Last week during our coffee chat, I mentioned that I had bought 40 pounds of farm fresh chicken. How does one deal with 40 pounds of chicken, you ask? Allow me to share – from personal experience – what to do with 40 pounds of chicken.
#1 – Prep your space.
I planned to freeze at least 90% of my chicken, so I made sure I had enough freezer bags + a working sharpie for the job.
I figured I better clear out some freezer space and took some time to wipe out the crud that inevitably finds it’s way to the bottom of my freezer. In the spirit of full and honest disclosure, I’m fairly certain I would not have taken time to wipe out my freezer crud if I had not been planning to take a picture for you. So… thank you for the motivation.
Then I got all over-achiever on myself and decided to label my bags before I even picked up my chicken. Good life choice, Christa.
#2 – Pick Up That Chicken
A few months ago, a couple friends mentioned this company called Zaycon where they bought farm raised, all natural meat for a deep discount. I was intrigued. I checked it out online, ran the idea by Jonathan, and we decided to buy a package of chicken. My pickup date was last Monday, so I drove to the pickup spot, rolled down my window to verify who I was, and opened my trunk. A man put a large box in my trunk, waved at me, and I started to drive away.
“Did he put chicken in our car?” my kids asked.
To which I helpfully responded, “Umm, I have no idea what he put in our car. I hope it was chicken!”
We got home and discovered that yes, in fact, it was chicken…and not a bomb.
I have an overactive imagination.
#2.5 – Get Coffee.
Okay, this step is optional. I mean, mostly optional.
But there was a merging of 3 significant factors going on here:
post-sunday (aka monday) + 40 pounds of chicken to prep + 3 small children + a free drink at starbucks
I tend to be an annoying saver with free things like that. But due to those 4 factors, I decided today was the day. Venti dirty chai. And please – always order a venti when it’s free. I used to pretend to think the size over when I ordered because I didn’t want to come across as a total freeloader. And now I think, “Well of course I’m going to order the largest size possible since it’s free.” Next time I should see if they’ll give me a pitcher.
#3 – Cut + Prep.
This involves clearing a large counter space and equipping it with a cutting board (of some sort) and a sharp knife. I have raved over my knife for years (number 3 on this list) and it’s worth raving over. You don’t want to mess with a dull knife when you’re prepping 40 pounds of chicken. Curly cutting board? Maybe. Dull knife? Nuh-uh.
Excuse the rather gross picture of raw chicken.
Several months ago, I started cutting my chicken into strips, covering it in italian dressing, and storing it in the freezer until I want to grill it. I planned to do that with 20 pounds of this chicken, so I used these italian dressing packets from Aldi to make my own marinade and save a little $.
These pieces of chicken were de-fatted and kept in the fridge until I was able to use them.
I cooked the top 2 containers in the crockpot with some italian seasoning, then shredded + bagged it for future meals. I love having cooked & shredded chicken in the freezer that I can just pull out and use for soup, enchiladas (we love these), pizza, greek nachos, casseroles, calzones, etc.
The bottom container has been cut into small chunks. I used 1/3 of it in a crockpot meal of potatoes, carrots, and chicken with italian dressing seasoning. It was an experimental meal, but it turned out to be quite tasty. I’m planning to use the rest of the container for freezer meals. I love having bags of meals that I can just throw into a crockpot or in a pot on the stove and have dinner virtually made. Except I usually try to make rice, noodles, or a salad on the side. But sometimes I don’t and call it done. Or sometimes I break out the bag of baby carrots and call that a side. Because it totally is.
#3 – Store. Eat. Enjoy.
Take a look at all that chicken – already de-fatified, cut into strips, and marinating.
You know why it’s so beautiful to me? Because it means I can pull out a bag to thaw, grill it (I have this indoor grill), and have a delish + incredibly easy meal. I usually serve this grilled chicken on top of salads or in wraps. My whole family loves it, but especially my 2 year old. Clearly, this makes mama proud.
So far, we’ve only eaten 1 meal with the chicken, but it’s been delish so far. I’m considering trying some of their all natural ground beef in the future. I’ve also heard good things about their bacon. They have pork too, but we aren’t huge pork eaters. Or should I say we don’t eat a ton of pork? Whatever. We aren’t huge pork eaters. Nor do we eat a huge amount of pork.
And that, my friends, is my 3 step process for preparing 40 pounds of chicken. (4 steps if you count stopping for free coffee.)
Have you ever prepared a inordinately large amount of meat at one time? What tips would you add?