This is a super quick meal if you do some prep ahead of time. I have talked a lot of times about cooking a whole chicken, dividing the cooked meat into meal size bags and then using the bones and skin to make stock and this is a perfect use for that! Also, I will sometimes buy a 12 oz jar of premade alfredo sauce, then divide it into three smaller containers and freeze them to use later, like for this. Of course, you could also make this totally from scratch if you haven't done prep ahead of time. At my house, this is one of our go to meals when we are really pressed for time. I even do it with rice in the pressure cooker sometimes which makes it go from freezer to table in less than 10 minutes.
These things I pull from the freezer and thaw in the microwave:
1 quart of chicken stock
1 bag cooked, diced or shredded chicken
4 oz alfredo sauce
8 oz frozen peas, optional (these don't need to be thawed, they will warm up very quickly when they get added to the pan)
1 pound pasta or 2 cups rice or about 4 diced potatoes
Italian herbs, seasoned salt, garlic, or salt and pepper to taste
Use the chicken stock to cook the potatpes, rice, or pasta (adding more water to it if necessary). When it is almost cooked properly add the chicken, peas, and sauce to warm through. If you are using full fat chicken stock it will likely be creamy enough with just that small amount of sauce, but you can also add a spoon of sour cream or splash of milk if desired. Topping it with some parmesan cheese would be delicious also.
Another variation would also be to substitute beans for the chicken!
1-2 lb chicken
16 oz frozen mixed vegetables
2 C water
1 pot pie seasoning packet
1 ½ t Jane’s Krazy Salt
1T poultry seasoning
2 T cornstarch
1 ½ t chicken bouillon
1 bag of biscuit mix
2 C flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
½ C shortening
1c milk (or water)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cook chicken and remove bones and skin (if applicable), then dice or shred meat.
Combine all ingredients except Crust ingredients.
Microwave on high or cook on stove until it reaches a boil (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Boil 3 minutes.
Pour into 9x13 pan.
Combine biscuit mix and milk (it will be sticky). Let sit 10 minutes and vigorously stir if it is too wet. Press out on floured surface into a roughly 9 inch square, cut into 12 pieces and place on top of chicken mixture (or spoon on top). Bake 20-25 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.
This is a question I have been asked and have spent time pondering. Wouldn't it be better/easier if we included chicken breasts in our meals instead of bone in chicken leg quarters? The simple answer is that leg quarters are cheaper, but that is, honestly a very small part of why I chose them. So, here, in no particular order are my thoughts:
I hope this answers some questions, thanks for reading!
Big batch cooking is a tremendous time saver. I usually make enough food for at least half of the week at once plus extra to put in the freezer all at once so everyone can eat when they are home and hungry by just microwaving single servings. I wish we were all together every meal time, but that just isn't practical with our crazy schedules.
Today I made white bean chicken chili (10-12 servings), pot pie (6-8 servings), chicken stock (about 100 ounces divided into 6 jars), cooked chicken for freezer (3 meal portions), biscuits (one pan/8 biscuits).
Recipes for the chili, pot pie, biscuits, and seasoning mixes can be found here: Menu and Recipes
I use the chicken stock to cook pasta or rice in, start soup with, or use for pot pie.
Normally, I would chop carrots, onions, celery, and peppers during the process and put them in meal size bags in the freezer to use in rice or pasta dishes or soup, but I did that earlier this week. It would only add, maybe 15 minutes since I do it while things are cooking and don't need attention. You should employ a helper to wash dishes while you do this cooking, otherwise you end up with a sinkful.
This is what a my cooking day looked like today. Note that it is only about two hours of work!
Last night I covered two pounds of dry beans with water in a large pot to soak. Then I put a whole chicken in the crockpot with some celery and onion ends (I have a jar in the freezer that I put celery, carrot, and onion scraps in for this purpose) two chicken bouillon cubes, and some poultry seasoning. I covered it with water, turned it to low, and went to bed.
This is an easy and inexpensive dish. It takes a little longer than most of my dishes (my goal is 15 minutes and this takes 30), but you can shave some time off if you cut the potatoes extra, super thin. I also use a bag of precooked, diced chicken from my freezer. This is the biggest time saving tip I have. Cook a whole chicken or a family size package of chicken leg quarters and then pull the meat off the bones and divide it into zip top bags (I usually put just under a pound in each bag), then use the bones for making stock.
Potato Salsa Chicken
2-3 T oil
4 potatoes, washed but not peeled, thinly sliced1 small onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup salsa
3/4 - 1 lb cooked chicken
1 cup water
sour cream, optional
Put oil in skillet (cast iron works best) over medium to medium-high heat. Add potatoes, onions, and salt and pepper. Let cook about 5 minutes, scrape potatoes from bottom and stir. Cook another 5 minutes. Add salsa, chicken, and water. Cover and cook about another 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Uncover and cook another 2-3 minutes until most of the water is absorbed or evaporated. Serve with sour cream, cheese, and chives if desired. Makes 4-6 servings.
potatoes - 5 lb bag (about 12 potatoes) $2.30, so 4 potatoes = $.77
onions - 2 pound bag (about 10 onions) $1.00 so 1 onion = $.10
salsa - 16 oz jar $2.79 so 1 cup = $1.60
chicken - whole 5-6 pound chicken (precooked weight) $5.00 (I divide it into 4 ziplock bags, like shown) so $1.25
TOTAL COST - $3.72 or about $.74 per serving
*from Blessed but Overwhelmed
When I recommend to people that they eat chicken thighs and leg quarters (because they are juicy and delicious!) I realized that I forget to tell them *how* to eat them.
First, why should you stretch the chicken?
"Let's start here: Average Americans eat WAY too much meat, in my opinion, and I am in pretty good company in that opinion. Nearly every organization that deals with health and nutrition agrees that a serving of meat should be between two and four ounces and some groups think even less! I wrote a whole post about it :-)"
So how do we meet those recommendations most days? Taking what appear to be single serving size pieces and turning them into family servings:
So, go forth and stretch your chicken!