Disclaimer: I thought I would have this posted about two weeks ago. Unfortunately, life took over and, alas, I did not.
As I teased earlier this week on Facebook, yesterday, I drove over to a neighboring town to receive an order of 120 pounds of very cold, bagged, chicken breasts. People, that is A LOT of chicken! Three waxed, cardboard cartons worth, sitting on plastic in the back seat, to be exact.
So, why on Earth did I have 12o pounds of said chicken pieces in the car with me? Because, according to Zaycon Foods, they are, “100 % natural chicken with no added hormones, additives or artificial ingredients.” It was also only $1.99 a pound and that is a really good deal for my area. I can occasionally get chicken breasts at this price, but it is the cheapo, frozen, injected with salt water stuff in the bags at a big box store. Certainly not hormone and additive free.
Plus, I love seeing my shelves and freezer full of good, healthy meals ready to be eaten! Real food is a good thing.
I first learned about Zaycon and their wonderful chicken from the blog One Hundred Dollars a Month. I used her referral code to sign in and set up a free account. I read her articles on how she dealt with a huge box of chicken breasts when she got them home. And, then, I, quite tentatively, ordered a 40 pound case of chicken.
Wow! Was I even impressed! Each breast is about twice the size of the anemic looking ones we got at the local grocers, so we promptly cut them in half and put them in labelled ziplock bags with 6 portions (worked out to 3 whole breasts) in each bag and froze them. Hubby cut the breasts in half and pulled off a few remnants of skin, but the chicken was clean and nice. I think we got 19 meals worth frozen from that original case (plus the meal we ate that night) that we ate over the next few months. We enjoyed it grilled, fried, baked, in soups, casseroles, you name it.
The price was right and it was better quality than we could get locally.
Problem was, we ran out before they ran their next sale in our area. So, this time, we were fortunate enough to have been able to put back some money in anticipation of the sale that was this week, so we decided to order…more than one case. We finally decided that two cases would, in all likelihood allow us to make it to the next planned sale in our area. Plus, I like to pressure can foods to use later, so a case to can up would be handy. Ultimately, we purchased 3 cases, for an unprecedented (to our family, anyway) 120 pounds of meat to all be picked up on a single day.
In preparation, hubby and I asked the kids what their favorite chicken meals were, looked up a few new ones that looked worth trying, and pulled out some tried and true recipes. As we have gotten into a bit of a cooking rut of repeating meals lately, I decided that instead of plain chicken in bags, we would try and make as many as possible into “freezer meals” or packets with everything needed to get to cooking a particular dish.
At this point, we ate one delicious meal of a balsamic chicken that my Mom made last night and put up 29 other meals into the freezer. I won’t post recipes here, because until we try them all, I don’t want to accidentally recommend something that doesn’t work out quite as planned. We also poached 15 breasts and put them into the fridge to shred tonight when they weren’t boiling hot. We also gleaned off 6 quarts of chicken stock to use in soups later. That looks like about 35 meals total (with a generous serving of chicken per person) for 6 large apetites out of 120 pounds of chicken.
We started off wondering if we would have enough recipes for variety. We ended up with no more than 2 of any one recipe, a few singles, and none left over for canning. You could have knocked me over with a feather to not have any left to can up!
For the record, I didn’t take enough pictures of the process this time. And not everything packet is a complete meal, but we did manage the following:
1 packet of chunks for chicken fried rice
2 packets of chunks for chicken teriyaki
1 packet of chunks for chicken korma
Shredded chicken for
Enchiladas with green sauce
2 Baked chicken parmigiana
Serving size pieces packaged for
BBQ chicken sandwiches
Buffalo chicken sandwiches
Lemon Pepper chicken salads
2 Southwest Chicken Dinner ( 1 pot meal)
Chicken Fajita wraps
Quick Chicken Posole
Greek Chicken in Yogurt marinade
Chicken Marengo (1 pot meal)
Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Italian Chicken in marinade.
After we verify that everything turned out great for this freezer meal, chicken edition, we will share recipes either here or in an inexpensive e-book. Most are available online to try if you really can’t wait.
I encourage everyone to try Zaycon Foods. Here is my referral code. I will receive exactly $1 off of a future order if you set up an account and make your first purchase. At that point, you will get your own referral code to use to share with others. If you use my code, thank you. If not, I still really want you to try some of this great chicken! It’s easier on the budget than you think and it ‘s good quality.
Edited to add: we have been using these meals for about two weeks now and they have all been fantastic! It’s been nice not to think about dinner other than to thaw it in advance and toss it in the crockpot!
Have you ever put up large quantities of meats? What are YOUR tips?
Till next time,