How to Cook and Shred Chicken in Bulk (Fast!)

How to Cook Chicken for the Freezer at ASlobComesClean.com

I can’t declare loudly enough how much I love pre-cooking chicken and ground beef. If you really want to cook regularly, but feel overwhelmed at the thought, cooking some basic meats ahead of time will change your life.

That’s kind of dramatic-sounding, but true.

Think about it. The biggest time-factor in preparing most meals (even the easiest ones) is the meat. Thawing it, trimming it, cooking it, draining it, cleaning up the mess.

There are definitely some meals that need the meat to NOT be pre-cooked, but so many recipes work great! And as life gets busier as the kids get older (ummm, out of town basketball games??), I pre-cook more and more of my 40 lbs. of Zaycon chicken because that’s what I turn to again and again for super-fast home-cooked meals.

I made a video. If you can’t see it, watch it on youtube here.

How I Cook a Who’ Lotta Chicken at Once to Freeze (And Shred It Super-Fast Without Carpal Tunnel Pain)

Cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot in bulk at ASlobComesClean.com

After I trim all the nastiness off of the boneless skinless chicken breasts, I place them straight into my CrockPot(s). I salt and pepper each layer.

I cook the chicken on low for 5-6 hours or until cooked through and falling apart easily.

Then, I shred them. All twenty-five pounds or so. In, like, less than ten minutes.

For real.

I’ve mentioned this before, but thought it deserved its own post (and video) because it’s just so stinking cool. I saw the trick mentioned on CouponingtoDisney.com. She uses a stand mixer. But my stand mixer is inconveniently placed and I’m not hauling 25 hot chickens across the kitchen to use it.

Oops. I meant 25 pounds of hot chicken.

Anyway, I use my hand mixer.

Remove Chicken From the Hot Liquid for Shredding

Remove the chicken from the hot liquid of the CrockPot. I don’t intentionally add liquid when cooking the chicken. With the water from the just-rinsed chicken and natural juices, it just happens. The liquid is the reason you can’t shred the chicken inside the slow cooker. Hot chicken juice flies everywhere and will burn you.

Trust me. I know this.

While the chicken is still hot, press the handmixer’s beaters onto one of the boneless skinless chicken breasts and turn on the lowest setting. You’ll have to hold on to the bowl so the handmixer doesn’t get away from you (and to keep chicken from flying everywhere), but just keep moving to an unshredded piece until you’re satisfied with the Level of Shred.

Shredding Chicken Pre-Cooked in Bulk at ASlobComesClean

 

Warning: Know that this goes crazy fast. It’s fun, so there’s a real temptation to keep on shreddin’, but you’ll end up with chicken dust if you’re not careful.

Once the chicken is completely cooled (you may need to spread it out on a cookie sheet to help it cool faster), put it in freezer bags. This last time, I had the brilliant idea to fill quart sized bags with shredded chicken and then fill up the remaining space with the broth from the crockpots. While this has kept the chicken moist, it has made breaking apart the frozen chicken more difficult. (MUCH more difficult.) Next time, I’ll either try that again with significantly less chicken in a bag so the frozen chunks are flatter and easier to break, or only put one meal’s worth in a bag so I don’t have to break it apart at all.

So how do I use such a huge amount of pre-cooked, frozen chicken? Lots of ways! I use it in my chicken fried rice, chicken salad, tortilla soup, chicken and bacon sub sandwiches, creamy chicken and spinach enchiladas, chicken and black bean burritos, faux alfredo, white chicken chili and more.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share three unbelievably easy and quick meals using this shredded chicken. These are meals my family loves and requests regularly. Sign up as an email subscriber (it’s free) to be sure you don’t miss them.

Also see my tutorial and video where I explain where I get 40 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken breast and how I deal with ALL THAT CHICKEN!! Or just go straight to Zaycon chicken through my referral link.

And here’s how I pre-cook ground beef!

 

 

 

--Nony

Back on Track: The Constant Battle Against my Delusions of “Normal”

Getting Back on Track after Summer at ASlobComesClean.com

I’m not normal. I know that.

But I still live with this delusion that someday, Normal will happen. Specifically, that my life will be normal.

That I’ll get a routine figured out and that routine will work for the rest of my life. The rest of my entire life. No adjustments needed.

I know better. Really, I do. But I still struggle with this delusion.

My oldest is now in Jr. High. 7th grade. And as of 6:30 this yesterday morning, his life dream has been realized. He’s playing football.

This year will be like no other I’ve had as a parent, and there is no going back.

Did you catch the 6:30 a.m. thing? Did you feel sorry for me? O.K. good.

I have to find a new normal. A new temporary normal.

Last winter, I started working out at 5 a.m. That was a new routine for me, but it worked. I’d gotten used to it and honestly . . . I liked it. I especially liked how working out when I’d normally be sleeping added time to my day. I would get home at 6:05, drink my coffee and do my Bible study time. I loved being done with those two REALLY important things before my kids even got out of bed.

But that much-loved version of Normal is over.

Yesterday morning, I came home at 6:05, awakened my 12yo, helped him find his socks (that he was sure he’d put out the night before) and then looked at the clock and realized it was time to GO.

Coffee? Schmoffee.

I’m not complaining one tiny bit. I’m just taking a deep breath and talking to myself and trying to slosh my way through until we figure out how this new (but temporary) Normal will work.

Because even when Normal happens, it doesn’t last long.

So here’s

*****************************

I interrupt this post about how Normal never happens to me to share what made me stop writing with that “So here’s” up there.

Broken Arm on the VERY First Day of School atASlobComesClean.com

Right. At 10:15, in the middle of writing my first post after my summer break from blogging, the school called. It seems some crazy kid had injured his arm while playing Wall Ball in the very first recess of his fifth grade year. The nurse was concerned it might be broken.

She was right.

So my “back on track” day was completely derailed and I spent the rest of it at doctors’ offices.

BUT, I’m still proud of the things I did before 9:30 AM.

Getting back on track means cleaning up the kitchen. During summer’s survival mode, I ran the dishwasher. Almost everyday.

And emptied it. Pretty much everyday.

So that before picture at the top of the post? It could have been soooo much worse.

Notice that dishwasher is empty. And dishes AREN’T piled higher than the top of the faucet.

That’s a victory, folks. Because as long as “cleaning the kitchen” only means putting away the things I’ve left out and straightening and such, it’s takes at least 75% less time to “clean the kitchen” than it does when I have to wash every dish we own.

Lickety-split, the kitchen looked like this:

After Minimal Time Cleaning the Kitchen at ASlobComesClean.com

Is it perfect? Nope. Is this mama happy? Yep!!

But the best part is that I got to enjoy the benefits of time spent getting back on track. When we finally got home from our day of x-raying and casting, I made dinner. And it wasn’t stressful. When the counters are clear, it’s so much easier to throw something together.

It’s also easier (and more natural) to clean up the tiny bit of mess created while making dinner when the kitchen is already mostly clean.

Yay for understanding routines enough that it’s easy to get back into them!! Because that’s what it’s about. Routines.

Routines keep our house (and me) sane. And routines can be transferred to any schedule. Really. They (OBVIOUSLY) work better with schedules that are a little more predictable, but they are necessary no matter what crazy curveballs this gig called Life throws my way.

Have your kids started school yet? Are your routines falling back into place?

If you don’t even know where to start creating routines, 28 Days to Hope for Your Home will get you going. It’s (obviously) written by someone who isn’t perfect. (Me!) And it just happens to be on sale through September 1st! Go here for more info and the discount code!

Oh, and I also made a video:

(If you can’t see it here, go watch on YouTube!)

--Nony

How to Freeze Ground Beef

How to Freeze Ground Beef (Super Easy!) at ASlobComesClean.com

I’ve written a similar post before, but I’ve come up with an even better (faster!) method.

You know that I pre-cook the vast majority of our ground beef to use in spaghetti, soups, tacos, casseroles, etc.

Oh. You didn’t know? Well, I do.

But I like to have some that is not pre-cooked (especially in warmer weather) so I can make things like burgers.

Fine. Who am I kidding? So Hubby can make burgers.

Anyway, this means I need to divide it up for freezing since freezing a six pound chunk of ground beef isn’t a good idea. Trust me. It’s not. But I buy it in six-pound chunks since it’s cheaper that way.

I’ve always divided it into quarter pound portions to freeze, but I recently came up with an even easier way to do that.

Prepping Ground Beef for Freezing at ASlobComesClean.com

Press three pounds of ground beef evenly onto a cookie sheet with sides.

(I don’t weigh. I just use a halfish portion of a sixish pound package of meat. You can do the math according to your package.)

Then, I use a flat, but not-sharp, utensil (it’s the plastic paddle that came with my rice-cooker) to “cut” the meat into twelve evenish pieces.

The Best Way to Divide Ground Beef for Freezing at ASlobComesClean.com

(It’s not as awkward as it looks. Unless you’re trying to do it with your left hand so you can take a picture with your right hand . . . )

I cover the cookie sheet with foil and freeze.

Once it’s frozen, I pry the meat off and break it easily into pieces to store in the freezer in a gallon freezer bag.

Ground beef frozen in Meal-Sized Portions at ASlobComesClean.com

Now, I can grab four pieces when I need a pound of ground beef, or let Hubby throw them straight onto the grill.

Note: I did put aluminum foil under the ground beef this time, but I don’t think it’s necessary and was kind of a pain to peel off after frozen.

 

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Don’t forget that I’m running a sale on my 2 e-book set through the end of March! The set is $5 with the code SPRING14 which is usually the cost of one e-book. Click here for info on the e-books and/or to purchase!

--Nony
--Nony

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