Yesterday I posted about how I will cook one huge meal, and then use the leftovers for two additional meals, but slightly modified so that they are entirely new meals.
I shared how I do this with chili, and now I’m going to show you how I do it with BBQ chicken!
This is really such a simple concept, but it is so helpful for a busy, stressed Mom, and really doesn’t require significant additional time, unlike making freezer meals (which is also another great way to make mealtimes less stressful, but for me, I have to have a block of time to set aside to actually do it!).
BBQ Chicken, Three Ways
Day One: You are going to need to figure out exactly how much chicken to prepare for three days worth of meals. Take your normal amount, and multiply it by three.
I generally just use boneless skinless chicken breasts, or bone-in chicken breasts, and pull the meat off the bone. If you are really strapped for time, you could pick up three rotisserie chickens at Costco, pull the meat off and call it a day. Costco has the best price and the biggest birds, so get them there!
I generally just prepare my chicken in the crockpot, now that I have an Instant Pot, I could do it there too. Preparation is super simple, though. Throw the chicken in, season it with salt and pepper, and any other seasonings that you might like with BBQ, and let it cook until the meat is easily shredded with two forks.
You are going to want to start this before lunchtime because remember, your crockpot is going to be packed to the gills with three times more meat than you normally cook.
After the meat has cooked, shred it up with two forks and either put it back in the empty crock (toss or save the broth for later). You are now going to douse it liberally with your favorite BBQ sauce. We use Sweet Baby Ray’s, but the brand isn’t important.
You could even make your own if you have a recipe you like and have time. Make sure that your chicken is good and saucy though, you don’t want it to be dry.
Meal One: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
You are going to serve meal one with buns or rolls (homemade or store bought), a salad, and some fruit if you have it. If your children are hearty eaters, you may want to serve an additional starch, so that they don’t eat too much of the chicken. (Another way to avoid the children eating too much of the meat is to only put out one-third of the total chicken. Cover and put the rest out of site).
Meal Two: BBQ Chicken Potato Skins
We love potato skins in my family, and they are a really cheap way to stretch a meal! Bake your potatoes: for younger children, I bake one per child (remember the middle will be scooped out) and for older children, 8 and up, I will bake two). If you have a lot of extra potatoes, feel free to bake up more, this is so easy to stretch by just putting less meat on each potato.
After your potatoes have baked, you will need to let them cook enough to handle. Cut them in half lengthwise, then scoop out the middle. I try to leave about 1/4 inch of potato still in the skin, but reserve the rest for fried potatoes at a later time (with breakfast or lunch) 1/4 inch seems to be just the right amount.
Season your scooped out skins with salt and pepper, I also use some garlic and onion powder. After seasoning, add your bbq chicken to each skin. and spread it out. Depending on the size of your potatoes, I will add one to two tablespoons of meat to each half.
Once the meat is evenly distributed, sprinkle with some shredded cheddar cheese, and put them in the oven. I usually leave them in a 350-degree oven for about twenty minutes, but they just need to be hot.
Serve with sour cream, a salad, and fruit if you have it. (There are never any extras left over, no matter how many I end up making. My older boys always devour what’s left!)
Meal Three: BBQ Chicken Pizza
This is a really simple meal. You can use your favorite pizza crust for this recipe, you can buy the Pillsbury pre-made pizza dough (the one in a can), or you could even buy a pre-baked crust.
Get your dough shaped into a pizza shape, either round, or pressed into a rectangular jelly roll pan. Spread the dough with bbq sauce, the same way you would spread out your pizza sauce, and in the same quantity.
Spread the last of your BBQ chicken over the pizzas, and then top with red onions (if your family likes them, you can use raw red onion, or sauté them first), and I like to use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese to finish it off.
Bake in a 450-degree over for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is gold and the toppings are hot and bubbly. If you are using a pre-baked crust, follow the package directions.
Serve with a salad and fruit if you have it.
These three-day menus are such lifesavers for me, and they do a fantastic job of keeping the family from getting bored. Each meal is so different from the last that nobody notices or cares that the food is partial left-overs.