It seems like a lot of bloggers write weekend posts about the meal prep they do, to make cooking faster and easier during the week. I have never really gotten into the meal prep trend. For me, cooking is relaxing, and a fun thing to do to de-stress. I don’t want to do less of it during the week; in fact, I wish I could do more than my travel schedule allows. Furthermore, just about everything I make takes 30 minutes or less, so it’s not like I’m spending a lot of time in the kitchen anyway. (Thanks to Rachel Ray for teaching me to cook everything in 30 minutes or less!)
However, the last few weeks, I’ve started prepping one thing on weekends: shredded chicken. I stock up on chicken breasts when they’re on sale at the grocery store, and bag each one individually, then put all of them into a large ziplock and toss it into the freezer. (I freeze a lot of fish/meats, and the large ziplock helps me keep my freezer organized.) Then as far as the “meal prep” goes, just before I go to bed, I take a couple breasts out of the freezer, throw them in the crockpot, and fill the pot with water till they’re covered. Sometimes I’ll add some simple spices (e.g., garlic and sage), but often I’ll just leave it as is. I set the crockpot to low and then just let them cook overnight while I’m sleeping. In the morning, I’ll turn the heat up to high, and by lunchtime, the chicken breast is falling apart and super easy to shred.
Shredding the chicken takes only about two minutes with how soft it gets, and at this point, I usually also add some salt and pepper to the mixture. Two breasts is usually about three or four good-sized servings of shredded chicken for me, and it makes it so quick and easy to add the meat to salads, stir fries, and a ton of other dishes without having to wait for the meat to cook through.
Plus as a bonus, I ended up with a few cups of chicken stock, which I’ll either turn into actual soup or sometimes drink instead of tea or cocoa to warm me up when I’m cold. (I’m always cold.)
So – that’s my new meal prep routine. Short and sweet, and hardly worth describing, except that it was only a few years ago that I discovered how easy it was to use a crockpot for shredded meat. So maybe someone else out there is as clueless as I once was? Or perhaps this will just be a refresher and reminder for those who haven’t done it in a while. Either way, try it out and let me know what delicious recipes you’ve found to put shredded chicken in!