You might remember that last month Whole Foods had a FANTASTIC sale on their organic whole chickens. The chickens were are sale for $1.69/lb – that was almost half off! I ended up with 5 whole chickens for just under $30. Now, I have made roasted chicken before… but that was about the extent of my cooking ability. So when my sister started to describe all of the different soups, stocks and broths that she was making from scratch, I decided to listen.
Keep on reading to learn how I am able to get 5 meals worth of meat from ONE chicken:
Meal 1: Roast Chicken – I based this recipe loosely on Jamie Oliver’s recipe – substituting some different veggies, seasonings, etc.
Pre-heat oven to 425F.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
McCormick Grinder: Italian Seasoning
Fully defrosted whole chicken
:: Prepare your veggies: rinse, peel and chop the vegetables. Put them in a 13×9 baking dish (I used a rectangular Pyrex dish). Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning (or substitute your own preferred seasoning).
:: Prepare your chicken: remove giblet packet and place in airtight container – keep in refrigerator until you go to make the stock. Rinse the chicken and season it with your salt, pepper, Italian seasoning. Prick the lemon all over with a fork – them microwave the lemon for 1 minute (mmmm… smells lemon-y!). Place lemon inside of chicken cavity and lay chicken breast side up on the bed of vegetables. Drizzle olive oil over chicken and veggies (you don’t need much – I used maybe1/8 of a cup or less).
:: Bake: Place dish in oven and cook until a meat thermometer in the chicken reads 180F. (Usually takes about 2.5 hours or so.)
Meal: Enjoy about half of the veggies along with one of the chicken breasts split between 2 people. If I don’t include potatoes in my vegetable mixture, I might add pasta or rice on the side.
After the meal: Remove both thighs, wings, and drumsticks. Put these in the fridge – they are MEAL #2. Serve the next night with a vegetable and starch of your choosing.
Preparing for stock and soup: I usually make my chicken stock and soup the day or two after the roast chicken meal. You will want to get most of the chicken meat off of the carcass. Put the carcass in a freezer bag and throw it in the fridge. Take the 2nd chicken breast and cut it up into chunks (for your soup). Put this in a container in the fridge. Also throw in the fridge the other half of the vegetables from your roast. These are already infused with flavor from the chicken – they taste delicious in soup!
Chicken Stock: You will use your chicken carcass to cook up a tasty homemade chicken stock. This stock can be used immediately for soup or you can freeze it. I used mine to make a chicken vegetable orzo soup (see below).
Celery (including leafy stalks)
2 medium (or 1 large) onions
1 garlic clove
:: Place chicken carcass in the bottom of a large stockpot (the one that I used is 8 oz).
:: Add all of your vegetables and giblets
:: Fill your pot with just enough water to cover the ingredients. Add your salt, pepper and other desired seasonings.
:: Bring to a rapid boil.
:: Cover, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 2 hours – or until you have roughly 1 quart of liquid left in the pot.
:: When your stock is finished, you will want to pour it through a sieve to catch all of the little gritty objects – chicken bones, for example. I bought my sieve from IKEA for about $5.
Eww! Chicken grit!
:: Lo and behold – you should be left with a pot of your very own homemade chicken stock! From here you could put it in containers and freeze it or jump right into a soup.
Meal 3, 4, 5: Chicken Vegetable Orzo Soup – this recipe always makes enough soup for us to eat some right off the stove for dinner and then freeze two more dinner sized portions for those days that we are just too tired to cook but want something hearty and homemade.
Vegetables from previously roasted chicken dinner
Cooked chicken breast (chunked) from previously roasted chicken dinner
Chicken Stock (not pictured)
Any seasoning you prefer (I add a little salt and pepper)
:: Throw all ingredients except for the Orzo into the stock pot containing the chicken stock. Simmer on low for about an hour.
:: Shortly before serving, add the Orzo (usually takes about 10 minutes to cook/become tender).
:: Enjoy a bowl of steaming soup!
:: Put the rest of the soup in freezer safe containers. I usually get enough soup to fill two dinner-sized containers. So that’s two meals that I will not have to cook (just reheat) in the future!
So that’s how I ended up with five meals from 1 chicken. I paid $6.02 for that chicken in particular, so that comes out to $1.20 per meal for organic chicken for our family of 2.5. ;)