Leah Elizabeth Photography

Hey y’all

Welcome to Value Minded Mama. This is my creative space where I document motherhood moments, cool kiddo and family finds, my super simple casual mommy style, saving time and money tips, our travels/adventures and being a stay at home mom. I love that you're here! Please stop by one of my posts (or fill out the contact form) and let me know how you found me. I love making friends and connecting with new people. Feel free to check out my social media channels below for more from Value Minded Mama.

How to Save Time Cooking With This Simple Hack

How to Save Time Cooking With This Simple Hack

Our family is by no means considered a “healthy eating” family. We try to eat out as little as possible and eat at home as much as we can.

 

That’s not always possible with our schedules, or if I forgot to think ahead and prep for dinner. Anyone else always forget to defrost the meat?!

 

But I have recently discovered how to save time cooking, with this simple hack, while still getting our family on a healthier diet and able to eat from home more often.  

 

I’m actually making this concept into a short series because there are a couple other ways our family loves to incorporate this hack into our meal planning and I want to include all of them in a round up of easy “meal prep” recipes. 

 

You ready for the hack? This is really easy y’all! Promise! ANYONE can do this!!

 

Essentially, you’re bulk cooking your meat. Only your meat.

 

Since I am only using meat our family actually eats, I am also including pulled pork and ground beef recipes in later posts. I’m sure you could include things like shrimp, fish and tofu, but our family just doesn’t eat those on a regular basis (if ever), so I’m sticking to what I know!

So the first meals I’m sharing all have chicken in them, because who doesn’t eat chicken?! It’s definitely a staple in our home and I’m betting if you are a mama trying to give her family a well-rounded diet, it’s in your home too.

 

So what you do is cook a lot of chicken at one time. I prefer to do this in the crockpot because it’s so easy, and hands-off. You literally just stick the chicken in the crockpot, it cooks itself and you walk away from it.

Cooking meat in the crockpot is literally the easiest thing and it saves me so much time in the kitchen!

Cooking meat in the crockpot is literally the easiest thing and it saves me so much time in the kitchen!

 

Season the chicken to accommodate a bunch of different recipes. I like to add garlic salt, sea salt and cracked pepper. But you can add whatever combo you like!

 

The chicken itself will be kind of bland, but you don’t want it to be too flavorful because you’re going to be adding it to several different recipes.

 

Or if you want it to have one specific flavor, you could tailor all your recipes around that one flavor. Think, Hispanic or Italian dishes.

 

Next you’re going to want to shred or chop up all the chicken. This is going to make it quick and easy to add to all of your different recipes.

I prefer to shred my chicken because I think it’s easier to add to most recipes that way.

I prefer to shred my chicken because I think it’s easier to add to most recipes that way.

 

Then I would recommend you just store all the chopped chicken in its own container, until it’s ready for your recipe.

 

So you’re just cooking one meat in bulk, shredding it all up and getting it ready to serve but you don’t actually make all the recipes yet. You’ll make one the day you cook the chicken and then you’ll have plenty of leftover meat for a new recipe, for the next couple of meals.

 

If you’re going to get sick of the same meat (chicken) for the next couple of days, this probably isn’t the meal prep plan for you. I personally don’t mind eating chicken a couple days in a row, I just don’t want to eat the same meal several days in a row.

 

If you do it this way, you can have your meat already prepared, which is usually the part of the meal that takes the longest to make in the first place, and then just add it into a really simple, easy recipe, making meals quicker and more efficient but still varied.

 

These are some of the meals that I made from my big batch of crockpot shredded chicken. I chose these specific meals because they were really easy to add the chicken into, as is, and they are family favorites.

 

Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas 

Chicken and black bean  quesadillas  with a salad mix. Can’t get an easier family-friendly meal than this!

Chicken and black bean quesadillas with a salad mix. Can’t get an easier family-friendly meal than this!

 

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Chicken and rice with kale chips! I would've preferred a chicken and rice  casserole , but we didn’t have enough chicken for all that, so I just threw it on top of rice for a quick meal.

Chicken and rice with kale chips! I would've preferred a chicken and rice casserole, but we didn’t have enough chicken for all that, so I just threw it on top of rice for a quick meal.

 

Chicken in a Salad

I always forget that I can just add chicken to a salad mix for a healthy and quick meal option with added protein.

I always forget that I can just add chicken to a salad mix for a healthy and quick meal option with added protein.

 

Some additional meal ideas:

Just click to view these easy recipes!

Shop my most used kitchen and cooking recommendations here:

 

I hope y’all found these tips helpful on how to save  time cooking, with this simple hack - bulk cooking your meat! I hate to feel like I’m slaving away in the kitchen trying to come up with some fancy new recipe every night. Not to mention all the clean up!

 

If you’re worried about the meat going bad before you can use it all, you can freeze individual portions of it and take them out the night before you need it.

 

Do you cook like this already? Did I just save you hours of cooking time? Let me know in the comments below! I know meal prep is not a new concept, but hopefully having all the recipes in one place will save you some time and brain space when it comes to making your next meal ;)

 

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