The first edition of Home Cooked Meals in Takeout Time centers around the world’s easiest shredded chicken. I love making shredded chicken this way, because it takes less than 5 minutes of effort (and let’s be real, some days that 5 minutes is a LOT to give up). To make this chicken you need: boneless skinless chicken breasts and a crock pot.
We usually buy the package of organic chicken breasts (uncooked and fresh) from Costco. This is about 5 pounds of meat, which is just the right amount for our 6qt crock pot.
On a weekend morning (usually Sunday for us, but either day works). I dump all of the chicken in the crock pot and turn it on HIGH. If you want, you can add a cup of chicken stock to the pot, but this it totally optional. I’ve cooked this chicken with and without the stock and can’t tell a difference at the end either way. Let the chicken cook all day (it’s pretty much impossible to overcook it). You will need a minimum of 6 hours if you are using HIGH and 12 hours if cooking on LOW. I’ll usually start ours on HIGH right after breakfast, then switch the pot to LOW around lunch (or when we leave the house for errands).
At the end of the day, turn the crock pot off. You’ll have an unappealing mass of white chicken lumps and water in the pot. Don’t despair, the magic is about to happen.
Get a large fork (I like to use the one from our turkey carving set) and poke the chicken in the pot. Then twist the fork and repeat. The chicken will fall apart into perfect shredded-ness and the liquid will reabsorb into the chicken. This takes another 5 minutes at the most to do. You can also use a hand mixer on a low setting to shred the chicken even faster.
If you don’t have a carving fork or hand mixer for this, you can do it with a serving spoon too (just use the spoon to break it apart – it might take a bit longer than 5 minutes but no more than 10).
Voila! You now have 5 pounds of perfectly shredded chicken!
What does one DO with 5 pounds of perfectly shredded chicken? Well, I’m glad you asked! You split it up into one pound portions and then use those portions to make your meals each night for the upcoming week. Since the meat is already cooked, your weeknight cooking time is reduced by 30 minutes or more (depending on the recipe you are using).
Here is the list of Nutrition Doula Recipes that use shredded chicken:
You can also use a portion or two to make a Chicken Salad (we like adding avocado mayo, olive oil, green onion, celery, and fines herbs to ours), BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches (just add BBQ sauce, but read the labels before you buy to minimize added sugar), or Chicken Quesadillas. It also makes a great topping for baked potatoes, eggs, or salads.
What are some of your favorite recipes that use shredded chicken? If you try any of the suggestions above, leave a comment to let me know how you liked it!