If I had to point a finger at where I began to realize the beauty in make-ahead meals, I would point it to my bag of chicken I cook each week for our family. This small kitchen tip truly takes just a few moments of effort to have a container full of prepared meat for sandwiches, wraps, or to be eaten on it’s own with veggies and fruit to round out the meal. The best part is that with my easy technique, you can prepare chicken in bulk for your week right from it’s frozen state.
For our family of four, I prepare three pounds of chicken each week (one frozen bag of chicken breasts from ALDI, to be exact!) and we usually plow through these three pounds by Wednesday or Thursday of the week. I never have any leftover because it is my go-to for making wraps for my husband to take for his lunch and it is the go-to for my kid’s busy activity nights. I started making a habit of taking the chicken out first when I brought in my groceries and getting it roasting as I put the rest of the food away. For five minutes of prep work, it has saved us at least a hundred bucks a month if I had went with my impulse to just run out and grab something at Panera instead of preparing a meal at home.
My secret ingredient (and this is no endorsement- just a HUGE fan!) is this Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic seasoning mix. The picture is a bit blurry, but you get the idea. I found it in the spice aisle and it makes such a fantastic dry rub on the chicken that it tastes as good as anything you would get in a restaurant. Since it is salt-free, I layer on the salt just the way I like and this helps to enhance the flavor of the chicken.
Now that you know the secret, I encourage you to try this technique as your first baby step towards the make-ahead meal life.
- 3 pounds frozen chicken breasts
- Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Seasoning
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt & Pepper
- Preheat the oven for 375 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
- Spread the frozen chicken breasts out over one or two cookie sheets.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken breasts and then sprinkle liberally with the seasoning mix, kosher salt and fresh black pepper.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Allow the chicken to rest ten to fifteen minutes (to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat). Dice or shred for your recipes for the week.