My family eats a lot of chicken. It’s inexpensive, easy to cook, and can be used in so many different recipes. I incorporate chicken into my meal plan at least four times each week. And, since I am always looking for ways to save time in the kitchen, I save myself a lot of work by making two pounds of shredded chicken in my slow cooker at the beginning of each week.
Shredded chicken has so many uses – we make chicken tacos, chicken quesadillas, barbecued chicken sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, chicken pot pies, chicken salad. By making plain chicken at the beginning of the week, I can throw any of these meals together in just minutes. This is essential, especially on those night when you are trying to feed your family a healthy meal while shuffling between swim class, dance class and soccer.
To save money, I always purchase chicken breasts when they are on sale, and I always buy a few packages at a time. I almost always repackage the chicken as soon as I get home – slicing the chicken breasts in half, lengthwise, and dividing them up into “shredding” packages, which is the bottom half of the chicken breast and “fillets”, which is the top of the chicken. I do this for a couple reasons. (1) Thinner chicken breasts cook quicker, (2) Nobody in my family can eat a whole chicken breast for dinner and (3) The bottom of the chicken breast is always a bit rough looking, and shredding it makes it a bit more appetizing.
To cook chicken for shredding, I typically place it in the slow cooker on low, and I cover it with about half a can of chicken broth. I refrigerate the rest of the broth for use during the week, as it helps to thin out the barbecue sauce for barbecued chicken sandwiches and it is a good base for my chicken soup.
A lot of people manually shred their chicken, pulling it apart with a couple of forks. I, on the other hand, have found a much faster (and easier way) to shred my chicken – I use my stand mixer. I use tongs to pull the breasts from the slow cooker, put them in my mixing bowl and turn the mixer on the lowest setting. In 10-15 seconds I have perfectly shredded chicken. Try it – it’s amazing.