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Thrifty Thursdays: Save Bucks on a Bird

Sorry, vegetarian and vegan Eat Drink Better readers.Β  This tip is for the omnis! We recently made the move from a vegetarian kitchen to a sometimes-omnivorous kitchen.Β  Without getting into the nuances of both my husband and my’s food preferences, we’re more likely to eat at home if I cook meat sometimes, and I’d rather save the money and eat at home where I can control ingredients.Β  One thing I recently tried as part of this new arrangement was cooking a whole chicken. Why deal with a whole chicken when you can buy the convenient prepackaged boneless skinless breasts?Β  Because you can save a ton of money by buying a whole bird.Β  Find out how, after the jump…

A whole bird costs a fraction per pound that chicken parts.Β  I either buy a local bird (still cheaper than store-bought breasts) at the farmers’ market, or I wait until organic chickens go on sale at the supermarket.Β  Either way, wait until you can get a deal, then buy a few to freeze.Β  You can get at least three meals from one chicken, four depending on the size of the bird.Β  Here’s how:

When we’re ready for chicken, I’ll roast a whole bird (it’s much easier than you would think!) and we’ll eat that for one meal with roasted veggies.Β  We save enough pieces for one leftover meal of chicken pieces.Β  Then, I shred any other leftovers, plus any meat picked from the bones/carcass, and freeze for either tacos, salad, or pasta.Β  The carcass also gets frozen and then made into stock, which can be used to make soups or risotto.Β  Boom, four meals.

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5 comments
  1. Robin Shreeves

    I cooked my first bird of the fall (I usually don’t cook a whole one in the summer) this past weekend. We ate dinner from it and I’ve now got two containers of leftovers in the freezer – one to make chicken pot pie and one for chicken noodle soup.

    It really is very easy to roast one. Very little hands on time at all.

  2. Christine

    Robin, in the summer, I grill my whole chicken outdoors. Usually I use the beer can method :)
    Kelli, Leanne Ely on flylady.net calls this the Rubber Chicken…make that chicken stretch out into 3 meals! :)

  3. Sarah

    We do this too! And, like Robin, I wait until cooler weather to run the oven for 2+ hours. It’s great to stretch $5-6 into 4 meals instead of spending $5 just on one package of pre-trimmed meat!

    If you have any little leftover bits of chicken, you can run them through a food processor with some cracker or bread crumbs, minced scallions, and a bit of mayonnaise (just enough to make it all stick together), season, and cook on a hot griddle. It makes a good chicken patty for sandwiches, and the kids like it.

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