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The Many Lives of Chipotle Chicken

November 2, 2008

colorful peppers, originally uploaded by jaysonphoto.

Now that J. and I are both working full time we’ve had to try and find new ways to get things done like cooking. When I’m working out of the office it’s relatively easy for me to cook a couple nights a week but when I travel J. was eating cereal. No seriously he would eat meal after meal of cereal. It’s not healthy and it’s not all that cheap.

Instead of resorting to a bunch of convenience foods I decided to try my hand at cooking a couple meals on Saturday to freeze and refridgerate for the week. Last weekend I made chipotle chicken, gingerbread, bread, tomato tart and baked ziti. It took me about five hours and it was exhausting. By the time I was done my desire to clean was nonexistent but that’s what Sunday is for I guess. The gingerbread recipe came from one of our cookbooks and made two loaves (one to eat and one to freeze), the bread recipe is a whole wheat recipe I can’t seem to get right, and the ziti made two 8X8 casserole dishes worth. I put one in the freezer and one in the fridge. I figure freezing some stuff will cut down my work load in a couple weeks when I pull them out and it helps keep variety in our diet without having to cook/bake something new every day.

Making it all at once works well but it can be limiting. I realized I need to create not necessarily meals but components of meals that can be used in different ways. For example, I made chipotle chicken for use in a burrito but it could work easily in a quesadilla or nachos. Since J. is a little burned out on burritos we are going to try it with nachos tonight.

Since the meat is already cooked I’m going to put a layer of tortilla chips down and top them with chicken, cheese, and black beans (all things we have already). I figure 10 minutes will heat everything through and then we can eat them with salsa and sour cream. It will be a quick and easy way to give new life to the chipotle chicken.

Today I made turkey chili, raspberry “breakfast” bars, and bread. I’ll only be traveling a couple days this week so I’ll be able to cook two nights this week and we’ll have leftovers the rest. Friday J. goes out of town for three weeks and I’m not sure yet how much I’ll cook if it’s just me. I’ll be traveling at least one of those weeks so we’ll save money on groceries but when I’m home I don’t want to fall into the cereal trap!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2008 8:17 am

    I find that I like to make one component on Sunday and then use it different ways. Like marinara on Sunday for spaghetti on one day, then baked ziti or pasta another day, then perhaps some in some soup on Wed & Thurs. and maybe use the rest of pizza on Saturday. If we didn’t do this I would be constantly cooking. Since we both work from home, we eat every meal here. And since we live a half hour from the nearest town, grabbing a quick bite isn’t an option. So we’ve learned quick meal options.

    Chili is also a great option, you can eat a bowlful on day, then make chili bake with corn bread baked on top of it (like a casserole) then chili and cheese on top of a baked potato. A great way to eat the same thing but make it taste different.

  2. November 2, 2008 1:17 pm

    I agree with Suzy – it’s a kind of serial cooking; you start with a dish one day and reuse the leftovers in different ways the folllowing days. This week was a record for our part, a slowcooked chickend the first day was made into a leekpie the next day (I blanched the leeks in the chicken broth), then the rest of the broth and the chicken was turned into a stew, and we ate the rest of the stew as a pasta ‘sauce’ the last day. That’s a total of four days on one chicken.

    I like this method since it gives room for more improvisations than the general seven day meal plan you’re advised to use, and I think you use your food in a more efficent way. Be careful to handle meat and other stuff the right way though; cool leftovers as quickly as possible and store in the fridge.

  3. November 3, 2008 11:26 am

    Sauces are definately a good way to go for variety and space. Freezing a whole tray of ziti takes up a lot of room whereas a tuppy of the tomato sauce to add to noodles, rice, fish, chicken, etc. later takes up very little space. Pesto is another easy & versatile one. Make a bunch and freeze it in ice cube trays. Pop them out and store them in a container or bag in the freezer and then you can just take out as many or few as you need. Pesto is great on pasta, but also chicken, mozzarella sandwiches, etc. Chili is a big favorite in our house too. My husband loves it over noodles or rice.

    I totally leave the cleanup to my husband. Fair is fair.

  4. Bob permalink
    November 5, 2008 1:51 am

    N, buy a chicken when they’re cheap, roast it, freeze the rest of the meet, cook the carcass down and make stock/broth, and freeze that, or make soup. Good base for ALL KINDS of soup – butternut squash, chicken anything, etc. Make pot roast – freeze the broth. Make any kind of roast – make pot pie, lo mein, etc. Miss you much!

  5. November 7, 2008 10:01 am

    great photo, nice combination of colors.

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