Thrifty Eating: One Chicken = 4 Meals
If you’re looking to stretch your grocery budget, the idea of buying an entire chicken for one or two people might seem extremely out of budget. However, roasting up a larger cut of meat on the weekend can actually ensure quick, delicious dining during the rest of week. And when you break down the cost per meal, you’ll be surprised at the savings you’ll find.
Day 1: Roast Chicken
Head over to your grocery store and take a look around. While free-range or organic chickens will have a better flavor, you’ll still get a great roast out of the cheaper range of whole chickens. Keep an eye out for coupons and specials. Whole chickens freeze well for use later on.
- Prep & Roast Your Chicken. There are several ways to go when you’re prepping your chicken for roasting. Don’t complicate it! Stick with an easy recipe which will give you that crispy skin and juicy bird you’re dreaming of. For that, we like the New York Time’s recipe. Top tip: don’t skimp on the seasoning — it really does make a difference.
- Make Your Side Dishes. Fortunately, roasting a chicken gives you a lot of time to make your side dishes. Want to make it easy? Just steam some rice and vegetables. You can also go the decadent route with some creamy, crispy Dauphinoise potatoes (https://youtu.be/sX1eGd9BNY4). If you’re looking for ideas, turn to our friends over at Serious Eats. They’ve got side dishes a-go-go for any style of chicken you’re cooking. http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/03/what-to-eat-with-chicken-best-side-dishes-menu-entertaining.html
Day 1 (Part 2): Make Some Stock
This is a step that many people skip, but that’s a mistake. Making your own stock is an easy way to get the most out of your chicken, and it’s also healthier than a bouillon cube or canned. Strip the chicken meat off of the carcass and store in a large plastic bag or storage container. Take the bones, wings and any uneaten bits and add to a large pot or slow cooker with the following:
- 1 onion cut in quarters (you can leave the skins on)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2-3 carrots, chopped (you don’t need to peel)
- 1-2 sticks of celery, chopped
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns or several healthy grinds of black pepper
Put in slow cooker or large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a slow simmer and allow to simmer for 4-6 hours. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Strain and store in glass mason jars or plastic containers in the fridge.
Day 2: Homemade Chicken Pot Pie
It’s comfort food on day 2 of your chicken challenge. It may sound complicated, but making chicken pot pie really only takes a few ingredients you probably already have on hand, plus some store-bought pie crust.
Serving Suggestion: Serve a nice wedge of this pie up with some buttery mashed potatoes. Added bonus: it’s great for lunch the next day.
Day 3: Chicken Chili
If you can say one thing about Jamie Oliver, it’s that his recipes tend to always work. Check out his healthy chicken chili — it may call for turkey, but just use up some of that great roast chicken you already have. Delicious.
Serving Suggestion: Top with chopped cilantro, a dollop of sour cream and some grated cheese. If you want to bulk the meal out a bit more to make it go further, try serving over quinoa or whole wheat pasta.
Day 4: Chicken Ramen
Remember that excellent chicken stock you made on Day 1? Now’s your chance to use it. If you’ve got a ramen obsession, you’re not alone — and it’s surprisingly easy to make once you’ve got your broth. Check out this Food Busker video for the easiest chicken ramen you’ve never thought of. Don’t have fresh cooked noodles? Don’t worry. Those little packets cooked in the broth do just fine.
Serving Suggestion: Although that soy-infused egg they make at the start of the video isn’t totally required, it’s certainly delicious. Not in the mood to wait an hour? Drop a raw egg yolk into the hot broth upon serving for crazy creamy flavor.
Are you a food hacker that lives for leftovers? What are your favorite ways to use up leftover chicken? Let us know below!