Last month one of my co-ops was offering a pretty darn good buy on some bulk chicken, and I had just been thinking on the fact that life is so busy right now--and somewhat unpredictable with two in diapers and all--and how I needed some freezer meals or some semi-prepped food in my freezer for those crazy or tiring days that seem to be...like every other day!
The price for the chicken deal was great, but there was a catch. The chicken deal was for 20 lbs of frozen breast/tenders/cutlets of assorted sizes frozen all together in two 10 lb bags. So, yeah, basically two 10 lb frozen solid blocks of chicken meat...but for an excellent price. I bought it.
I just finally got around to prepping one of the 10 lb blocks of chicken meat, and here's what I did. I ignored the fact that they were individual chicken pieces. I thawed the entire package and simply dumped the whole thing in my extra large dutch oven with a little water and slowly cooked all the meat on a low temperature until it was fully cooked, moist and tender. Then I shredded some and chopped some, and I froze the cooked meat in 1.5-2 lb portions (enough for a meal for us). It came out to 7 packages plus about 3 cups of chicken broth.
By cooking the meat completely plain with no seasonings whatsoever, I can now use the meat however I choose. I can add barbecue sauce to shredded chicken and serve on buns. I can defrost shredded chicken and make chicken salad. I can add chopped chicken to soup or use it in chicken and rice, with pasta or on top of a salad. Having the pre-cooked meat has already been a help, a time saver and a SANITY saver!! :)
Sometimes we just need to think out of the box a bit. While two 10 lb solid blocks of frozen chicken breast pieces of assorted sizes doesn't exactly sound ideal, with a little thought I was able to make it work for me by turning it into a time-saving, money-saving help. It was cheap, it was quick and simple to prepare, and now I'm reaping the ease of it all with partially-prepped meals in my freezer.