Saturday, January 22, 2011

Prepping Five Meals From Five Chicken Breasts

To create five very distinctive meals for my family of five out of five chicken breasts, a little prep work goes a long way. Just a little time spent at the beginning of the week makes the rest of the days come together quickly and easily.

To make these five dinners (plus a bonus lunch!), I started with five bone-IN chicken breasts. To really stretch your chicken, I find bone-in breasts to be the way to go. (They can often be found for less than a dollar a pound too!)

Five of them:

One at a time, I toss a breast on the cutting board:

And trim away the skin with a sharp knife. This process goes quickly.

Once that's completed, I cut the fat "meaty part" off the front of the breast. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just do your best to cut pretty close to the bone and you should end up with what looks like a "boneless, skinless chicken breast"- five of them, actually:

The remaining parts will look like this:

Go ahead and toss those in a pot of boiling water. I'm convinced you can't really mess this part up. Boil them on high for 20 minutes or 45 minutes on med-low or anywhere in between. I've done it all and it always works out for me. Just get it cooked.

Meanwhile, choose the two fattest boneless breasts and butterfly them, resulting in four breast portions. (These are for your batter-dipped sandwiches.) You can package them up at this point.

Take another boneless breast and cut it into bite-sized pieces. That, too, can be packaged. (This is for your Creamy Chicken Marsala w/ Noodles.)

Take the two remaining boneless breasts and cut them into bite-sized pieces too. Package them separately as they're for a different meal (the stir-fry).

Once your bone/meat remains are done cooking, remove them to the cutting board (<--- the CLEANED AND DRIED cutting board, my friends... I am not Miss FussyPants in the kitchen, but you just gotta wash up after raw chicken) and let them cool until you can easily handle them.

Pick the chicken bits off. Use a fork, a knife, your hands... whatever works for you. I like to use my fingers, but maybe that's just me. I ended up with about 3 cups of chicken bits and a bowl of bones.

The bits get bagged as follows: 1 1/2 cups (for a frittata), 1 cup (for on pizza), and 1/2 cup (for in soup).:
(Sorry I failed to rotate this pic!)

It took me about 45 minutes, start to finish, to get all that done. And that includes getting those bones in a pot with veggie scraps to make stock- don't toss those bones!!

All this week, I'll be sharing the recipes to make with all that beautifully prepped chicken. Here's the rundown:


Anonymous said...

This is great for a smaller family. I would need to double or even triple this for a family of 7 including 5 adults. But, thanks for the ideas

katy kirkland said...

This came at the perfect time for me and my family! Thanks so much for sharing!

Jessie said...

This is great!! I'd love to see a healthy, low-fat type version of this, with meals that take no longer than 20mins to prep. I've a physical disability which makes prepping meals hard so generally stick to microwave meals or toast. This would be brilliant if it worked with 20min prep, healthy meals.

Anonymous said...

Crockpot cooking can be a simple way of cooking w little prep. You can cut and portion like above. Most recipes are easy w simple recipes.

Michele Rogers said...

Thank you for your amazing and very clearly detailed instructions!!