I was inspired by KM's chicken post to share another suggestion for freezing lots of chicken.
Pre-Assembled Freezer MealsI am a big proponent of freezing pre-assembled meals. By assembled I mean preparing the ingredients but not cooking the food (examples to follow.) I do this in two cases. One: If you look online and see there is a deal like the $1.99/lb chicken, you can do some pre-planning for your grocery list and plan future meals with that chicken and come home and assemble them. It will certainly take some additional time to do this, but save you time for future meals. Two: When you are cooking a meal anyways, prepare a couple of extra to freeze. Often if I buy meat in larger quantities than necessary for my household, I will buy two packages (6 chicken breasts,) prepare one meal for tonight and two to go in the freezer.
Examples would include freezing pounded, breaded chicken breasts for chicken parmigiana and when you defrost them, all you have to do is bake and add sauce. Or, a simpler option is freezing chicken in a marinade so that by the time it defrosts it is well seasoned. I find it is most helpful for things like fajitas where there is a lot of prep work in cutting up peppers, onions, etc and for small families a whole pepper is unnecessary for a single meal. You can easily get 2-3 meals prepped at one time and cook one, freeze the rest.
Once all your ingredients are together, drop it in a freezer zipper bag, label with cooking instructions, date and freeze. (I stole this picture from a blog called "Bunch of Cooks," because its a great example. The site is full of recipes so if you try any, report back and let us know how it was.) I try to keep a running list of my freezer inventory so I know what I have and don't forget until it's too late!
I was introduced to the site Saving Dinner and they offer "5 for the Freezer" menus/recipes. I don't like the idea of paying for recipes since there is such an abundance online from sites like www.allrecipes.com. However, for $2.95, it's not a bad value if you are just getting started with this method. They offer 7 different groups of 5 recipes for chicken breasts. The idea is, buy up chicken, spend an hour or so making up the marinades or what-not and freeze 5 meals that are different and at your fingertips, just defrost and cook! They even provide the shopping list and nutrition information. Check it out.
Here is an example of "5 for the Freezer" for chicken breasts Volume 1:
1. Apple Chicken Breasts
2. Caribbean Chicken
3. Chicken Satay
4. Country Fried Chicken and Peppers
5. Way Easy Chicken Stir Fry