Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Using 1 Organic Chicken for 3 meals. Part 1

I just recently started buying free range/organic chickens and at almost $10-$13 dollars for one whole chicken. I had to figure out a way to justify the cost and get more bang for my buck, so I had to get creative with my menu planning, which is always fun! I have always used whole chickens for more than one meal, but now I have figured out a way to use one small chicken in 3 meals that cost less than $3.00 -$5.00 per meal. Everything else I use with these meals is very inexpensive and items I usually have on hand, so the cost is very minimal.

If you seen my menu plan earlier this week, you would have noticed that I had chicken for a few meals. I only buy 2 whole organic chickens a month, so it works out to having one every other week. The other weeks I cook beef in a similar way, but that will be another post. Other meals using chicken in my meal plan that aren't mentioned in this post are using frozen chicken breasts. I use Trader Joe's and buy them because they are hormone/anti biotic free.

This is what I plan on doing with one of the 5lb Organic Whole Chickens:(This weeks menu)

  • 1st meal:
Dinner for Thursday: Roasted chicken w/HM gravy, brown rice,& organic frozen green beans:
Put whole chicken, seasoned with Sea Salt, Black Pepper, poultry seasoning, onion, and garlic in the oven and roast. (Do not add liquid, it will make its own.) When its done, remove the whole chicken from the pan, strain the juices and put to the side. Slice off some of the meat for my family tonight(we are really good about portion control and making sure that everyone gets enough but without waste) , and put the rest in the fridge, divided into two portions (I have a family of 5 and there is always enough leftover). Make a roux with butter and flour and add the chicken broth from the pan and make a gravy. Serve with the brown rice and green beans.

  • 2nd Meal:
Lunch for Friday: Chicken Tacos/Fajitas:
This meal is really simple. All I do is take some salsa or taco seasoning and warm up the chicken with a little but of water. Add to corn or flour tortillas and serve with sour cream and cheese. This meal uses less chicken because its only for me, my 9 yr old, a preschooler and a toddler.

  • 3rd Meal:
Dinner for Saturday: HM Chicken Soup, HM dinner rolls.
We prefer to have our soup with more veggies and broth than meat, so the rest of the chicken is just enough for an easy meal on Saturday night! Just what I am looking forward to after a long week. So what I have done that I didn't mention before is to boil the chicken carcass on Friday. I boil mine almost all day to make a very rich stock. If you save your veggie scraps all week in a freezer bag in the freezer, you can add them in to make a richer stock also. Once your stock has cooked for a long time and is finally done, stick it in the fridge(after straining) and leave overnight so you can just take off the fat on the top that has risen and hardened. You can just add your leftover stock, chicken and whatever else you have on hand. I usually add some organic carrots and noodles (which are really inexpensive btw) but you can also add potatoes, peas, rice or whatever you have! The best part? Your crock pot! Use it for this! What's better than having your dinner cooking already on a lazy Saturday afternoon??

Each of these meals was made with minimal ingredients and made from scratch. They each were around $5.00 to make for a family of 5. So for around a $1.00 per person or less, I am able to feed my family healthy meals from one chicken :) I will make my other chicken in 2 weeks and will use the chicken in a different way, but for 3 meals again.

What do you do with a whole chicken and are you using it for more than one meal? Do you buy organic meat?


  1. I'm wondering how many pounds that chicken was? My kids can demolish a grocery store fryer but a Costco one will last us a few meals.

    I just can't seem to find reasonably priced organic meat anywhere. My SIL said Costco carried it but I haven't be able to find any. Guess I need to drive out to Trader Joe's again & actually crunch the numbers.

    Great ideas for stretching the chicken!

  2. @Daisy: The chicken is 5lbs. It is probably smaller than a Costco one. For one meal, my hubby will eat a little of the breast and both wings. Big A will eat both drumsticks and the other two littles eat a small amount of the breast (really I only eat a small amount also..maybe about 4 ounces total? In our tacos we don't fill them up with meat either and the soup will have a small amount, but mostly veggies and noodles (getting the nutrition from the broth).
    How big are your Costco birds?

  3. Spot on! In the old days, they might not have had fajitas, but the whole chicken would be used for sure!


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