Chicken Thigh Meal Prep
Last week’s blog post, showed you how we prepared our Dill Glazed Salmon; this week we want to show you our Cajun Shredded Chicken Thigh meal prep. Throughout the week you will see the steps and procedures we take to ensure we are delivering a quality product every week.
Quality Assurance for Chicken Thigh Meal Prep Ingredients
The first step in delivering a high-quality product begins with the quality assurance of our ingredients. When the chicken thigh is delivered we make sure it is under 39 degrees to ensure it has been properly stored. If the chicken is not stored at the right temperature, it will become inedible. We will not accept deliveries if we feel it is not in our customer’s best interest.
Next, we individually check our vegetables to ensure they have the proper texture and are in the right condition to provide the most flavor. Each vegetable has its checks, but we take the time to check every individual piece because we do not want even one client to have a bad experience.
After that, all of the product is stored in our fridges. How we store our products is very important. As such, we make sure to separate proteins, starches, vegetables, and dairy products to avoid cross-contamination. Our standard operating procedures are in place for a reason. These are the precautionary steps we take to avoid any harm to our employees or clients.
Finally, we check all of our dairy products. As we all know, dairy products tend to expire quickly. We double-check all of our dairy products’ expiration dates individually. This ensures our products will last until the expiration date on our meals.
Preparation Day for Cajun Shredded Chicken Thigh
For our second day of chicken thigh meal prep, we prepare our vegetables and chicken thigh. Along with the vegetables and chicken thigh, we will also make our in-house cajun seasoning, prepare our cajun pickles, and prepare our dirty rice.
First, we start with roasting our tomatoes. We roast our tomatoes to boost the flavor and provide a better texture to the meal. The roasted tomatoes are sweeter because when they are roasted it draws out the natural sugars in the tomato. While we are preparing the tomatoes we are also beginning the preparation of our asparagus. Asparagus needs to be cut correctly to ensure you are not getting the tough, chewy pieces. Our team takes care to use the best culinary practices to provide consistently high-quality products. The consistency in the quality of our meals will make it easier for our clients to rely on a meal that tastes good, therefore keeping them on track to their goals.
Cajun Seasoning, Dirty Rice, and Pickled Pepper Preparation
Next, we begin making the cajun seasoning that we will use to marinate the chicken. Our in-house cajun seasoning consists of chili powder, dried thyme, cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, dried oregano, onion powder, paprika, and smoked paprika. Our experienced culinary team has tested and perfected this recipe to provide our customers with a deliciously, healthy meals.
Along with the Cajun Shredded chicken, we will serve cajun pickled peppers along with our dirty rice. The only preparation for the dirty rice will be to soak the brown and wild rice on Tuesday. We begin preparation by using our state-of-the-art pepper slicer for pickled peppers. Using this machine allows us to slice every pepper to the same size. To ensure that all of our veggies cook evenly and taste better, the veggies must be cut to the same size. In addition to that, we can also portion out the peppers properly so that the macros stay intact.
Chicken Thigh Preparation
The final step in our prep day is the preparation of the chicken thigh. Using our rational ovens, we first cook the chicken thigh for 75 minutes at 350 degrees. Our chefs then shred the chicken after the juices have been drained. We then season the shredded chicken with our in-house cajun seasoning. Next, our team slowly adds the seasoning until our chefs feel it is at an optimal level of taste. Providing healthy meals does not mean sacrificing flavor; and when it comes to eating healthy, we believe it is pointless if you do not enjoy it. Finally, the seasoned chicken thigh is stored in the fridge until it is plated and packaged.
We begin Wednesday by sautéing our vegetables. This dish includes onions, asparagus, zucchini, and roasted cherry tomatoes. For our team to ensure the quality of the vegetables, we make small test batches until we find an acceptable consistency and flavor. The vegetables are then transferred directly into our custom-built blast chiller. The blast chiller then brings the temperature down from 165 degrees to 38 degrees in a matter of 30 minutes. Once the temperature is correct they are once again directly transferred to our fridges until they are ready to be plated. The timing of the transfer of the vegetables is crucial to our process. We need our meal preps to last a week, so the vegetables need to stay as fresh as possible until they are packaged.
Making Our Dirty Rice
One of our most liked side dishes with our meal preps is our dirty rice. The dirty rice recipe contains a mix of brown and wild rice. We begin by laying down a layer of pickled onions and salt. The next step is pouring each type of rice onto its tray. We then add chicken stock to the tray for added flavor and cover it with saran wrap and foil. The rice is then loaded onto our speed racks and placed inside the rational ovens. Our rational ovens are large enough to fit entire racks of food in them. To give a visual each speed rack hold 20 batches of food on them. We can fit 2 of those racks in each oven for a total of 40 batches at once! These ovens are what allow us to be so productive throughout the week.
Once the rice is done cooking the trays are removed from the speed racks, the tray is flipped over, and our team carefully spreads out the rice to cool. The culinary team takes care to spread the rice out and not crush it so the rice maintains a nice appearance. Once cooled, the rice is then loaded back onto the speed racks and put into the fridges until they are ready to be plated.
Final Day of Chicken Thigh Meal Prep
Our final day of the cajun shredded chicken thigh meal prep is when we sauté the dirty rice and package and plate everything. To recap, on Monday we received and checked all of the products to ensure they were in acceptable condition for our clients. On Tuesday, we did our first steps for preparing our vegetables, dirty rice, cajun seasoning, and pickled peppers. The chicken thigh was cooked, shredded, and seasoned with our cajun seasoning as well. Wednesday was all about sautéing our vegetables and doing the preliminary cooking for the dirty rice.
Plating and Packaging Process
The first step in finalizing Cajun Shredded Chicken Thigh is first sautéing the dirty rice. The ingredients in the dirty rice include garlic, red peppers, brown rice, wild rice, Italian seasoning, black-eyed peas, and scallions. Our team first quickly sautés the garlic and peppers over medium heat for 10-20 seconds. This will provide a nice sweet flavor to the rice. Next, the brown rice, wild rice, and dried spices are mixed in for about 30-40 seconds. Keep in mind the rice was already cooked in our rational ovens on Wednesday. Lastly, the black-eyed peas and scallions are added in for another boost of flavor to the dirty rice. Our clients love this recipe so much because of all of the flavors it consistently provides.
Now for the plating and packaging of the meals. Our culinary team works together in an assembly line-like fashion to plate our meals. At the beginning of the line the team packs in the cup of the pickled peppers. Second, to be plated is the dirty rice. The team is sure to plate the correct amount of rice into the meals as this will have an impact on the macros we are giving to our clients. The last two ingredients to be plated are the chicken thigh and the sautéd vegetables.
Once everything is plated we now use our advanced packaging machine to seal the meals. This machine allows us to take the amount of oxygen in the meals from 100% down to a level that will allow them to stay fresh for about 7 days. We use state-of-the-art technology to accomplish this goal to ensure our clients eat fresh, healthy meals.
Go to our Fitness Calculator today and input your physical information so that we can get you a meal plan to help you reach your goals!! Use code “1st” for 50% off your first order!!