Friday, September 12, 2008

One Chicken, Many Meals

The price of food is on a lot of people's minds. It's high. And now it's time to do some creative budgeting. SO to give you an easy way to stretch that grocery dollar, let's talk about chicken. Yes, chicken. Roasting a chicken for dinner is a really easy and comforting thing to do. There are seriously tons of interesting and tasty ways to roast a chicken and it really doesn't matter which way you do it.

I roasted mine with a handful of fresh parsley and a cut up lemon inside of it, after I sprinkled the cavity and under the skin with a combination of cracked black pepper and kosher salt. I then tucked the wings under the body, stuck it in a pan and placed it in a preheated 425 degree F. oven for an hour while I went off and wrote a paper. (I should indeed be writing 2 papers right now, but that's another story.) And here's my finished bird.

When I got home from school, the Brain had eaten his half the chicken and I sliced some off to eat that night. We will count this as meal 1. I then pulled any remaining meat off this carcass and made a light and delicious chicken salad. Again, any chicken salad will do, but I wanted to try a Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes that sounded interesting and that's the one I went for. It was pretty good and provided meals 2 through 6. The Brain didn't have any of the salad, and the amount of leftovers and meals you can make with leftovers will depend greatly on how many people are eating them.

Then I took the chicken carcass that had been picked clean of edible meat and threw it in a pot with some water, half an onion, a couple stalks of celery cut in 3 pieces each, a cut in quarters carrot and a handful of parsley. I let that boil for about 2 hours. Then I strained it and stuck it in a bowl in the fridge. When I got back from school, the grease from the chicken had coagulated on top. It was pretty gross. That grease gets thrown out. But now I had some golden chicken broth. Which I packaged up in my favorite ice cream container and stuck in the freezer for later.
I took some more of the yummy golden broth and heated it to boiling with a carrot, nicely chopped, a stalk of celery, nicely chopped, and about a cup of fine egg noodles. And voila! I have chicken soup. Perfect for a rainy afternoon like today! And that's meal 7 and probably 8 and 9 out of that one little chicken. I'm telling you chicken is a real money saver.

For more ideas on stretching a dollar, try checking out Mrs. W's Kitchen and The Cheap Chick.


Deborah said...

I'll take any way to stretch a dollar, and this really is a tasty way to do it!!

Amanda said...

Well done, Mary!

I do my carcass broth overnight in the crock pot; in the morning I strain out the bones & jiggly bits through a colander then through mesh back into the crock pot with any veggies I want for soup. (Yes, I leave in the fat... yummy, yummy fat.) By evening, I can just throw in some reserved cooked meat... voila! Dinner is served.

Thank you for the link, too!

Anonymous said...

Here's another tip. If'n you don't have time to do the whole roasting part of the program, get thee to Costco where a whole roasted chicken is right around $5-6. Proceed with the next steps. Makes EXCELLENT chicken and dumplings.

Bellini Valli said...

There is so much flavour in your own stock. Freeze all you can:D

Janna said...

Well done! Great pointers! I have family from Houston camping out at my house and lots of mouths to feed. That looks easy and inexpensive. :)

I will have to remember the chicken broth tips. It always seems silly to buy chicken broth when you can make it I guess.

the cheap chick said...

Why does the Brain not eat chicken salad? He is sooooo missing out on the yumminess.

glamah16 said...

Now thats how my mother and grandmother did it. The curried chicken salad sounds great.