Thrifty Thursday - One Chicken Three Meals

October 19, 2013

Let''s talk about making foods that work for more than one meal. The easiest way to do this is to start with a chicken. A whole chicken can be as inexpensive as 5 dollars, up to 15 for organic with all the bells and whistles. You choose which to buy, I will show you how to stretch it. 

For our family, I start with one of our own meat birds, about 4-5 pounds. Place the bird breast side down, in a roasting pan (or a 9 X 13 cake pan if you don't have a roaster). Rub it with a mixture of seasonings , add about 1/2 an inch of water and cover with lid or foil. Roast in oven at 300 degrees until thickest part of bird reads 165 degrees. Since your bird is cooking upside down, the breast will finally taste moist and flavorful. 

Serve this chicken cut from the bone. Add sides and  you have an inexpensive meal on a Sunday afternoon. As soon as you finish eating, take 5 minutes and pick all the meat off the carcass. Place bones in one bag (and freeze until you can deal with them), and meat into another. Yes, use all the dark and light meat. 

The next evening, use the meat to make Mexican Roll ups. Purists beware, this is neither authentic, nor officially of any nationality other than some vague reference to taco seasoning. It is, however,  filling and family friendly. 

When you have the time, place those bones back into the roasting pan and roast that carcass. Make flavorful broth that can be used to create a gravy, soup stock or simple stock for making rice the next time you feel so inspired. I would use the stock and make a chicken pot pie out of it. If you have enough meat left over, add that. Otherwise, it is just a chicken gravy and vegetable pot pie. Still tasty and the family never misses the meat. 

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Andie Mitchell's picture

Great tips, Amy! I love how versatile roasting a whole bird is. Making stock with the carcass is perhaps my favorite because it has lots of flavor.

Amy Jeanroy's picture

Thanks. I don't know what we would do without chicken. My husband says he can't believe how much milage we can get out of one bird. I think he might be making fun of me though.