My goal for bulk cooking days is always to not freeze any plain, raw chicken, so I had to learn how to juggle all that chicken and not end up with a bunch of all the same kinds of meals, and to stagger the finishing times so I had time to clean up, package things, and let them cool before I put them into the freezer.
Tools I use for the a mass chicken cooking day
My Instant Pot
The InstantPot is easily the best thing you can use for a cooking day. Before I had my InstantPot I used my trusty old hand me down Presto pressure cooker (like this one on Amazon) which worked great but took a lot longer than the InstantPot does to cook, so I was thrilled to discover how much more efficient the InstantPot was.
The easiest way to cook a bunch of chicken (without making it all the same!) with the InstantPot is using the pressure cooker function with a nice marinade. It’s fast and easy, just dump it all in, turn it on and go!
George Foreman Grill
This is my husband’s favorite way for me to cook chicken. The great thing about using the George Foreman is that if you cook it and it retains it’s shape and texture, so you can add it to soups and other dishes and have nice, chunky chicken pieces. It’s also very fast, which is a good thing when you have 50 pounds of chicken to go through. Click on the image over on the right to see how I use the George Foreman for cooking.
I decided to keep my big crockpot when I got the InstantPot. I kept it for bulk cooking days and for when we have our families over, since we both have big families. I usually cook the chicken, then freeze it in silicone molds so it’s a consistent size and I can use it for meals like Tortellini Soup and Read Bean Taco Soup.
Canning is an amazing way to preserve meals that you can grab off the shelf and eat. I like having canned meals I can eat right from the jar with little to no prep. They’re useful for emergencies like a power loss or when I don’t have a plan for dinner and my family has the hungry look in their eyes that says they’re about to raid the snack bag I have for when we run errands. (It’s the one place in the house where I keep prepackaged foods in individual serving sizes. ?)
Pressure canning is the safe way to process chicken or the meals I make with chicken, and it’s ridiculously easy. This step is completely optional if you haven’t started canning, but if you want to learn you can from my girlfriend Jenny- she’s who taught me how to start canning. I was way too scared to start canning before I took her courses, so let’s just say I highly recommend it.
Do your prep
Do not skip this step. This step is not a suggestion. It will keep you sane and help you not end up with a horrible, disgusting kitchen you’re too exhausted clean at the end of the day.
- Clean kitchen
- Empty dishwasher
- Good, sturdy shoes and comfy clothes
Materials to gather
This is best done the night before so you can hit the ground running on your cooking day.
- Freezer bags labelled
- Cooking containers out
- Knives, cutting boards and utensils out and ready to go
- Washcloths and counter cleaner ready in a easy place, because there will be spills, especially if there is no.
- Timers for the food – I recommend using your smartphone because you can label the alarms so you know what’s done cooking.
- Any cooking tools (Instant Pot, slow cooker, canner, indoor grill, outdoor grill, etc)
If you’re really ambitious, then the night before you can put together all your spices so on your cooking day you can just toss them in, then add in your wet ingredients and get to cooking.
Okay, so here’s the deal. Sometimes, I like to start my slow cooker chicken the night before, so when I get up in the morning of my cooking day, I can pull it out and let it cool so I have more chicken done beforehand. It maybe technically means I’m not processing it all in one day, but I don’t mind cheating in this case. ?
- First things first, use your crockpot and throw your first crockpot recipe in first. That’s going to cook the longest, so get it out of the way first. Set your timer if your crockpot doesn’t have a timer so you can get it out to cool as soon as it’s cooked. If you have a spouse that’s willing to help you by grilling out, setup the marinade’s you’re using now and set your chicken to soak in it.
- Second, throw your chicken you’re baking that in the oven and set a timer. Chances are it’s the next longest cook time.
- Third, you’re going to start your stovetop chicken or anything else you have to watch, like grilled chicken. I use all four burners and put my biggest pots on half way full with water and drop in the chicken with some basic spices.
Next you can start throwing together all the other ingredients you’ll need for your other meals. I like to use my freezer bag holders and add my ingredients straight into the freezer bags. It saves me time, allows me to minimize the amount of dishes I’m using, and means I can make sure about the same amount of ingredients makes it into each bag.