**I updated the first post in this series with better instructions how to package, freeze, and store your meals. Check it out here.**
First of all, my baby DID arrive before the first post of this series…but only by an hour and a half! Still, we’re so excited she’s here! And she’s so much cuter than all these meals, and because I don’t have a picture of these meals, I thought I’d include a picture of her.
On to the meals for this week. Last week, we worked with chicken. We’ll finish up our chicken meals today so you can get all the chicken you need and whip out all the meals in a day or two and not have to worry about it anymore.
This week, we’ll be making Chimichanga chicken, Italian chicken, and Barbecue chicken. If you want to make extra shredded chicken for future meals, or even cubed chicken (which is VERY helpful too), get enough chicken to do so.
These meals could not be easier. I used about 3 trays of chicken breasts (6 breasts per tray) for these meals. Adjust for your space and needs. If you’re going to make plain chicken, buy an extra tray or two. To make your plain chicken, you can do a couple things. You can CrockPot it in 1/4 cup of water until shreddable. You can cut it into cubes and cook it then freeze it in individual bags. Or you can cut it into cubes, tenders, or butterflied breasts (or whole breasts for that matter), separate on a tray, freeze, and then bag for storage. I do a combo of all three, depending on how much chicken I buy. I love having options. With all three variety, I can quickly make BBQ shredded chicken sandwiches, any soup, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, honey mustard chicken sandwiches, spicy chicken sandwiches or dippers, fried chicken, and so much more. Some require just adding a sauce to the cooked chicken, others require more. But it is so nice having much of the work already done.
Back to this week’s meals. First, defat the chicken. Toss about 6-8 breasts into your CrockPot for the Chimichanga Chicken. Take the remaining chicken and cut into tenders.
For Italian Chicken, just fill a quart size ziplock freezer bag 2/3 full with chicken tenders. Add 1/2 to 1 cup Italian Salad Dressing to the bag. Zip to close. Agitate the bag to coat all chicken pieces. Lay flat in your refrigerator for at least 8 hours before freezing to allow meat to tenderize and marinate. To use, thaw in warm water. Grill, bake, or cook in a skillet. Serve over rice or with pasta. Add more (fresh) dressing after cooking for a punch of flavor.
For BBQ chicken, do the same as the Italian, except add either homemade or storebought barbecue sauce. I like to mix my sauces and add a little brown sugar or make it from scratch. Do whatever your family likes. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes, or in a sandwich.
For the Chimichanga Chicken, follow this recipe.
6-8 chicken breasts
3/4 cup water
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp crushed dried red pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
4 tsp dried onion or ½ cup fresh onion
2 cups grated cheese
Mix everything except cheese and tortillas in a pot. Cook on low 5-7 hours. Shred chicken. Mix in grated cheese until melted.
Let the chicken cool a little then fill quart size bags 2/3 full. Label and lay flat to freeze. To use, either make chimichangas (Roll chicken into tortillas. Fry in a pan with a touch of olive oil until tortillas are crispy and golden. Serve with sour cream and rice and beans on the side) or use for chicken burritos, chicken tacos, taco salad, etc. Whatever Mexican meals you would use chicken in, use this recipe. It is fantastic.
In the end, you should have about 3 bags of Chimichanga meat, 2-3 bags of Italian Chicken, and 2-3 bags of BBQ chicken.
And in case you were looking for a really delicious Mexican Rice recipe, here’s mine. It goes perfectly with the chimichanga chicken, in all its varieties.
3 Tbs oil
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp cumin
¼ cup chopped onion
½ cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
Heat oil in saucepan on medium heat. Add rice, cook and stir until puffed and browned. Sprinkle with salt and cumin. Stir well. Add onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover and simmer 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.