A Week’s Cascading Meal Prep: Chicken Edition

‘Cascading meal prep,’ as termed by one of our FHK Chefs, allows us to reuse ingredients throughout the week in an accessible meal prep strategy. On Monday, we’ll take a Whole Chicken and very gently poach it with aromatics for a dish of wholesome broth with rice, perhaps a fried local egg, and some pickles or raw vegetables to keep it easy. The real prize from this dish is the gallon of chicken stock and the whole poached chicken it yields, which we’ll reserve. On Tuesday we’ll pick that chicken and use half to make chicken enchiladas, moistened with the reserved broth. On Wednesday we keep it simple by making some chicken salad and having sandwiches. On Thursday we’ll leverage our broth and make a seasonal velouté for a soup like potato velouté or even an extra-rich cream of broccoli. Finally, on Friday, we’ll take the last of that chicken, make an exceptional tagliatelle pasta with our eggs, and serve it with some last-of-season tomatoes in a Chicken Cacciatore. Et voila, that’s an example of a week of cascading meal prep.

Day 1: Whole Chicken Broth


Step 1 – Place Whole Chicken in stockpot. Fill with cold water at least to cover chicken, or to first rivet on the pot. Add salt AND European aromatics like mirepoix, garlic, parsley, bay, thyme, black pepper, etc., OR Asian aromatics like scallion, ginger, lemongrass, star anise, etc., OR Latin aromatics like tomato, onion, garlic, bay, chiles, etc. etc. This can be elaborated on in any way as desired to influence the downstream meals we will make with this.

Step 2 – Bring the pot containing the chicken to a bare simmer. Hold at this temperature for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, and cover the pot. Allow the temperature to equalize for another 10 minutes and check the temperature of the chicken. It should register at least 165F. This process guarantees a perfectly poached bird, as opposed to overcooked chicken meat resulting from a more typical stockmaking process. Remove the chicken to a carving board and, once cool enough to handle, carve the chicken, picking all desired meat from the carcass.

Step 3 – Return the chicken carcass to the stockpot and refill pot with cold water to cover, or to first rivet. Return pot to a bare simmer and hold at temp for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight, skimming any fat and scum as it surfaces. Strain broth and chill.

Protip: It’s also a nice step, but more time intensive, to allow the resulting broth to reduce by half after it’s been strained. This is handy for storage as well as intensity of flavor.

Day 2: Enchiladas Suizas


  • Shredded chicken
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 lb tomatillos (about 8), husked
  • Seasonal Veggies of choice i.e. spinach (1 bunch , washed and chopped)
  • 2 serrano chiles or jalapeños
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Step 1 – Place tomatillos and chiles in a saucepan; cover with water; boil over medium-high heat 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Transfer to a blender; add remaining 2 cloves garlic and cilantro; blend until smooth, adding liquid if necessary. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute spinach just until wilted (or veggies of choice), then add tomatillo-chile puree; reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until sauce reduces to about 1 cup. Reduce heat, add remaining 1 teaspoon salt and sour cream. Stir about 1 minute. Set aside.

Step 2 – Heat oven to 350°F. Heat a skillet over medium heat; warm tortillas 10 seconds per side. Divide shredded chicken evenly among tortillas; roll up. Spread 1/3 sauce in a 9″ baking dish. Arrange enchiladas in 1 layer, seam side down. Cover with rest of sauce; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until cheese starts to brown. Serve immediately.

Day 3: Warm Chicken Salad with Peppers, Pears & Toasted Pine Nuts


  • Leftover chicken, wrapped in foil and re-warmed at 350
  • 1 bunch of arugula, washed and torn
  • 2 pears, sliced paper thin
  • 4-6 small sweet peppers, slivered
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 Tbs. minced rosemary
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 c. olive oil

Step 1 – Combine chicken, arugula, peppers, pears and pine nuts in a large bowl.  Place rosemary, shallots, lemon juice, sherry vinegar & mustard in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in olive oil until emulsified. Add dressing to salad and toss until well combined.  Serve at once.

Day 4: Potato Velouté


  • 1 ea. White Onion, small dice
  • 1 tsp Garlic, mince
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 leaf bay laurel
  • 200 g Potato, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1000 g Chicken Stock
  • 80 g Heavy Cream
  • Lemon Juice To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste

Step 1 – Place a saucepan on medium to low heat with extra virgin olive oil and add onions, garlic, and thyme and season. Cook until onion is soft and translucent (6–8 minutes). Add the potatoes to the pan and sweat for a further 2 minutes.

Step 2 – Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Season again then lower the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the potato is very soft. Add a splash of cream and bring the soup back to a simmer.  Blend to a smooth puree, pass through a sieve, and serve immediately.

Day 5: Chicken Cacciatore

This version of Chicken Cacciatore is geared for the home cook and is a touch removed from tradition, but works exceptionally well for the time-pressed cook.

Step 1 – Sauté mirepoix, cremini mushrooms, and garlic in olive oil, in a wide saucepan until they begin to color. Deglaze with red wine.

Step 2 – Add chopped tomatoes and chicken stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Nestle poached chicken into the sauce, add chopped parsley, pepper flake, and rosemary if desired, and toss to incorporate.

Step 3 – Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Adjust acidity to taste with lemon juice or wine vinegar. Garnish with additional parsley and Parmigiano. Serve tossed with your pasta of choice or over rice.

Posted in Main Dishes, Sandwiches, Soups

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