10 February 2012

Bulk cooking: Chicken: Jan 2012

Another Zaycon chicken order, but only 80 lbs this time.  I really didn't have the energy for even 2 boxes, but these meals rescue me from dinner prep so often that I can't afford to run out!

Instead of having one long, "Just do it" session, I broke it down.  We did one box Friday and one box Saturday.  With 3 people working, it took less than an hour per box.

Person 1 trims the fat and cut the breast in half, using kitchen shears.  Person 2 slices off the tender then fillets the breast.  Person 3 labels and fills freezer bags.  Voila!  Done.

I kept it simple this time, relying on prepared sauces instead of making everything from scratch.  Here's the breakdown of meals:

  • 20 lbs cooked, chopped chicken, for salad, pizza, tossing with pasta, etc., 7 bags total
  • 4 trays, 10 fillets each, parmesan chicken
  • 5 bags BBQ sauce chicken
  • 4 bags Creamy cesar chicken
  • 4 bags Honey Chipotle chicken (recipe below)
  • 4 bags diced, raw chicken for soups and stir frys
28 meals for a family of 9 =  ~2.86# per meal at $1.69 per lb. = an average meat cost of $4.82 per meal. ($0.54 per person) My goal for dinner is to keep the total cost under $15. ($1.67 per person). So this leaves plenty of room in the budget for side dishes and the sauces I used on the chicken.

(When I posted this to Facebook, I forgot to include the cooked chicken in my total.)

Honey Chipotle Chicken

3 cups prepared salsa
1 cup honey
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

Blend all ingredients together in the blender. This will make ~4 cups sauce.  Add it to fresh chicken before freezing.  I add 1/2 cup sauce for each pound of chicken. Label and freeze.

To prepare, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Dump the chicken into a large casserole dish and cook for ~45 min at 350 F. OR using tongs, carefully retrieve the chicken from the bag and lay it flat on a rimmed cookie sheet.  Discard remaining sauce. Cook for 45 min at 350. (The 2nd method results in a nicer presentation.)

Using a sharpie, I label my bags with the name of the recipe, the date and either the number of fillets (F) or the weight of the tenders (T).

For example:
Honey Chipotle chicken
1/29/12                   10F


BBQ Chicken
1/29/12                   3.5# T

The point of this post is to emphasize that putting up a batch of meals isn't all that time consuming or difficult.

Any questions about the process?  or anything else? Do you have a go-to recipe for OAMC chicken?  What about ground beef?  (I pick up 40# this Saturday and need to get organized!)

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