutes
I let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator while the crock pot works it's magic. I cooked the chicken on high for 5 hours (low 8-9) then I grilled the marinated chicken and let the crock pot chicken cool.
Cook time: 5 hours crockpot/45 minues (grilled chicken)
Finally when it was all cooked and cooled I chopped, shredded and bagged into meal sized amounts. This will very per family size but most recipes I use call for 1-2 cups cooked chicken which is roughly 1/2 quart sized bag. I shred the chicken from the crock pot (4 bags) chop 2/3 of the grilled (8 bags) slice 1/3 grilled (3 bags).
Cut and package and clean up = 1.5 hours (not fun but I'm done for awhile)
So now my little freezer is stocked with 15 dinners that are half way started. I'll be posting how I use these bags of chicken in the freezer meals button on the left (or click here).
Sorry for the super boring post about freezers and chicken. To make up for it here is a cool tutorial I found on Pinterest. (click on the photo)
Now go make chicken and some cute garland.