Easy as Pie Summer Meals

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No, this post isn’t about pie. (Though pie sounds so amazing right now! Yum!) I love all things simple when it comes to cooking/baking. With these 100 degree temperatures in Arizona I hate turning my oven on if I don’t have too. So when it comes to making dinner for my family I want it simple without heating up my house.

I can make 2-3 meals out of cooking chicken in my Crockpot. Here’s what I do: With a 3 year-old and almost 8-month old, my dinner prep time is very limited. I have about a 30min window to cook/bake anything for dinner before the “Give me food!” meltdowns start happening.  I’m thankful I have a husband who is okay with the occasional cheese-crisp or waffles for dinner. However, we can’t eat like that every night and I am always trying to find healthy and simple ways to feed us. More importantly, I am trying to stretch my husband’s hard earned money as far as it goes…That’s why I started using my Crockpot.

I have tried all sorts of methods to cook my chicken before I add it to a dish. Boil, bake, pan fry. They always ended up over done, burnt, just plain blah. Grilling chicken, in my opinion, is the best, but I don’t want to stand out in the heat, over the heat. Plus, it’s about saving time. So, I started buying frozen chicken breasts. (Really any frozen chicken will do. Even a whole chicken). This is the method I created, easy as pie:

I put as many chicken breasts in the crockpot as I need for my meals for 2 weeks around 10am. I try to plan out a weekly meal plan. Usually it’s just in my head, sometimes I do write it down before I go grocery shopping. If I am feeling really adventurous I plan out 2 weeks! I have found that 2 chicken breasts do go along way with the 3 of us eating it.  You can modify the amount of chicken depending on what your family eats.

I pour in chicken broth to cover the chicken to prevent burning. If you don’t have chicken broth, adding water will work, it just won’t give chicken much flavor. If I am making a variety of meals (Mexican, American, etc.) with the chicken I usually just use broth. But for example, if I am planning on using the chicken for Mexican meals, I typically cook it with my favorite salsa from Costco. You can use  any combo of seasonings, cream of soups, whatever is easiest for you. (Remember, simple!)

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Perfectly moist, shredded chicken.

Now here’s some ideas I use with my chicken without the oven:

1. BBQ chicken sandwiches. Add a little BBQ sauce and a bun.

2. Top a salad!

3. Chicken quesadillas

4. White Chicken Chili

5. Chicken Salad sandwiches

If I decide to turn on my oven:

1. BBQ chicken pizza. Top pizza crust with BBQ sauce, chicken, diced red onion, cilantro, and mozzerella cheese.

2. Chicken enchiladas

Whatever you have left over, save for the next day’s meal or freeze to use at a later date. Just make sure you cool the chicken completely before storing it.

The possibilities are endless with your simple, cooked chicken!

Now for some pie! (Just not with chicken!)

 

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Jessie is the proud mama of two little loves, Reese (born 2009) and Brooks (born 2011). She is fortunate enough to share her life’s adventures with her husband (and high school sweetheart) Todd to whom she has been married since 2004. Although she and her husband have lived all over the West Coast, Arizona is home and she can’t imagine leaving the warm Arizona sunshine anytime soon! A proud University of Arizona Alumni, Jessie spent her pre-kiddo years as a corporate recruiter and trainer. When she is not taking her kiddos to the park or exploring the many cool things the Valley has for families, Jessie is running her natural baby food business, At First Bite, and blogging about the many adventures of parenthood on her blog, At First Bite – Peas. Love. Yumminess.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the awesome idea Jessica! I never thought of cooking my chicken in my crock pot, and I hate cooking chicken in my frying pan…I can never get it so tender the way my mom does. I will have to try it for my chicken taco bake tonight!

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