Dinner Puzzle Pieces
My philosophy for make-aheads includes what I call Dinner Puzzle Pieces (although it applies to breakfast and lunch too 🙂 ), which refers to a group of ingredients I always like to have at the ready. I address my grocery shopping and pantry must-haves on this page but this takes it a step further to some semi-prepped items I always keep in the freezer or fridge.
My number one Dinner Puzzle Piece would be slow-cooker shredded chicken. I use this in probably a third of my recipes in heavy rotation. Every time I buy chicken breasts (hopefully on sale!) I set aside at least half a package (I usually buy in 5 lb increments) for shredded chicken.
This is good for an unbelievable number of recipes, including enchiladas, egg rolls, and lasagna, as well as my pride and joy, chicken pot pie. I freeze the shredded chicken in 2-cup portions in Ziploc bags.
I also like to have slow-cooker shredded pork on hand, for things like BBQ pork sandwiches and taquitos.
Filling for burritos
soup and sauces