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Let’s admit it: we all know that life is easier when we do our weekly meal planning. It cuts down on trips to the grocery store, reduces stress, eliminates that “what should I make for dinner?” feeling at 5pm, and saves money. Let’s also admit this: many of us don’t find it all that much fun.
Believe it or not, I’m not always at the top of my game first thing in the morning and don’t always get inspired as to what to put into my crock pot before I’ve had my first cup of coffee. That’s where the idea came for this series of blog posts. I love when I have meat already prepared and I can just throw it into a dish and call it dinner. So I’m starting with chicken! Hopefully I’ve listed enough recipes and/or recipe ideas that you can pick and choose your favorites. The idea here is that you cook the chicken once and make a bunch of meals from it. This approach can be done over a week, a month, or several months. When frozen, just take the chicken out, run it under some water for a few minutes or put it in a dish with water (until it’s not a frozen brick of poultry anymore) and cook away.
I have two favorite ways of pre-cooking my chicken. One is the Anything Chicken slow cooker recipe. The other is buying a rotisserie chicken from the deli department at my local grocery store. Obviously there’s the work of skinning and de-boning the chicken then, but they’re usually pretty tasty.
Below is a list of recipes you could make with cooked chicken.
Here are also some super quick easy dinner ideas using the pre-cooked chicken. Some of these may seem incredibly basic, but hey – when you’re trying to think of an idea for dinner, even just the slightest inspiration can help.
Cooked Chicken and Salsa
Tortillas, taco shells, or chips
Sour Cream, Guacamole, taco sauce, shredded cheese, or whatever else you like with your Mexican dishes
Shred the cooked chicken or chop it up into bite sized pieces. Put the cooked chicken into a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup salsa. If desired, add a little extra cumin, garlic powder and/or lime juice. Heat through and serve in tortillas, over chips, in hard taco shells, whatever you choose.
Rice (4 servings)
Cream of ______ Soup (pick your favorite)
Bag of frozen veggies
Some black pepper and garlic powder to taste
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Add chicken, cooked rice, soup, and veggies to skillet. Cook over medium heat until heated through.
Bag of Stir Fry veggies
Packet of seasoning or bottle of stir fry sauce/marinade
Rice or noodles
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Add chicken, veggies, and seasoning (with water) or sauce to skillet. Cook over medium heat until heated through and veggies are tender. Serve with rice or noodles.
Bag of favorite veggies
Box of noodles, prepared as directed on package
4 oz cream cheese
Black pepper and garlic powder to taste
1 cup (or more) of shredded cheddar cheese
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Melt cream cheese in skillet over low heat. Add chicken, veggies, pepper and garlic powder, cook over medium low heat until heated through. Stir in cheddar cheese and noodles, continue cooking until cheese is melted.
Some other favorite quick ideas? Add cooked chicken to your favorite Rice Seasoning Mix or Noodle mix. Heat shredded chicken with barbeque sauce and serve on buns with coleslaw. Make chicken melt sandwiches. Personally, I find that I often think too complicated for our meals (see “We Could Just Have Soup and Sandwiches“). I need to slow down and make the easy stuff once in awhile. After all, the kids usually gobble that up faster than the “fancy” meals!!