Tales of a Wookie Wife: Fueled by caffeine and good intentions. Feed hairy man. Clean house. Be fabulous. Repeat. You can learn more about me here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Freezing Chicken Portions - i.e. How to Deal with that Econo Bag.

Grocery prices are getting pretty damn outrageous.  It is hard to make things stretch if you're on any sort of budget whatsoever, so learning how to use and put back those massive bags of cheap foods is more important than ever.  You can, of course, just split the chicken up to a piece or two per freezer bag and pop it in the freezer raw, but sometimes I take a different method if I feel I'm going to be busy all week.  I've been under the weather for about 2 weeks and unfortunately, when you're sick - especially for more than just a day or two - life doesn't just stop and you have to keep up, so all this being in the freezer to make quick, easy meals was so nice.

I started off with the raw chicken in a loaf pan.  Two pieces.  These bags of chicken thighs are just under 6 bucks for 10 pounds around here.  Now, keep in mind they are full of bones, but I can feed us for a week and a half to two weeks off one bag (not to mention use the bones and skins to make stock to freeze).  I pull out the smaller pieces to freeze raw to use for dinners with sides and cook and shred and freeze the large pieces as one of those is more than enough when doing pastas, casseroles, enchiladas, or whatever else.  I did three batches of "basic" chicken seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper with about 1/3 cup of water tossed in the bottom.

If you're lucky enough to have an oven, you could do all the flavors at once in separate pans, but I'm dealing with what I've got, which is a toaster oven because *SOMEONE* had to have the massive stove with 4 burners and a grill instead of an oven.  A grill I used once.  That'll teach me.

Anyway, bake at 325 until done...The time will depend on the size of the thighs, but you can usually tell by poking at them...If they are still at all springy, leave them alone.

Once they are done, put them on a plate to cool.

See this?  This is good stuff.  You can either cook the next batch of chicken in it instead of water or you can freeze it to save for soup broths and sauces.

For the second batch, I left that broth in the bottom, then added soy sauce, more garlic, and a little siriacha.

Once all the chicken was cooled, I picked it off the bone, labelled it, wrapped it, and tossed it in the freezer.  I wrap the meat from each piece in separate packages as each of the larger pieces yields about a half cup or a little more, which is plenty for pastas or whatever for two.

For a bonus recipe, for dinner that night, I put 2 of the smaller pieces of chicken in the pan with the previous drippings and covered them in a garlic and black pepper marinade.

Paired with mashed potatoes and green beans and...oh yeah...


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