how & why I cook chicken for the week all at once

How and Why I cook chicken for the week all at once @createdbydiane

If you are never in a hurry,

have all the time in the world to get a great meal on the table for dinner each nigh,

eat great lunches everyday

and make all your kids favorites each day…

don’t bother reading this….you are free to go about living perfectly.

If you wish some of the above was happening…this post is for YOU!

I’ve been preparing chicken for the week this was for about a year now, before then I tried to plan meals and have a grasp on what I was making for dinners for the week, but I’ve never been a big planner. I like to eat what I’m in the mood for more than what I scheduled to make.

With the chicken cooked, I can now whip up many meals quickly.


What I use to cook chicken every week, cast iron grill pan, cast iron press, oil, silicone brush .jpg

With a few tools and some chicken you can have delicious chicken for the whole week prepared.

I heat my cast iron grill pan and cast iron press until it’s hot.

I have oil in a squeeze bottle as it’s easy to add just the right amount I need without over doing it with a large opening on most oil containers.

I use a silicone brush to spread the oil on the grill pan and in between the grooves, as well as the press, so the chicken won’t stick.


fillet chicken in half.jpg

I purchase a 6lb package of boneless skinless chicken breasts at a warehouse store at $1.97 a pound. We are a family of 4 and that amount of chicken is the amount we eat each week. If you family differs from the amount of chicken you will eat, adjust accordingly.

To cook all 6lbs of chicken on the size grill pan shown it takes me just under 45 minutes. While I have that going I usually cook a pound of pasta, rice or quinoa so that all week there is food to eat any time of the day, which is really helpful when everyones schedules don’t line up.

I filet each piece of chicken in half. It makes it easier to cook the chicken evenly as there is usually one thick end that would usually take a lot longer to cook if it’s left whole. I place my left hand on top of the chicken breast and with the knife in my right hand I slice the chicken breast through the middle, making two even pieces of chicken.

checking the temperature of chicken.jpg

I place two to three pieces of chicken onto the heated grill pan and turn it after a few minutes, then put the press on top and use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. I remove the chicken precisely when the temperature is 165 degrees. As this insures the chicken isn’t overcooked and won’t become dry.


cooking chicken for the week @createdbydiane.jpg

I place all the cooked chicken on a tray to cool before placing it into containers to go in the fridge.

Now what do I do with all this chicken.

1) I add it to salads for lunch, I slice and heat it for 30 seconds in the microwave to take the chill off of it from the fridge.

2) I make easy after school snacks for the kids, like chicken and cheese quesadillas or chicken, bean and cheese burritos.

3) Since my kids love mac and cheese, I find it’s great to add chicken to the top as they are heating it and hopefully through some veggies on top as well.

4) with the chicken portion of the meal all prepared, it only takes about 15 minutes to get some great meals on the table. Chicken isn’t the only thing that is great to make ahead so is rice and pasta….  Then chicken fried rice, orange chicken, chicken teriyaki along with delicious pasta dishes like alfredo with chicken, spicy chicken fra diavolo can be on the table in minutes. Soup is so easy with cooked chicken and adding chicken to salads makes them a more complete meal, for lunch or dinner. With some fresh rolls and your favorite sauce you can enjoy a delicious sandwich any time of day.

the possibilities are endless for you to have a great meal in minutes, here are a few more ideas:

Chicken Pot Pie, lemon Risotto with Chicken, BBQ Chicken Pasta, Chicken and Asparagus Pizza, Pasta Fagioli Soup, Green Chicken Chili, Buffalo Chicken Pasta, BBQ Chicken French Bread Pizza.

How to cook chicken for the week and save time each day making meals @createdbydiane


I package the chicken in plastic containers with no liquid. I wear food service gloves or use tongs each time I go into the container and when I’m packing it.  This helps the chicken to stay fresh. I place the chicken (6 lbs) in two containers normally. I put it in the fridge with it’s completely cooled. If you put it in warm, more condensation will form in the container and the liquid is what I find is what makes the chicken not stay fresh for the longest period of time. I have it last 7 days. There is no odor, or sliminess on the chicken.
In regards to food safety, I am only giving my opinion. You do what you feel is right. 


Another post all about CHICKEN is my post on Cooking Chicken for the week in 22 Minutes


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  1. 3


    Diane – this is brilliant! I used to poach chicken over the weekend for the week but would find that by the 4th day, something would be just “off” – I love the idea of grilling it so that everything is even and then just adding it as needed. I’ll have to give this a shot. Good tip re: the squeeze bottle for the oil :)

  2. 9


    I love having leftover chicken to add to different things. I usually just roast a few for dinner, and then the leftovers end up pulled, the bones boiling for stock. My husband, however, tells me I make too much stock. Heh.

    • 12

      Diane says

      It’s a cast iron grill pan and I like it much better than the regular grill pans I have as it holds the heat so well. It says Olive & Thyme on the bottom, my mom gave it to me years ago, not sure where she got it. I have seen other brands for about $15.I think in Home Goods/Ross/ TjMaxx.

  3. 13

    JulieA says

    I season my frozen or fresh chicken with salt & pepper; toss it all in the crock pot and let it cook all day. I freeze it whole/cubed/shredded if I am not going to be using it all in a couple of days. I save the broth for casseroles, pot pies, & soups. I also brown a few pounds of ground beef at a time for quick tacos/casseroles & so on. Another great time saver is to make two meatloaves/casseroles/pot pies…anything freezer safe. You are already cooking one and it doesn’t take much effort to throw another together for the freezer. I love the grill pan & want to give it a try! Thanks for the info!

  4. 14

    Shelley says

    My husband does this on Sundays for his lunch for the entire week. I think by the end of the week the chicken starts to smell and taste kind of funny. I’ve read that cooked chicken is only good up to 3 days in the fridge. Any thoughts??? I’ve wondered how I can prolong the refrigerator shelf life for him.

    • 15

      Diane says

      I package it in plastic containers with no liquid. The liquid in containers is how I have found it goes bad faster. If you think liquid will leach out, place each piece of chicken in wax paper and lay them on top of one another in the container. Be careful no to touch the chicken with your bare hands. I wear food service gloves or use tongs each time I go into the container and when I’m packing it. I place the chicken (6 lbs) in two containers normally. I put it in the fridge with it’s completely cooled. If you put it in warm, condensation will form in the container and the liquid (breads germs?) goes bad faster so that is how I think items go bad faster in the fridge. I have it last 7 days.There is no odor, or sliminess on the chicken. Hope that helps. If you still have problems, freeze 1/2 of the chicken when it’s completely cooled and take it out mid-week.

  5. 19


    i do this exact thing but sometimes i grill the chicken on the grill. nice smoky flavor. some of the things i eat for lunch are orzo pasta salad with some of the chicken chopped up in it, hummus and a pita with chicken or chicken salad. so much easier than trying to plan something every week for my work lunch….

  6. 20


    I LOVE this idea, Diane! I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now! With four kids… I feel like I live in the kitchen preparing healthy meals for them! This would definitely save some time… plus, I could probably get my husband to cook it all up for me at the beginning of the week! Thanks for sharing!

  7. 23

    Becca says

    I do this all the time, but season with garlic salt and pepper. My kids like to snack on it cold. I chop it and freeze it in single servings. This morning, I dumped a frozen baggie full into my son’s lunch box. By lunch time it was defrosted and ready to eat. Add fruit and crackers and it’s a meal.

  8. 24

    Amber says

    Hi! I love this awesome idea. I do not have a cast iron pan. Would you reccomend anything to cooking them perfectly?

    • 25

      Diane says

      I love my cast iron pans and use them as they retain the heat when cooking in batches like this, they don’t cool down each time a new batch of chicken is added. Certainly you can cook chicken on a grill pan, or skillet if you prefer.

  9. 28

    Jess says

    Hey I don’t know if it’s ever been suggested but in regards to the meal planning but not wanting to eat that dinner the night you planned it, I’m the same way but I found that if I just make a list of a bunch of meals highlight the few that need prep or use fresh produce or something leftover from the week before… etc. and I just pick one that morning/ night before. This way I get to meal plan AND eat what I’m in the mood for. Oh and of course… I hadn’t thought of prepping cooked chicken. The possibilities are now endless!

  10. 29

    Kim says


    I love this idea! Any reason for using the press though? I don’t have one, and I’m just wondering what the function is for using it.

    Thank you!


    • 30

      Diane says

      Once the press is hot it cooks the chicken from both sides, having the chicken cook quicker allows it to stays juicy. I’ve cooked it with or without the press, if I’m doing 6-8 lbs of chicken I use the press, it saves time.

  11. 32

    Layla says

    I love this idea and have often done the once a month cooking, however i need to lose my baby weight and it seems most diets have a consistency of chicken. Im wanting an answer in regards to food safety. I know you mentioned you keep chicken for 7 days and ideally this is what i am wanting to do, but when i checked the safety website it was saying that cooked poultry was only safe once cooked to be refrigerated for 3-4 days ?

    • 33

      Diane says

      I do this all the time with no trouble but everyone needs to do what they feel is good for yourself. I only give my opinion.

  12. 34

    Stacey says

    I work in food service, just want to comment that if you let it cool in room temperature it will grow bacteria. If your going to keep it in your fridge for a week you should put it on ice to cool it rapidly. The less time its in the temperature danger zone (40°-145°) the better, especially when you plan to eat some of it a week later.

    • 36

      Diane says

      Most of the time I don’t. When I put it in a recipe or on top of salad or such, I season it then. That way it’s not too overly salted when adding it to any dish.

  13. 37

    Kim says

    I did this during my daughters’ graduation week when we were crazy hectic, and it was such a lifesaver! Chili is a good make ahead too, as it can stand alone, be served over cornbread, used for chili dogs, taco salad, chili-Mac, Frito pie, etc.


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