During my first week of beginning my 10 Minute Dinners blog (with all five of you reading), I shared this post. As I began writing up my next C.O.S.T Cooking post for this series, I realized this really gives you a glimpse into simplifying our meal time so that we can enjoy our minutes connecting, so here it is revisited. Plus, I realized I never posted some of these recipes, so they are on the docket for next week.
Since the concept of 10 minute dinners is not just one “recipe,” it’s a journey towards understanding the mind set behind being able to whip up ten minute dinners, I thought I would share my real live shopping experience just last night and what came as a result of this.
For those of you who are new to my blogs, one thing you will quickly realize is that much of my writing is done “on the spot.” Many of you read my facebook update just hours ago when I scored this amazing chicken deal. Yes, pecked out on my iphone I shared,
…from there, I stopped in at Aldi’s to stock up on the boneless, skinless chicken breast that was going off sale today. Due to overstock and needing to move it out quickly, the manager marked it down and it wasn’t even short dated.
I may or may not have just purchased 30 pounds of chicken breast for $24. (Do you know how incredibly cheap that is per pound?)
And I may or may not have just gone into “teacher” mode by telling all those around me why they too should stock up. I have now walked in the front door, and am going into Ten Minute Dinners mode trying to think of all the ways I can cook this up tonight since I do not have room for all the packages like this. That post will be on 10minutedinners.com momentarily. It’s been an all around fabulously frugal afternoon.
I readily admit that I was pretty close to hugging that store manger ( I restrained), but did gush as I shared how the 75 people I was hosting at our home this weekend would now be served chicken (said in my best “Let them eat cake” tone.)
I also admit to giving those poor unsuspecting by-standards around me a small tutorial on why they should add more than one package of chicken to their cart because they can cook ahead, shred it, and then freeze the chicken in ziplock bags for varying meals to come.
After my tutelage commenced, I am encouraged to say they all increased their selection to THREE packages (and I didn’t even think to tell them about my blog.)
By the time I arrived home, this euphoria brought on by large quantities of chicken purchasing, had worn off. I walked in after an exhausting work day, and the last thing I wanted to do was figure out how to deal with over 30 lbs of chicken, but I went for it.
My fridge and freezer were quite full, so I didn’t have storage options to put all these store bought packages on shelves. This forced me to do some quick thinking.
Again, just like how I pre-cooked all my ground beef in bulk, I knew that an hour (or less) of time spent prepping this chicken now would save me hours and hours throughout the week, so it was worth the hassle.
Again, it’s just a slight change in how we think about meal time. Just like all those people I encountered in the store, they would have passed on that amazing chicken deal because they didn’t know what to do with it, now they do.
Many times when I share recipes here, it will call for pre-cooked chicken. That is how we can keep the “hands on” preparation time to ten minutes or less.
Everyone has a choice. You can buy the pre-cooked chicken that many brands are offering, or purchase the already cooked rotisserie chickens served in the deli and then just cut off the meat. Both are great options in a pinch.
Since this site is about guaranteeing meals with only ten minutes of prep, and not necessarily the least expensive route, those will be “Go To” options, but I always want to give the best route for the budget, and this is it.
So what did I do with 30 pounds of chicken?
I took a deep breath and devised a plan.
It was 8 pm, and I wasn’t up to grilling. At any other time, this would have been the first thing I turned too. Earlier in the week, I had already grilled up a ton of chicken in bulk, and had sliced and diced grilled chicken ready for salads and Quesadillas.
I got out my skillet, and started a large pan of my Simple Sesame Chicken. I streamlined this process even more because I did not bread the chicken at all, nor did I take the chicken out to add the sauce. I just fried up the chicken in the Sesame Oil and then added the sauce right in for a one pan meal. Much to my wonderful surprise, it was a great option and got gobbled up immediately.
While the chicken was in the skillet, I got my crock pot ready to fill it with as much chicken as I could.
Easy Crock pot BBQ Chicken or Oven Baked Barbeque Chicken Thighs is always a quick meal plan option. It’s so incredibly easy to just throw chicken in the crock pot, add some homemade BBQ sauce or store bought, and let it cook all day (or all night). It’s a brainless meal option that gives you many meal solutions for multiple days.
My favorite C.O.S.T. Cooking meals with the BBQ Chicken is to serve it over rice the first day, and then depending on how many pounds you make, you have additional for BBQ sandwiches, Easy BBQ Chicken pizza, BBQ Quesidillas etc. I could go on and on.
With ten pounds of the chicken, I created some “4 Meals in 4 Minutes” packets, which includes putting the chicken in the freezer bag raw, and adding all the ingredients right into the bag. By adding all the ingredients, along with the spices immediately, it marinates and then is completely ready to just dump in the crockpot or oven.
I will be doing a detailed tutorial with a new video on this process, along with many C.O.S.T cooking recipes, but until those posts are live, see my “Power Cooking” video that I did years ago. It’s incredibly helpful for those new to this technique.
Featured here is my Southwest Chicken, as well as a simplistic Italian Chicken using Italian Dressing. For those with freezer storage issues, one of the great things about this is that the meal packets take up a very small amount of space.
So right now, 30 pounds of chicken are distributed throughout a crock pot, skillet, the freezer, and oven.
I put five pounds in baking dishes drizzled with garlic, onion powder and then drenched in Italian dressing. I will be using this to shred up my chicken effortlessly.
In less than an hour, I had over 20 pounds completely ready to go.
Do you know how satisfying that is? With my freezer and fridge now full of ready to go taco meat, seasoned ground beef and variety of chicken flavors, I am set for many many meals.
The remainder I stuck in my fridge, and today I will be making up a pan of my 3 Ingredient Cheesey Cracker Chicken Recipe, and the rest I will just poach on the stove and shred for White Chicken Chili (that will be served to my guests.)
So that is the long winded story of how I tackled over 30 pounds of chicken in less than an hour.
Don’t shy away from a challenge.
Why don’t you join me? There’s no need to start with 30 pounds, but can you double or triple the amount that you typically make?
It’s all about taking that first baby step of preparation.
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