One thing that I've learned since doing meal prep for my family is that there is no protein more diverse than a chicken. When you are looking for easy meals that don't require a ton of work, you can always go and buy a cooked roasted chicken at your nearby grocery store. But, you can get more bang for your buck if you buy one chicken and cook it yourself.
The fact that you will be able to create different meals using the same protein will definitely help your family to not feel the repetition. If your kids are a little older, you can even make it fun for them during chicken week. Allow them to pick a meal that they would like to eat and you've got a happy house. Trust me!
4 Meals From One Chicken
Sunday: Grocery shop for all items that will be needed for below recipes. Get a complete list of groceries needed here:
Monday:Roast Chicken with Veggies (I typically roast carrots and potatoes with the chicken)
Monday Night:Make your chicken stock. Recipe is below.
Tuesday: Italian Sausage Soup with White Beans and Spinach
Wednesday: Teriyaki Chicken with Rice & Broccoli (use whatever grain your family likes best.)
Thursday: Cajun Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo
One thing I've never claimed to be is a recipe maker. What I am really good at is hunting for recipes on Pinterest based on what protein I want to eat. With that being said, the only recipe of mine that you will be using is for the chicken stock. Everything else has been taken from some of my favorite food bloggers, which I am going to share with you below.
Slow Cooker Chicken Stock
Bones from the chicken you roasted
2 medium yellow onions, quartered
2 medium sized carrots
4 celery stalks
2 dried bay leaves
5 fresh thyme sprigs with stems
5 parsley springs with stems
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Place the chicken carcass in the middle of the crock pot. You can put loose pieces, like the drumsticks, inside of the carcass to save space. Cut all vegetables to a size that will fit around the carcass and inside of your crock pot comfortably. Scatter them around the chicken and then place your herbs and garlic on top.
Cover everything in the crock pot with water. You should be able to fill within an inch of the top of slow cooker with no issues.
Cook for a minimum of 8 hours on LOW. I have set this up in the crockpot before I go to bed and I just let it work its magic overnight.
Before straining, take out the big bones and vegetables using a large slotted spoon. Then strain the stock over a large bowl that is over your colander. You're going to want to line your colander with a cheese cloth or a coffee filter. That will keep any small bits from floating into your stock and prevent any fat from going into your stock. I do this process a few times, just to ensure that my stock is cleaner and clearer. You don't have to, but it's totally worth it if you do.
Divide your stock between small containers if you plan on using it for multiple recipes. Before refrigerating, make sure that you let the stock cool down completely. Once cool, cover the stock and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze up to 3 months.
For your meals, you can follow the below recipes.
Roasted Chicken: I have always used Ina Garten's 'Perfect Roast Chicken' recipe when needing to make one for the week. It's simple and easy, which are two things that I have always looked for with any recipe that I make. You can make this dish on Sunday so that it's ready for you to use during the week, or you can cook it on Monday. It's completely up to you.
Monday: When roasting the chicken, you will see with the above recipe that she uses carrots and fennel. Instead of fennel, I tend to use red new potatoes and scatter them around the chicken. For this meal, I use the chicken breasts and pair it with the vegetables for dinner.
Tuesday:I use the Italian Sausage Soup with White Beans and Spinachrecipe by 'The Suburban Soapbox.' It's flavorful and delicious. Such a perfect way to use your chicken stock. The part I love most is that it's ready in 30 minutes.
Wednesday:Teriyaki Chicken with Rice and Broccoli is a staple in my house. I make my own teriyaki sauce for this meal and coat the thighs, drumsticks, and wings with it. If you're not in the mood to make the sauce, you can always use store-bought, I won't judge you either way! You can pair the chicken with white rice and broccoli (you can roast or boil, whichever is easiest for you.)
Thursday:This 'Cajun Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo' recipe by 'Closet Cooking' is another one of my favorites. It can be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes.
There is truly nothing better than getting a week full of meals from one protein. Now that you've had a look at the recipes I choose to use during my 'chicken week,' what new recipes will you be implementing on your dinner table?