Introduction: Meal Prep Helpers - Soup, Sandwiches, Stir-Fry, Salads & More
Breakfast, lunch, supper, appetizers, after-school snacks - this quick & delicious meal prep helper is so versatile, it can be used for breakfast wraps, salads, soups, stew & dumplings, chili, stir fry, sandwiches, and anywhere else your creative culinary creations take you.
Chicken is one of my favorites for this time-saving meal helper, but I've also made these muffin-sized portions with beef, rice, and mixed vegetables. There's really no limit to what food can be used.
Step 1: The Basics
- 6 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves
- 16 oz. chicken or vegetable broth
Our local family-owned and operated smokehouse is where I buy boneless/skinless chicken breasts, but most grocery store meat departments sell them. Starting with boneless/skinless chicken cuts down tremendously on the prep time. I usually start with 6 chicken breast halves, which yields approximately 18 muffin-sized portions. After a quick rinse with cold water, I cut the chicken into cubes and cook in a large pot over medium heat, adding ~2 cups water, stirring often for 20-30 minutes while the water cooks off.
Step 2: Personalize the Flavor
After the initial 2 cups of water has cooked off and the chicken is cooked thoroughly, add family-favorite flavors. Here I added 16 oz. vegetable broth, 1 cup chopped onion, and a blend of spices and herbs. Stir thoroughly and continue cooking at medium heat until the liquid is gone, usually another 20 minutes
Step 3: Ready to Freeze
Stir the chicken with a large fork, which shreds it into finer pieces than the original cubes. It's ready now for a quick meal, but to freeze and save for future meal prep, coat the pans with cooking spray, then scoop chicken into pan sections. Cooking spray makes for easy removal after freezing. Cover with aluminum foil, seal the edges tightly to avoid freezer burn, and freeze. After 3-4 hours, the frozen muffin-sized portions can be removed from the foil-covered pans and stored in the freezer in tightly sealed containers.
Step 4: Bon Appetit!
When starting to make a meal, take one or two of them from the freezer, as I did with this stir fry, and mix it in with the other ingredients. Another option is to microwave one for 25 seconds or so to top off a tossed salad. Here, in less than an hour, I made a tossed salad, breakfast burritos, stir fry, and lentil/vegetable soup, all using the shredded chicken from the freezer.
These small portions add a quick, easy, and delicious flavor punch to many meals. Bon Appetit!