This week I changed my cooking pattern ever so slightly. At the beginning of the week I sautéd two packages of chicken in olive oil, salt and pepper. My plan was to eat one meal’s worth for dinner and freeze the rest.
I was about to place the bowl in the freezer when I changed my mind. Instead of heading to the freezer the chicken went right into the fridge. I came up with a plan for three meals that my husband and I could eat throughout the week. On the first night we made open faced chicken sandwiches. These consist of nothing more than chicken gravy and cooked chicken poured over toasted bread. I actually got the idea from my dad who used to cook leftover turkey this way the day after Thanksgiving.
Tonight I cubed up the cooked chicken and made lemon pasta. To make this dish I simply mix chicken, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, olive oil, butter and parmesan into a sauté pan. While that’s heating up I throw pasta into boiling water, drain and add to the chicken mixture. Since the chicken was already cooked it took me less than 15 minutes to get the whole meal together.
I was going to cook a non-meat meal tomorrow and then use the remaining chicken to make our version of make-at-home chinese food. In essence I add soy sauce, hoisin, orange marmalade, orange rind and honey to the pan along with whatever veggies we have on hand. I came across this recipe while trying to clean out my cupboard one evening and now use it as a go-to meal during weeks when I lack culinary inspiration.
I know it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to cut and prepare chicken, but cooking it in advance probably saves me at least ten to fifteen minutes each night. Not to mention that it cuts down on the awful smell of raw chicken in the house. Ever since I became pregnant I haven’t particularly liked the site of slimy, raw chicken so not having to slice and cook it each night actually seems to enhance my appetite.
I’m not sure why I’ve never considered cooking meals like this before. It requires a little more work on the first night, because I have to cook double the amount of chicken I would normally prepare, but the pan is already heated and the cutting board and everything else is already out so it’s not really a big deal.
I know chicken shouldn’t stay in the fridge for longer than three to four days, so clearly I wouldn’t want to cook more than two packages in one night, but speeding up even a couple of dinners throughout the week has really freed up my evenings. As an added bonus I find myself snacking much less frequently as I prepare dinner. After all, I only have 10 minutes to snack rather than the typical 25 to 30.
3 thoughts on “An Easy Way to Ensure Quick and Healthy Dinners At Home”
Fabulous idea! I should definitely do this…you have inspired me. 🙂
@Debt Free Jen – Let me know if you try it. It's been working really well for us!
Batch cooking is totally the way to go. We save oodles of time and avoid lots of weekday stress by spending the occasional weekend afternoon cooking a storm – four roast chickens, anyone? =) Doesn't take that much more time, and uses up ingredients quite effectively. I've been blogging some cooking notes, and I can't wait to try more freezable recipes.