Let me start by saying: I make about four things for dinner. With three kids under age ten, I don’t fuck around with experiments, delicious-sounding curried-lentil soups, or new and interesting flavours. It took more than a few heartbreaking refusals of “fun recipes” I wanted to try, like Middle Eastern shrimp kebabs and absolutely bomb butter chicken, for me to learn my lesson. After about the hundredth “this is yucky,” any once-adventurous cooking bone I had in my body has left the building, where it will remain until the small Cheez-It and dino nuggie-loving people I live with no longer gag when faced with new foods that taste awesome.
That said, one of those four (very repetitive) meals is chicken quesadillas. Every week I make these, and every week, I have shredded chicken leftover. Chicken which I then put in Tupperware to slowly rot in my fridge, because it would riddle me with too much guilt to chuck it in the trash outright. (Also because, despite evidence to the contrary, I sustain hope I will repurpose that shredded chicken elsewhere. The forces of delusion are strong.)
This happens pretty much every time I buy shredded chicken (or peel the meat off of a rotisserie chicken, which, though more cost effective and plentiful, skeeves me out.)
So this trick, from Lifehacker reader u/knowonelse, is coming into my life at just the right time. Well, a day late actually — I just did my weekly chicken-in-the-garbage toss/self-flagellation routine last night — but an opportune moment for this lesson to be retained, nonetheless.
Take any leftover rotisserie chicken or pre-packaged shredded chicken you may have, scoop it into the cups of a muffin tin, and freeze. Once frozen, dump those small portions into a freezer bag for later use. This way, the chicken can be thawed in small batches to prevent thawing large amounts that can lead to further waste and spoiling. (This is especially helpful if you buy large quantities of hand-pulled rotisserie chicken, such as this from Costco.) Add those small thawed portions to chicken salad, chicken pot pie, chicken soup, next week’s quesadillas — any recipe requiring shredded or rotisserie chicken.
All you need to pull this off is enough room in your freezer for a muffin tin, and the mental wherewithal to remember that you’ve frozen it in the first place.