Many frugal recipes call for cooked chicken breast. Having to cook chicken as needed can really put a drain on your dinner time prep and buying canned chicken, well…we’ll just leave that alone.
My favorite thing to do to save time and money is to cook and freeze my chicken breast ahead of time. It thaws really fast when needed, especially if you pop it in the microwave for a few minutes. And if you’re throwing it in a soup or stew, there’s no reason to thaw at all.
Although we seldom see coupons for chicken, you can still practice The Pantry Principle by stocking up when it reaches it’s lowest price per pound. My buy price for chicken has to be under $2/lb and it must be fresh! Trust me on this, there is a HUGE difference between fresh and previously frozen chicken and your family will love you if you serve them the former.
When I first started freezing cooked chicken, I cooked it in the crockpot, however, I wasn’t too fond of the texture that resulted. Now I prepare chicken breast for the freezer by baking it in the oven. There’s also a perk…you get chicken broth out of the deal too!
How to Cook and Freeze Chicken Breast
Rinse, trim and then lay chicken breasts in a single layer in large baking dish or roasting pan.
Cover tightly with foil and bake the chicken breast at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and let cool completely with foil still intact. This will ensure moister meat.
Once the chicken is completely cooked, transfer the breasts to another container, cover and place in refrigerator for a couple of hours. Cooling the chicken way down makes chopping it a much simpler task. If you try to chop it up when it’s still warm, your chicken will start to shred* and fall apart.
*Note: If you need shredded chicken for a recipe, this is the ideal time to do it.
Next, pour the broth from the baking dish through a sieve (to remove particles) and into a glass container. I like to use a big glass measuring cup, but I’ve also poured it directly into mason jars before. Once this cools down, place it in the refrigerator for a few hours.
While in the refrigerator, the excess fat will rise to the top and solidify. Simply scrape the fat from the top and discard. Pour the broth into glass mason jars or the freezer container of your choice. Label and freeze for up to one year.
Be sure to freeze broth in different sizes so you have a variety available. It’s not safe to thaw and refreeze poultry broth, so you’ll want to make sure you have the right amount on hand to avoid waste. You might consider the following:
Ice Cube Trays – each cube = approximately 2 tablespoons
Pint Size Mason Jars = 1 1/2 cups
Quart Size Mason Jars = 3 1/2 cups*
*Perfect size for making soups or boiling pasta
Last, remove the chicken breast from the refrigerator and chop into bite size pieces. Transfer to resealable freezer bags or containers and freeze for 3-4 months.
Now you you’re prepared for anytime a recipe calls for cooked chicken or chicken broth.
Zaycon Foods – Great Prices on FRESH Chicken Delivered to Your Area
I love having my Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast delivered by Zaycon Foods. They used to have just a few drop off points, but they’ve gained so much popularity over the past few years, that many areas are able to take advantage of the freshness and super savings.
Register with Zaycon Foods and they’ll let you know when a sales event is coming to your area. They sell lots of other products too, like Lean Ground Beef, Bacon, Ham, and more!