You may notice that I do a lot of recipes that call for chicken that's cooked and shredded. Like this one, or this one, this one, or maybe this one? And maybe that scares you from making the recipe, because you think, "Gosh, I have to cook the chicken for 40 minutes AND shred it before I can even start the actual recipe?"
I hear you. That USED to scare me too. But now I have a secret weapon. About every 3 weeks, I go to the store and buy split chicken breasts and chicken leg quarters. Yes, that's the kind that's still on the bone. Why do I buy on the bone? Because it's easier on the pocketbook than buying boneless, skinless chicken. Why do I buy two different kinds of meat? Because it's good.
I bring it home and peel the skin off (I'll be honest, this isn't my favorite past-time, but it's worth it, I promise!). I sprinkle it with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. And then I pop it in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until it reaches 165 degrees internally. After it's cooked, I let it cool until I can handle it and I shred it all into a large bowl.
After it's all shredded, I pack it into baggies. They end up being about 1 lb each and are the perfect size for all those recipes that call for shredded chicken. Then, I pop them in the freezer until I need them.
Before a meal, I defrost a package in the microwave. I also, usually chop it into bite-size pieces. The chicken breast and dark leg meat, make for a wonderful mixture of meat.
-You can also boil the chicken in a big pot. Just throw in some roughly chopped onions, garlic, and carrots too! After the chicken is cooked through, put a lid on the pot and let it cool. Then put it in the fridge overnight.
Pull the chicken out and shred. Then you can use the "water" as your chicken stock. A good way to preserve the stock is to skim all the fat off the top and pour the stock into an empty ice cube tray and freeze. Once, it's frozen, pop the chicken stock ice cubes out and store in a large storage bag in your freezer.
-If you are brave, you can do this with whole chickens. I did it once and I gagged through the whole "gutting" process. I don't recommend it.
-Pre-cooked rotisserie chickens, from the store, are also a TASTY way to get shredded meat. They are so wonderfully seasoned and very moist. But when you cook your own meat, you can control the sodium levels a little more.
Great idea, or what? It's going to save you a TON of time.