One Chicken, Many Meals
|October 19, 2011||Posted by carmen under Budget, Time Management|
This post #4 of the Budgeting for Real Food series. Don’t forget to subscribe by RSS feed or email so you don’t miss out on future posts.
How many meals can a family of 6 get from one chicken?
In the past, I would have said that one chicken would feed a family of 6 for just one meal. My family has definitely devoured an entire chicken in one seating on many occasions, even before there were 6 of us. But finishing a whole chicken in a single meal, especially if you’re paying big bucks for pasture raised and fresh from the family farm chicken, is not wise for a family on a tight food budget. If you’re spending more money to buy high quality food, learning ways to make the most of that pricey food is a good idea. I have found that I am able to “stretch” my chicken by making it last for several meals. Amazingly, despite the fact that there are some big appetites to feed in my house, I can usually stretch one chicken out for three meals.
Here’s how I do it:
Meal 1: Roast the chicken and make a delicious gravy with the pan drippings. Serve 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 legs, and 1 breast with mounds of roasted vegetables like potatoes, onions, carrots, asparagus, winter squash, summer squash…whatever is available. The rich gravy goes on the meat and the roasted veggies. Serve with a tossed salad.
Meal 2: Dice up the 2nd breast and use to make chicken and rice casserole, chicken and veggie stir fry, chicken spaghetti or any similar dish.
Meal 3: Make a wonderfully nourishing and delicious bone broth with the carcass, and use the broth as a rich base for a soup. Add leftover roasted vegetables to the chicken broth and puree until smooth for an absolutely divine, creamy, luxurious soup. Add leftover chicken and rice to the broth for a super quick soup. You can be so creative with soups. It’s also a great way to use up produce that might be reaching it’s end in your refrigerator. Serve the soup with salad and a good bread and call it a meal.
Cooking an Extra Chicken
I like to have leftover meat in my refrigerator for snacks and quick lunches. I also like to keep my freezer stocked with plenty of homemade chicken stock, so often I will roast 2 chickens instead of one. As I’m continuing to try to reduce our food spending, I am making it a goal to only do this twice a month. When I cook the extra chicken, I keep some in the refrigerator for make chicken salad or to add on top of a tossed salad, and then I chop and freeze the rest of it for use later. It’s great to have cooked, diced meat in the freezer for when I want to make a big pot of chicken soup…our family favorite.
How about you? What creative ways do you use to make sure you get the most from your food?