Cost Efficiency in the Kitchen, or How to make One Chicken last for Three meals

by katerina on July 16, 2012

One of the secrets of the professional culinary world is that an organized chef will plan appropriately to save money and waste nothing. At home, one of the ways I like to do this is to make the most of the proteins I purchase and a whole chicken is the easiest of the bunch. Usually this means buying a whole chicken, butchering it, planning well, and using the parts separately.  Even easier is to roast it off and then use the pieces for a few days.

As a change from the usual plain old recipes, this week I am going to showcase just what we do at home with one chicken to save money, work less and still eat well. This also enables me to afford to buy a happy local chicken since we can stretch it to three full meals for two people.

In this case roasting a chicken provides the first meal, with the second two driven from the leftover meat and stock you can make with the carcass. You will have to stay tuned throughout the week to see what I made with my leftover chicken. Do, be very careful that you cool the chicken and carcass quickly before refrigerating it so that you have no food safety issues.

Since the first meal with a whole chicken is an easy roast chicken, I am not posting a recipe for that, although you could do this. Carve the chicken, and once everyone has eaten, trim any excess meat off. Roughly break apart the carcass into pieces no bigger than 3″. Refrigerate both the meat and the bones until you are ready to make the stock. If refrigerating you have a few days to make the most of it, alternatively you can freeze the boens and meat at this time.

If you want to follow along, note that one chicken is unlikely to create two extra meals via leftovers if you feed more than two people with it, so if feeding more roast more chickens.

Today I also posted the method on how to make chicken stock from a leftover chicken carcass. That will put us ahead and make Wednesday and Friday’s recipes nice and easy since we will have stock and chicken to create a soup and a pasta.

Here are some more ideas for recipes you can make with roast chicken or turkey leftovers:
Stuffed Peppers
Spaghetti with Brie, Arugula, and Chicken
Chicken, Barley, and Thyme Soup
Black Bean and Chicken Soup
Fresh Herb Spaghetti with Chicken Veloute

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