Kitchen Cheats, Part I

I am learning the lesson of all working moms…use your time wisely!   Getting out of the house to the grocery store is harder now…coordinating with nap times, fussy times, play time, relaxing time…you know the drill.  I am trying to shop smart, plan meals, and my new endeavour is trying to prep smart. Below is my attempt at cheating in the kitchen.

Nothing makes me happier than a house full of food! Oh the possibilities!


We eat a fair amount of chicken (who doesn’t?).  We have been buying rotisserie chickens for a while to cheat, but I know they are loaded with sodium and you pay a premium for prepared food.  So this week I used my dusty old crock pot and made 4 chicken breasts, shredded them, and put them in freezer bags in 1-2 cups portions so we can easily use them for quesadillas, pasta meals, soups, and casseroles.  Recipe/Idea credit to Mountain Mama Cooks.




Shredded Chicken:

4 organic, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 dried oregano teaspoon

Put chicken in slow cooker and sprinkle with spices. Add chicken stock. Put lid on pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken with a fork, cool completely, portion into ziplock baggies, and freeze. This makes almost six cups.


Last week I used Adobo, but any recipe I have ever use only calls for 1 or 2 peppers plus some sauce, so I always end up wasting the majority of the can.  Today I chopped all the peppers, mixed them with the sauce and divided into 1 tablespoon pouches (which looks to be about the equivalent of 1 pepper) and put them in the freezer.  Feeling pretty clever!

I think fresh herbs are what makes the difference between “good” and “delicious”, but I always used to end up with wilted or slimey herbs in my fridge! I have several things I do to prolong the life of herbs, here is how I prep scallions (my next Cheats post will discuss parsley and cilantro). Chop the white portion and some of the green, place in freezer safe tupperware and use when needed.


A couple of other simple things I do to have good food on the ready–prebake potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beets.  I most often use all these ingredients in a hash, the beets in the salad, or mash up the potatoes.  It is great to have these on hand and not have to wait the hour for them to bake (I know you can do in the microwave but I don’t like them as much that way).


And how could I forget? Da bacon!  We love to add bacon to kale, collards, and swiss chard…or actually to just about anything.  It is nice to have cooked bacon so you can just cut up and add to whatever you are cooking.  I know, I know, we are supposed to be doing healthy…but come on…bacon is good for the heart. Err actually really bad for the heart, so I guess I mean good for the soul of my flavor palate! I bake my bacon, so much tidier.  Speaking of bacon, you should totally check out this bacon comedy sketch by Jim Gaffigan. Hilarous!!

I am always looking for new ways to prep…suggestions welcome!!