Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

I haven’t made this recipe in a while, and I really don’t know why.

This Spicy Shredded BBQ Chicken is great.  And it’s a Freezer Crock Pot meal, so you store them in the freezer, and then on the day you want to eat it, you just pull the bag out of the freezer and dump it into the crock pot.

A bit of work to shred it, but after that, you’re done!

And there’s leftovers, too.  Can’t beat that!

This recipe makes two bags, but you easily can double or triple it and fill up your freezer.

But remember, it IS spicy.  If you’re looking for a more mild version, go easy on the chili powder and consider using fewer green chilies per bag (the recipe calls for 2 oz) or splitting the 4 oz can between 4 bags instead of 2.

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Here’s what I love about this (besides the ease of cooking and the leftovers):  you just dump all the ingredients in a bag.

That’s it.

The prep is literally this:  dump everything in the bag.

Sweeeeeeeet.

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Make sure you write your instructions on your freezer bags first, before you fill them.

Then prop up the bags on the counter by folding the edges over themselves to keep it open.

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Okay, okay…. there is ONE step before the dumping.

You do have to dice up the onions and garlic.

I use a garlic press and squeeze those babies right in the bag.

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

See?

Chicken in the bottom and everything else piled in on top.  You may have to cut one chicken thigh in half if you have an uneven amount in your package.

And I guess you could – theoretically – measure out everything, but when it comes to the tomato sauce and chilies, I just go ahead and dump or scoop what looks like half the can into each bag.  It’s close enough.

After that, the easiest way to mix it up is to massage the bag gently with your fingers for a minute.

Then you’ll want to squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag.

Lay each bag flat in the freezer on a tray or large box or anything that will allow it to freeze flat.  Smooth flat any lumpy sections that might be sticking up.

Check after a couple of hours.  Once frozen solid, the bags can be stacked or arranged on a shelf in an upright position.

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

When you take the bag out of the freezer, run it under the cold water in the sink for one minute to break up any large chunks – making sure the bag is still sealed and no water gets inside.

Then dump it in the crock pot.  Cover and cook.

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

You can flip the chicken over a few times and stir it, if you like.

Or you can just leave it and let it cook.  It doesn’t need stirring.  But I compulsively check on crock pot stuff if I’m home when it’s cooking.  Especially if it smells good.  ;)

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Once it’s cooked, remove the chicken to a bowl or plate and shred it with two forks.

As you work, add the shredded chicken back to the pot.

It should shred easily, and it’s best to have it shredded finely so that the sauce can cling to all the tiny moist pieces, but even if you’re in a super hurry, you can still mush it up pretty quickly.

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Doesn’t that look good?  And it’s not even mixed in yet!

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Stir the shredded chicken back into the sauce and set the crock pot to the “stay warm” setting until you’re ready to serve it.

And there are so many ways to serve it.  I sometimes serve it by itself with rice on the side, or you could put it on the rice.  You can put it on a salad, in a taco, on some nachos, or – like in the photo at the top of the page – in a hamburger bun.

If you put it in a bun, you’ll want to toast the inside of the bun to help hold in all the juicy goodness.  Maybe even top it with a little cole slaw.

From one bag, we made a dinner of sloppy joes (in the hamburger bun I mentioned), and then the next day, I constructed some taquitos with the leftovers, pictured below.  I put a little chicken and a little cheese in a 6-inch tortilla, rolled up 15 of them and put them in a 13-by-9-inch dish with some nonstick spray.  Then I baked them at 375°F for about 20 minutes and we dunked them in a little dish of sour cream to eat.  My kids devoured them.

(Oh… and I turned on the broiler for a minute and walked away.  Don’t do that.  Don’t ever walk away from an active broiler… just sayin’)

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Here’s the recipe:

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Ingredients:

2 to 3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 sweet onion, diced
3 to 4 garlic gloves, diced or pressed
8 oz. can tomato sauce
4 oz. can diced green chilies, drained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dry powdered mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Label two gallon-sized freezer plastic bags with the instructions:  Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken.  Cook on low 5-6 hours (or high 3-4 hours).  Remove chicken, shred, return to sauce, stir, serve.

Evenly distribute all of the ingredients between both bags; for example half the chicken (even if you have to cut one thigh in half), 4 oz. of tomato sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar, et cetera, in each.

Gently massage the bag to mix the ingredients and press out as much air as you can before sealing.  Lay the bags flat in the freezer, on a box or tray, and allow to freeze solid.  Then you can stack them or store them upright until ready to use.

When ready to eat, dump the contents of the bag into a crock pot.  You can run the closed plastic bag under cool water in the sink for a few minutes to make it easier to break it up.  Put the lid on the crock pot and cook for 5 to 6 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high.

Remove the chicken to a plate or bowl and shred it with two forks.  Allow it to cool first, if you need to.  Return the shredded chicken to the crock pot and stir well.  Serve or put on the “keep warm” setting until ready to eat.

Serving suggestions: over rice, inside hamburger buns, inside tacos or burritos, on a salad, or all by itself.

This recipe makes two bags/dinners.  Each bag serves 6 to 8 people.

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To print the PDF version of the recipe, click here:

Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal

Happy Eating!

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Easy Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

This is one of my go-to recipes when I want something easy to make that my kids will eat.

I know it may seem strange, but my girls have always eaten this, ever since they started on solid foods, and even though it has spinach in it.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always served spinach, but my kids like it.  Of course, they like it best smothered in Alfredo sauce.

So I’m advocating this recipe as not only “easy,” but also “kid-friendly.”

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Anyway, the recipe can be altered to your tastes.  For example, I tend to change up which Alfredo sauce I buy.  Depends on what’s on sale.  :)

And I always make this after I’ve made chicken of some kind.  The chicken seen here is shredded chicken thighs that were “grilled” on the stove top the night before.  You can use white or dark meat, or both. Just make sure it’s seasoned.  Plain chicken is sooooo boring.  To me, at least.  So make your chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, or whatever you normally use.

I like to shred it by pulling it apart with my fingers (which is the fastest method I’ve found) the night that it’s cooked.  That way I can just pull the shredded meat out of the fridge when I’m ready to make this.

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

And when it comes to the spinach, I have no idea how much you would use if you’re using fresh.  I’ve always used frozen for this, because I always have frozen spinach on hand.

Here I used the steam-in-the-bag spinach from Target, because that’s what was the cheapest when I went shopping, but I usually stock up on the boxes (that are the same size:  10 oz.) when they’re on sale.

Either way, make sure you drain the spinach really, really well.  Spinach holds a lot of water and that water will make your dish far too soggy and keep the sauce from sticking to the pasta.

To drain the spinach, I usually press it into a mesh colander with a fork until no more water drips out.

And I suggest mixing in the spinach before stirring in the chicken or noodles, to make sure there are no dense clumps of spinach hiding in your finished meal.

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

And that photo is just a close up to show you what I used this time:  Roasted Garlic Parmesan Alfredo.  But any type of Alfredo will work.  Could even make your own Parmesan white sauce instead.

Also, taste it before serving, because, if you’re like me, you may want to mix in a little extra pepper or garlic powder if your chicken wasn’t seasoned enough.  I like my spices to be noticeable.  :)

Easy Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Easy Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Ingredients:

3 cups penne pasta
2 cups shredded chicken
10 oz. chopped frozen spinach
2 jars (16 oz. each) Alfredo Sauce (I used Roasted Garlic Parmesan Alfredo)

Cook the pasta and the spinach (separately) according to the directions on the package.

Drain all water from the spinach, through a mesh colander or towel, or your sauce will be too wet.

Pour the sauce into a very large saucepan.  Stir in spinach, combining well.  Then stir in chicken and cooked pasta.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

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And here is the FREE printable PDF:  Easy Spinach Alfredo with Chicken

Or, you can Pin this photo:

Spinach Alfredo with Chicken Recipe

Enjoy!

And I’m curious:  do your kids like spinach?

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