Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Freezer Meal Session: 24 lbs of Chicken Part 1

The freezer is pretty much empty, which means that it's a great time to prep large quantities of summer meals! I decided to start with chicken, and since I didn't do any actual *cooking* I'm calling these 'Freezer Meal Prepping' Sessions instead of 'Cooking' sessions. Hooray for no sweating over a hot stove!

I picked up 24 pounds of chicken from the store the other day for $65. (Yes, chicken is expensive in my area!)
  • 18 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts (27 total)
  • 6 pounds of organic chicken thighs (30 total)
I spread the work over two days so that it would fit into my schedule.

Part 1
The first day I focused on processing the boneless skinless breasts. You can read more tips for prepping chicken breasts here.

First I opened all 3 packages and inspected all of the chicken breasts. Some are nicely shaped for grilling or filleting, others have shreds of meat hanging off. Some are HUGE--way larger than one serving size of meat. I picked out 12 nice-looking, moderate sized breasts to be marinated for grilling. Now they are ready to be marinated and frozen with Sweet Asian Chicken Marinade.
A 'Messy' Piece
I cut off the 'messy' part and suddenly this piece is a great candidate for the grill!

Next I picket out the 8 largest, thickest breasts to be cut in half horizontally (filleted). I bagged the filets between pieces of waxed paper (so I can pull them apart easily after they defrost). I can use them for Lemon Chicken or even just salt/pepper/flour them, then pan fry for a quick easy weeknight meal. 16 filets equals 2 meals' worth for our family of 4 plus some leftovers for lunches.

Finally I cut up the 'messy' chicken breasts into 'tenderloins'. These chicken pieces tended to have tears in them or big messy pieces hanging off. Now that they are tenderloin sized, they will bake up in the oven in less than 15 minutes. I try to cut them into relatively uniform sizes. You could make them 'nugget' sized or 'kebab' sized as well. I have two coating recipes that I can use for them: Baked Chicken Tenderloins and Pumpkin Seed Crust. I divided 35 tenderloins into 3 meals of approximately 12 tenderloins each.

Once everything was bagged and labeled, I loaded it back into the fridge in a large storage container and went ahead and froze the filets and tenderloins, which I will season after defrosting.

It only took 45 minutes! Next I will make 2 marinades, a coating for the tenders, and pack everything into the freezer... read about it here.

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