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Feb 26 2014

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Cooking in Bulk: Your First Step to Freezer Meals

diced chicken
I’ve got plans. Great plans. I’ve pinned 426 different freezer meals and I have the best of intentions to prepare them all and to eat like a king for weeks on end. So I start to make a grocery list. It gets long (and pricey). I start to wonder where it all will go until I prepare all of the meals. I wonder how in a weekend filled with family, and sports, and maybe a little time for fun- when I will ever get this done. Then I consider the size of my freezer. Ok, maybe I’ll try this next week…..

Sound familiar? Cooking in bulk sounds great in theory but can be overwhelming. And while every bit of “blog advice” I read says that my lists of recipes, how-to’s, etc. should be long- I completely disagree. Too much information makes my heart beat a little too fast and turns me off to trying new things. So in an effort to speak to anyone like myself, I’d like to start you with a small, but very useful first step.

If you have never cooked in bulk before, this can be a simple way to start. We eat a lot of salads in our house and chicken is a standard protein topping to make our salads a complete meal. Meat dishes tend to take the longest to bake, so the idea is that by making this chicken and already having it diced up, you have instant protein to add to your dinner on a busy night. This diced chicken is also good for pasta dishes, soups, or shred it (rather than dicing) and use for enchiladas. It defrosts quickly since it is already in small pieces.

When I buy chicken I buy enough extra to make this dish. I bake it while we are eating dinner so that it can be done, cooled, and chopped as part of the evening kitchen clean up.

This recipe is obviously not too involved and I would expect you to make any adaptations as necessary. You may want to cook more for a bigger family, or package in smaller portions for individual servings. Whichever way you “dice” it (corny humor from my dad, sorry)- you will be so happy to have this in your freezer when you are hungry and need a quick meal!

Meal-Ready Diced Chicken

Instructions (to make two meals to feed four):

3 ½ lbs of fresh chicken breast (not frozen)
¾ cup Italian dressing (I love Good Seasons Italian Dressing)
Marinate for 3-4 hours (if you remember)

Bake 350 degrees
Approx. 30 minutes- depending on breast thickness
Done at 165 degrees

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Note about buying chicken- it does need to be fresh, not previously frozen since you are going to freeze it again. If you have a Sprouts nearby, I have found they have the best deal on chicken breasts. Every other week or so, they have chicken breasts for $1.99 per pound. This is at least $1.00 less per pound than any other grocery (or big box) store in my area.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.balancingthebusy.com/2014/02/cooking-in-bulk-your-first-step-to-freezer-meals/

2 pings

  1. Getting Back on Track: Dumping the junk to make room for healthy eats » Balancing the Busy

    […] greens and other ingredients to pre-make salads for us big kids to take to work this week. That diced up chicken in the freezer will come in handy for that this week! Dinners are planned out so all the […]

  2. Chicken Alfredo with Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes » Balancing the Busy

    […] lean protein, and some veggies. Easily justified as a meal on busy nights. If you already have the diced chicken made, this will be even easier! Another bonus is that the ingredients don’t need to be exact. […]

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