Monday, January 18, 2016

Planning & Simple Shredded Chicken

This is not an exciting picture. It is really ugly. 
However, it is a great example of a tip I thought I'd share today. 

There are some days I don't feel like cooking dinner. Nights that we have meetings planned or days that we have been running around all day. On those days I want to throw in the towel and go get Chipotle. But I know that ruins my budget and isn't all that healthy. So, I try to avoid it. Here are a few tips I have learned over the years. 

1. Prep meat in batches. See the ugly picture above. This morning I took a giant pack of chicken and cooked 2/3rds of it, shredded it, and put it in containers with the amount for each recipe. The bottom container has raw chicken (the last 1/3 of the pack) that I trimmed and cut into manageable chunks to speed along cooking times. It really didn't take me any more time than prepping just part of the meat. I already had the pans, scissors, and cutting boards out. I am saving myself two washings in the process. 

2. Meal plan. I used to think meal planning was silly. I didn't do it. But then I would panic each night when faced with cooking dinner. All of the sudden I would lose all inspiration. Now I meal plan, but I don't plan a meal for ever night. I usually leave in a night or two to eat leftovers or once in a while a night at a restaurant. 

3. I have a few quick go to meals in case everything fails. 
Pancakes and eggs
Tomato soup and grilled cheese 
And if all else fails yogurt and granola. :)

4. I invested in a cookbook filled with meals in under 45 minutes. Best idea ever. In case you want to buy it, it was on sale at Americas Test Kitchen's store. It is called the Quick Family Cookbook. 

There are a few tips I use to avoid eating out and food waste. I am slowly learning the longer I cook. And here is my new favorite way to cook chicken for casseroles or chicken salad, etc. :

Simple shredded chicken
(Makes 3 cups)
1T oil
1 lb. chicken breast

Heat oil in pan. Salt and pepper chicken. Place in pan. Brown first side.  (This gives the chicken a much better flavor). 
Flip chicken. Add 1/2c. Water. Cover an dinner until chicken reaches 160 degrees. 
Let cool. Shred into pieces. 

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