Stories from Cook With Us

5 easy, healthy ways to eat chicken all week without getting sick of it

Emily Laurence

Emily LaurenceMarch 27, 2020

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Photo: Getty Images/Hinterhaus Productions; Graphic: W+G Creative

Want to get into a habit of meal prepping but don’t know where to start? We got you. Every week as part of Well+Good’s new Prep School series, a healthy eating expert will reveal a meal prep plan that makes eating healthy all week a cinch. This week, Fed & Fit creator Cassy Joy Garcia shares the easy, healthy staples she makes on Sunday for a whole week’s worth of ideas for what to do with them. The goal: not spending more than 10 minutes in the kitchen cooking the entire work week. Oh, and as a bonus: Every single meal is completely gluten-free.

Cassy Joy Garcia knows what it’s like for food to be a problem and a solution. In her early 20s, certain foods caused her joint pain, brain fog, fatigue, and anxiety. After nixing gluten from her diet and living a more Paleo-based lifestyle, she started to feel more energized and her pain decreased. Eating this way is what makes her personally feel best.

In the years since, Garcia has perfected not only crafting anti-inflammatory meals but also full-on meal prep. Her first book includes both a whole 28-day meal prep guide as well as 175 recipes. Her tried-and-true gluten-free staples: chicken, rice, roasted veggies, and hard boiled eggs. These four basic staples will be your go-tos for the upcoming week.

Keep reading for everything you need for a week’s worth of healthy chicken dinner ideas:

cooking with chicken grocery list
Graphic: W+G Creative

Ingredients to buy for the week

Produce

  • Vegetables of your choice to roast
  • 1 cucumber
  • Salad greens
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 avocado

Meat, dairy, and eggs:

  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Half-dozen eggs
  • Sour cream
  • Tzatziki

Pantry Goods

What you’ll need from your pantry/fridge:

What to cook on Sunday:

shredded chicken recipe
Photo: Cassy Joy Garcia

Recipe 1: Slow cooker shredded chicken

Meal prep tip: “Slow cooker shredded chicken is the perfect meal protein starting block,” Garcia says. “A whole world of possibilities can come from this simple dish.” Garcia recommends keeping the seasoning minimal so it can be used in a wider variety of ways during the week; you can add additional spices to each meal, if needed.

The below recipe makes six cups, which should be enough to get you through the week while still having enough to eat for dinner tonight, along with rice and roasted veggies. (You’ll be making those next.) When stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated, the leftovers are good for a week.

Yields 6 cups

Ingredients
3 lbs. air-chilled chicken breasts (equates to approximately 6 breasts)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2.5 cups chicken broth (may substitute with water)
2 Tbsp butter, divided (if making on the stovetop only)

If making in a slow cooker:
1. Dust the chicken with sea salt and black pepper. Lay all breasts in the slow cooker. Add the broth, place lid on top, and cook on medium for 6 to 8 hours.

2. Pull the chicken breasts from the liquid and place in a bowl. Using two forks or the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer, shred the chicken.

3. Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.

If making on the stovetop:
1. Dust the chicken breast with sea salt and black pepper.

2. Working in two batches or with two separate pans, melt one tablespoon of butter. Lay the chicken breasts in the hot pan and sear on one side for approximately 3 minutes. Flip the chicken breasts over to sear for an additional minute on the other side. Cover the breasts with half of the chicken broth, using water to make up any difference. Place lid on pan and let them simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat for the second batch.

3. Pull the chicken breasts from the liquid and place in a bowl. Using two forks or the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer, shred the chicken.

4. Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.

If making with an Instant Pot:
1. Add all of your ingredients to the Instant Pot. Secure and seal the lead, and select 15 minutes for manual cooking.

2. Once done cooking, perform a quick release of pressure.

3. Pull the chicken breasts from the liquid and place in a bowl. Using two forks or the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer, shred the chicken.

4. Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.

white rice
Photo: Roman Hasan

Recipe 2: White rice

Meal prep tip: Similarly as with the chicken, Garcia advises keeping the white rice on the basic side when meal prepping because it’s more versatile that way. “You can add flavor to match a specific dish later,” she says. “I recommend using jasmine rice because it is slightly more fragrant than plain white rice,” she adds. Enjoy one cup of the rice you’re making for dinner tonight and save the remaining servings in an air-tight container in the fridge to incorporate into meals throughout the week.

Yields 4 cups

Ingredients
2 cups jasmine rice
2 2/3 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp butter or ghee

1. Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and run underwater for about 1 minute, or until the water runs clear.

2. Add the rice, water, salt, and ghee to a small pot with a matching lid over high heat. Bring the rice to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.

3. After 20 minutes, remove the rice from heat and fluff with a fork.

Other meal prep staples to make ahead of time

Hard boiled eggs: While your chicken and rice are cooking, make a few hard boiled eggs to incorporate into meals later in the week and to have on hand for quick protein as snacks. You’ll need one to use in a dinner later in the week; save the extras for easy breakfasts or snacks.

Roasted veggies: Use the oven to roast five cups of assorted vegetables. Garcia’s favorite is sweet potatoes, but if you prefer something else, feel free to roast whatever you’ll be excited to eat later. Enjoy one cup of your veggies with your chicken and rice for dinner tonight.

Got all that? Here’s how to use those leftovers for delicious dinners all week long:

monday dinner: high-protein salad

Leftovers: 1 cup shredded chicken, 1 hard boiled egg (sliced), 1 cup roasted veggies

New ingredients: Salad greens, olive oil or go-to salad dressing

The key to making a salad that’s actually yummy and satiating (and not, you know, sad) is incorporating lots of good protein, which—oh, hello—you’ve meal prepped for in two different ways. Use salad greens as a base, add in a cup of shredded chicken and one of the hard boiled eggs, sliced and mixed in. For extra fiber, add a cup of roasted veggies, too. Top if off with your fave salad dressing or a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

tuesday dinner: chicken tacos

Leftovers: 1 cup shredded chicken, 1 cup rice, 1 cup roasted veggies

New ingredients: Taco shells, taco seasoning seasoning, salsa, sliced avocado, sour cream

For an easy taco night, quickly heat your leftover chicken on the stove, mixing in taco seasoning for extra flavor. Do the same with the rice, mixing in the seasoning and heating it on the stove. Add a cup of roasted veggies to the rice to up the fiber in your dinner. Heat up the taco shells and then fill your tacos with the chicken and the toppings of your choice such as sliced avocado, salsa, and sour cream. Serve with the rice on the side.

wednesday dinner: eggs, roasted veggies, and greens

Leftovers: 1 cup roasted veggies, 2 eggs (not hard boiled)

New ingredients: Salad greens, olive oil

Not only does this simple meal cover your protein and fiber bases, but the greens are linked to better sleep, too. Not bad for a dinner that will take you about four minutes to prep, right? Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil as a topping to all three to give some good healthy fats to your meal. If you like your food on the spicy side, amp up the flavor with a tablespoon of turmeric, paprika, or crushed red pepper.

thursday dinner: Greek bowl

Leftovers: 1 cup chicken, 1 cup rice

New ingredients: Salad greens, one cucumber, one tomato, 1/2 cup black olives, tzatziki

Tonight, we’re going Greek. One of the secrets to not making leftovers taste like, well, leftovers, is to incorporate some fresh ingredients in with the old. Wash and cut your salad greens and veggies, throwing some black olives in there. Then, add your leftover chicken. Top it all off with tzatziki for flavor and you’ll have a Mediterranean-inspired meal on the table in a matter of minutes.

Watch the below video to see why a registered dietitian is so into the Mediterranean diet:

friday dinner: chicken fried rice

Leftovers: 1 cup chicken, 1 cup rice, 1 cup roasted veggies

New ingredients: Gluten-free soy, ginger, or teriyaki sauce

Use the last bit of your chicken, rice, and veggies by stir-frying it all up. Add in your choice of Asian-inspired sauce for flavor. You’ll end your week with a healthy meal that’s cheaper than anything you’d get delivered.

Join Well+Good’s Cook With Us Facebook group for healthy meal ideas on a regular basis. And here are eight more gluten-free meal ideas that can all be made in the Instant Pot.

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