1 Package of Chicken Breasts, 5 Ideas for Lunch!

Our “big grocery” day is every Monday. Every Monday, SG and I go to Aldi’s and HyVee and any other place I decide we need to go for groceries.

For some reason, I cannot get us ready and out of the house before 10 am. I don’t know why. Seriously, I’m so slow at getting us out of the house unless we have a doctor’s appointment. Does anyone else have this problem or is it just me?

I digress.

Leaving at 10 o’clock (ish) puts us at a dangerous spot— we end up shopping at lunchtime when we are hungry! And y’all know we just can’t go to any drive thru. I pack snacks for SG, but by the time we come home we are both hungry.

A few weeks ago, I started buying one package of Just Bare chicken breasts on grocery day. The minute we drag the groceries in, I preheat the oven. In less than 25 minutes, we have yummy and fresh baked chicken breasts.

Here’s the best part- we use them for lunches several days in a row!

Here’s how I use our chicken breasts for lunch. Look for how I bake the chicken at the end of the post.

1. Chicken Salad Sandwiches. This uses a lot of the chicken so I don’t do this as much. I usually get 2-3 breasts per pack. I use about 2 breasts for this recipe.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

2. BBQ Chicken Nachos. This is my current absolute favorite! I eat this for lunch several times a week. I even bribed SG into taking a bite for the cost of just one skittle… and she LOVED it! (The bbq chicken nachos and the skittle.) She had bbq chicken nachos today and declared she wanted bbq chicken nachos for lunch every day.

Ingredients:

  • Safe Tortilla Chips
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
  • Cooked and cubed chicken

Directions:

  • Spread out chips on microwave safe plate. Top with Daiya shreds.
  • Microwave until “cheese” is melted. I microwave mine for 20-30 seconds.
  • Chop chicken and put in a bowl. Pour in some bbq sauce and coat the chicken.
  • Spread the bbq chicken over the nachos. Serve with additional bbq sauce for dipping, if desired.
Preparing the nachos with LOTS of Daiya mozzarella shreds!

Preparing the nachos with LOTS of Daiya mozzarella shreds!

BBQ Chicken Nachos

BBQ Chicken Nachos

Alternatively, plain chicken and “cheese” nachos with Daiya cheddar shreds are yummy, too, and are served for lunch in our house quite a bit.

"Plain" Chicken and Daiya Cheddar Shreds Nachos.  And a jeweled three year old's hand.

“Plain” Chicken and Daiya Cheddar Shreds Nachos. And a jeweled three year old’s hand.

3. Chicken Quesadillas. Here’s a link that describes in more detail how I make these. You can be so creative with quesadillas. SG loves plain chicken and Daiya cheese quesadillas. Anything can be added to quesadillas: onions, peppers, ham, carrots, salsa, rice, beans…whatever you want! SG has quesadillas for lunch at least twice a week.

4. I use the chicken as I would at dinner. I buy these microwaveable tater tots and they are great for quick lunches. I can quickly serve her baked chicken, tater tots and some fruit for lunch. Easy peasy!

5. Chicken, Rice, & Beans. Occasionally, while the chicken is cooking, I’ll make a quick pot of black beans, Spanish style. (I promise I’ll share my recipe soon.) While the beans simmer away, the chicken bakes, and I throw some rice in my rice cooker. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really not. And I can eat leftovers for lunch for a few days. And that’s the best!

Here’s how I bake chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of boneless chicken breasts
  • Olive Oil or Olive Oil Spray (I use the spray)
  • Sea Salt
  • Adobo Seasoning

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Use a 9×9 pyrex & spray the bottom with the olive oil spray.
  • Put the chicken in the pyrex. Spray the top of the chicken. Season with salt and adobo. Flip chicken over. Spray again. Repeat seasoning.
  • Bake for 11 minutes. Turn the chicken. Bake for another 10-13 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked completely.
Olive Oil Spray

Olive Oil Spray

Raw chicken seasoned and ready to bake!

Raw chicken seasoned and ready to bake!

Baked and lightly seasoned chicken.  The adobo gives it just the right flavor.

Baked and lightly seasoned chicken. The adobo gives it just the right flavor.

Do you have any yummy and easy ideas for lunches? Please share. We love new recipes!

The Closest We Get To Take Out: “Flex” Meals

I like to call the nights when I skip the menu plan and whip up something easy and quick “Flex Meals.” Really, it’s my way of almost not cooking- it’s as close as we can get to the convenience of take out.

Because y’all know…we don’t eat out anymore as a family! If it weren’t for our date nights or girl’s night out, I’d never eat out. SG doesn’t.

So, here’s how I’m able to throw together a flex meal, without doing much work.

1.  I keep a stocked freezer that includes cooked and cubed chicken portioned in one cup portions and pre-cooked and seasoned ground chuck, portioned in about 1/4 pound bags. I also keep Hormel cubed ham in the freezer.

Bags of pre-cooked and seasoned chicken & ground chuck

Bags of pre-cooked and seasoned chicken & ground chuck

2.  I always keep Mission flour fajita sized tortillas and Mission tortilla chips in the pantry.

Tortillas

3. I keep frozen Daiya cheddar style shreds and Daiya mozzarella shreds in my freezer.

4. I keep frozen broccoli florets in the freezer- the steam in the bag kind.

5.  I keep Dole fruit in the little individual plastic containers stocked in the pantry.

These are the basics for my flex meals. With these, I can create:

  • Chicken & cheese nachos
  • Beef & cheese nachos
  • Ham & cheese nachos
  • Chicken & cheese quesadillas
  • Beef & cheese quesadillas
  • Ham & cheese quesadillas
  • Cheese quesadillas
  • Ham & cheese pizza tortillas

I can quickly and easily steam some broccoli in the bag and serve alongside any of the above. If I’m out of fresh fruit, then some drained Dole fruit will work.

These also make great lunches!

I put the ham and cheese in the tortilla frozen.  The skillet defrosts and heats it all.

I put the ham and cheese in the tortilla frozen. The skillet defrosts and heats it all.

I used leftover Mojo Pork Tenderloin & Daiya cheddar shreds in this quesadilla.

I used leftover Mojo Pork Tenderloin & Daiya cheddar shreds in this quesadilla.

Here’s how I pre-cook and stock my freezer with our favorite chicken recipe.  On the days I cook this chicken, the next day I always make a batch of this chicken and rice soup for the freezer.  I freeze it in portions big enough for me and SG to eat for lunch. Homemade frozen soup is another easy flex meal.

Here’s how I pre-cook and stock my freezer with ground chuck.

I know the days I’m knee deep in cooking, cubing, portioning, and freezing chicken or beef, I will appreciate it in the days to come.  And when I’m not feeling so hot or am just plain tired, I am so grateful for the meat I’ve cooked and frozen.

Do you have any easy “Flex Meals” to share?