It’s not so easy coming up with different meals for the day throughout the day and week with two kids at home who need your attention. Otherwise, we tend to fall into routines here eating the same things each day that will get us to the next meal; what we have found we like that is quick and easy to put together with little thought. Peanut butter and jelly. Ramen. A bowl of cereal. Chips and salsa. Not-so-great eating habits. To avoid that, I try to make sure there’s leftovers from the night before at least a serving, something that I can warm up quickly without effort that will stave off the hangryness and, hopefully, will keep me motivated for creating a new menu for the day.
Lately, I find myself lacking in ideas for dinner. If I don’t have a recipe decided on by lunchtime, I end up putting two pounds of frozen chicken in the Crock-Pot with salt and pepper on High for 4 hours and making a sauce later. It’s better to have something ready than nothing, and sometimes you just have to take it one step at a time instead of giving up completely.
Motivational speaking? Partly. Moms. Sometimes we’re just so tired. When you’re on a roll prepping meals for the week, prep some for the Crock-Pot, put them in gallon freezer storage bags squeezing out as much air as you can, and freeze them for those days the kids are sick, you have house guests, or a project that you anticipate taking up most of your day. I actually write on the refrigerator with a dry-erase marker what I have put in the freezer and then wipe it off when it’s removed/cooked. It’s like a menu. We all have put food in storage containers in the fridge and then forgotten about them! You could put the date, too, and rotate it out before it gets freezer burn. If you have kids who find it funny to erase what you’ve written, you could use a fine-tip permanent marker which erases easily with a quality dry-erase marker. When you’re freezing those meals, it’s best to lay them flat. They chill quickly, but also defrost quickly in a (kitchen) sink full of cold water, change the water as necessary or use running water if you’re in a hurry. This makes it easy to drop in the Crock-Pot in the morning and forget about it.
We actually have two Crock-Pots. Because we use a lot of frozen chicken, it’s difficult to add “chopped chicken” to freezer meals without defrosting it first. That takes up more time and increases the risk of food-born illness to occur. Having two slow cookers, I can easily prepare all the veggies and sauce for the freezer meal and then cook the chicken in the separate pot, throwing the two together once the chicken is done and finally chopped. This is twice the clean-up, though. I generally alternate the use of the pots. I allow the one I used one day to properly cool down before cleaning it and use the clean one the next day.
This chicken came out more flavorful than I expected since it didn’t sit in the sauce while cooking. I also forgot the thickener (corn starch, flour, arrowroot), but I didn’t even notice. This recipe went great with rice and the broccoli was a great companion.
Tried this recipe or any of these techniques? Comment below!
One pound chicken breast, cooked with salt and pepper (frozen chicken, Crock-Pot on High for 4 hours), chopped into cubes
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 garlic cloves through the garlic press
Tablespoon of fish sauce
1/4 cup water
½ teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
What was left of my sesame oil, not quite 2 teaspoons
Teaspoon of sugar
Two handfuls of broccoli, steamed in the microwave in a covered container with just enough water to cover the bottom, salt-and-peppered with a sprinkle of garlic powder.
I used the seasoning here as a guide. http://www.dinneratthezoo.com/chicken-and-broccoli-stir-fry/