Saturday, November 5, 2016

Kitchen Challenge-the Humble Whole Chicken

 Jane at Crabapple Landing commented a few posts ago about how she loves a good challenge  in the grocery area and specifically mentioned a roast chicken and how many meals could be prepared form one.  Loving a good challenge myself, I thought I would take up this challenge and see what my results are. I wanted a blog post topic I could write ahead and schedule for Saturday, so this worked well for that. I like a roast chicken-so easy to prepare with a little seasoning, perhaps an onion sliced in big chunks and a glove of garlic stuck in the cavity while it roasts, and it really is that simple. Golden plump are usually in my local stores for around $8.00, but every so often there is a rock bottom sale and I can get for around $4.00. Even the rotisserie chickens are on special one night a week for $6.99 if I didn't even want to bother roasting. 


Juice could be used for gravy, but mine was saved for extra soup flavoring.
I roasted it up with a little butter spread on the skin, Morton's All purpose seasoning, and put an onion in the cavity. Wow, did it smell divine while it cooked.  I worked from home so that was the fragrance I had all day.  Here is my game plan for the chicken. For simplicity, I'm using the cost of each meal for chicken as $2.00 per meal, even though the roast chicken in meal one uses larger portions.

Meal one: Roasted chicken, reserving the bulk of the two breast, using the legs and wings as pieces, plus rice (making two meals worth), steamed carrots and biscuits. (Meal cost estimate: $4.00)

After meal one, once cool, set breasts aside and pick all the meat off the bones. Bring whole chicken. bones and all, to boil on stove in about 8 cups of water, with a large  carrot, celery stalk, and onion in big chunks, then simmer until vegetables are soft, and any remaining meat falls of the bone. Pick out and strain large vegetable chunks, fatty pieces, and bones to have a savory chicken stock. Now you will have two large breast, and at least a cup of chicken meat pieces, and 6-7 cups of chicken stock (as water will cook down). I'll dice up the chicken breasts and store separately.

Meal two: Chicken noodle soup, made with the stock, a diced onion, diced large carrot, and diced celery stock, the loose chicken from picking the bones, and 8 ounces of noodles of your choice. I like egg the best but usually just have boxes of pasta in our cupboard.  I didn't buy egg noodles so am using spiral rotini pasta. I will cook the whole box though and use half in the soup, and reserve the other half for another meal. Served with homemade bread from bread machine). Besides feeding the three of us on Sunday, this will yield at least two lunch size portions as leftovers.(Meal cost estimate: $3.90)

Meal Three: One of the chicken breasts will be used with rice, intentionally left over from the roast chicken meal, mixed vegetables, and two eggs for chicken fried rice. (Meal cost estimate: $3.40)

Meal Four: The last breast will be used with Alfredo sauce thinned out with a 3/4 cup of milk, the other have of the rotini pasta, frozen broccoli, more garlic and herbs, mixed together, topped lightly with  mozzarella, for a cheesy Italian pasta bake.Using frozen broccoli, adding the milk, and putting the cheese on top locks the moisture into the hot dish keeping everything creamy and not dry. (Meal cost estimate: $5.45) Plus 1-2 lunch leftovers.

$16.75 for four meals for three people, $1.40 a serving, not counting leftovers. Had I bought the chicken on sale, even less, though most of the other ingredients were pantry or fridge items bought at low costs and I used what I paid for them in my cost estimation. This was a good exercise so thanks Jane for the prompt. I wanted to find things that were labor and time saving, doing double duty in the kitchen. I'd love to hear how others take a humble item and stretch it into a variety of meals. Vegetarian or special diet ideas would really be appreciated

8 comments:

  1. Fantastic!!!

    How timely too. I just cooked up a whole chicken today, made broth from it as well, and am working on white chicken chili and a side of homemade biscuits right now.

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    1. We ate more from meal one so the soup fried rice, and hotdish will be a little light on chicken (DH really was hungry), but those meals had other protein like eggs,cheese, and sandwich meat, if wanted so the stretch was ok. I might proportion the meals differently though next chicken.

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  2. I'm doing roast chicken this Sunday but have two of the brutes as have a whole heap of family here due to newbie arrival or baby no name lol I always try to get as many meals out of mine as possible including noodle soups and broth based meals. Now Sam what are your biscuits? Over here biscuits are usually sweet.

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    1. Yes, when my son is home, I'm not getting four meal out of a chicken, maybe enough for a good soup broth, and am making lots of sides to fill the hungry young man. MAybe what I mean by biscuits is more like a dumpling, but baked into a bun shape. basically flour, salt, baking sooda savory spices like garlic, oregano, basil etc., mixed with vegetable oil and water to make a sticky, but firm dough. Sometimes I add grated cheese if I've got a little to use up. I drop spoonfuls on a greased baking sheet and bake at a 350 oven about 10 minute. Mine are a variation of what a lot of restaurant chains serve here like Ruby Tuesday's or Red Lobster. It's also very much like my no yeast pizza crust, but I use a little less water and oil, and knead the dough a bit into a ball and let it rest a bit before rolling out and pressing down flat, but essentially the same thing.

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  3. http://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2015/07/stretch-one-chicken-31-meals-1/

    I remembered reading about 'rubber chicken' and this blog post I found certainly stretches it!

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    1. Rubber-hat's a good adjective. I just saw chicken on sale for $.78 a pound, bought in two. I might snag a couple as I think that would end up being about $5 per chicken, a considerable savings.

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  4. Hey, great post, so glad to be the source of your inspiration! I tend to cut up all remaining chicken after first roast chicken meal and I might crisp up some of the strips to add to a meal-size salad. Then we might make fajitas, and chicken fried rice. This way the less-liked parts of the chicken (legs) get used up too.

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    1. Using the remnants as an ingredient in future meals sure does stretch the budget. Funny thought, in our house, the chicken legs, thighs, and wings are the most preferred for just eating as straight up chicken. I buy leg's and leg pieces regularly, especially in the summer for grilling. I'll throw in the slow cooker to cook for the most part, then finish on the grill for the good roast flavor.

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