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Confession time!! I don’t think I’ve used our oven since cooking Christmas dinner (yes, we are in April now 😜) and I’m totally ok with that!
One practice that Chris and I have done for years is weekly meal prep to stay on top of our health and fitness goals. Eating healthy + soy and dairy-free plus managing my weight is SO much easier when I have my food prepared.
For years when my schedule was super busy, I would spend a few hours 1 day a week cooking all my food at once and putting pre-portioned out meals into containers so I was prepared all week.
But now, I usually just cook large batches of protein and vegetables to keep on hand in the fridge so I can throw together a quick and delicious meal at anytime. Either meal prep option is great, you just have to find what method fits your lifestyle.
Having these prepped foods ready to go is especially helpful because I often practice carb cycling, meaning some days I eat low carb, higher protein and fat, and then other days I eat regular macros of higher carb, higher protein and lowerish fat.
BUT no matter what your eating preference is, meal prep of some sort is super beneficial because you can control what you eat and it saves you money because you aren’t eating out all of the time - bonus!!
Lately, I’ve been pretty much cooking all my protein such as chicken, pork tenderloin, and beef brisket in my 8 quart Instant Pot and all my veggies like zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots in the air fryer. Chris has even joined in on the new meal prep fun because it is so easy, delicious, and we are loving not having a ton of clean up after.
Here are 4 examples of meals I create with Instant Pot salsa shredded chicken:
The 2 meals below are examples of similar lower carb day meals I make often that are literally bursting with flavor and keep me full for several hours.
Meal 1 & 2: I add 5-6oz of salsa shredded chicken, air fried zucchini, cauliflower, and carrots, and top with walnuts, kalamata or black olives, jalapeños, and avocado occasionally sprinkled with “everything bagel” seasoning from either Trader Joe’s or Costco 🥑. I’m loving creating more flavorful meals because for a while, I was starting to get into a little food rut and no one likes eating boring bland tasting food.
The next two meals below are examples of meals I would eat on a regular macro day as they have more carbohydrates.
Meal 1: 5-6oz salsa shredded chicken, 1 cup of jasmine rice, coconut aminos (a delicious soy-free replacement for soy sauce), air fried carrots, zucchini, jalapeños, and 1/4 slice of avocado.
Meal 2: Sliced organic sourdough bread topped with mashed avocado, sliced tomatoes, salsa shredded chicken, and “everything bagel” seasoning. So freaking good!!
Quick tips when making your salsa shredded chicken
The salsa in this recipe is very subtle so your not stuck with eating mexican style meals such as tacos all week long if you don’t want to. I’ve actually made many different flavored dishes with this chicken such as soups like ramen, added it to my cauliflower gnocchi, thrown it together with veggies, and topped my avocado toast with it.
Another variation I’ve made if I don’t have salsa on hand is using marinara sauce instead and Chris has also used BBQ sauce. I would suggest with both of those substitutions that you add more sauce when cooking and a little additional water, maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup, so your Instant Pot doesn’t flash the burn warning at you.
Instant Pot Salsa Shredded Chicken:
This recipe is so easy! Find the full recipe at the bottom of the page below the photos!
Spray the Instant Pot lightly with avocado oil. Season both sides of your chicken breasts and add to your Instant Pot. Pour salsa over the chicken to cover most of the top of each breast. Put the lid, close the valve knob to the sealed position and cook on the pressure cook setting for 13 minutes.
Once your timer goes off, let the chicken sit for about 10 minutes before turning the valve to quick release. Add chicken to a plate to shred with 2 forks or this amazing claw shredder. I will usually knock off a little bit of the salsa back into the pot before I put it on the plate to shred but it’s not necessary.
Once shredded, add back into the Instant Pot, mix with juices, add additional salt and pepper if desired, then let marinate on warm setting with the lid closed for a while.
When ready, eat and enjoy or add to a dish to let cool then store it in the fridge for your weekly meal prep.
Depending on your salsa, there will most likely be extra liquid in the bottom of the pot. You can choose to discard this or store it with your chicken for extra flavor. Additionally, you can drain the excess liquid and add extra salsa before eating or storing if you would like even more salsa flavor. Get ready to enjoy some deliciousness!
Instant Pot Salsa Shredded Chicken Recipe
3-4 chicken breasts
1/2 - 3/4 cup salsa (enough to cover most of the top of each breast)
Salt and pepper
Taco seasoning to taste or I will use garlic, thyme, cayenne pepper, and any other seasonings that sound good
2 Tbsps or 1/4 cup of water if your salsa is thick and chunky
Spray the Instant Pot with a little avocado oil (we use a misto sprayer) to coat the bottom of the pot.
Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and taco seasoning blend or any other seasonings you desire. Then add chicken breasts to your Instant Pot.
Pour about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of salsa over the chicken to cover most of the top of each breast. If salsa is very chunky, add 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup water to your pot so you don’t set off the burn warning.
Put the lid on, close the valve knob to the sealed position. Hit the Pressure Cook button and set for 13 minutes.
Once the timer goes off, let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before setting valve to quick release to let the steam out.
Open the lid and remove the chicken onto a plate. Shred the chicken with 2 forks or this amazing claw shredder. Once shredded, add back into the Instant Pot, mix with juices, add additional salt and pepper if desired, then let marinate on warm setting for a while until your ready to eat it or put it in a dish to store in the fridge.
*** Depending on your salsa, there will most likely be extra liquid in the bottom of the pot. You can choose to discard this or store it with your chicken for extra flavor. Additionally, you can drain the excess liquid and add extra salsa before eating or storing if you would like even more salsa flavor.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Let me know if you have questions in the comments and tag me on Instagram @awakenednutrition if you give it a try!! I love hearing from you!
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