How to Stretch a Chicken to Make Six Meals

How to Stretch a Chicken to Make 6 Meals

When I mentioned that I can stretch a chicken to last us six meals, many of you thought I was kidding. I can’t believe you thought I was kidding. I’m always so serious about everything I say around here. Just kidding.  About being serious. I’m not kidding about the chicken though.

(eh?)

There are six of us in our family and we all enjoy our food. That’s my polite way of saying, “Good grief, my boys can put away a lot of groceries in a short amount of time and then come back in an hour asking for more.”  That said, if I roast a nice chicken for dinner and serve it as the main dish, there won’t be much left of said chicken at the end of the meal. Just enough to pull a few scraps of meat together for a small casserole, then the bones are used to make broth. So, worst case chicken scenario at my house:  One Chicken, Two and a Half Meals.

But if I cook a chicken to make broth, and then use the meat from the chicken to make several different meals…now that is the best way to get the most out of a chicken!  It’s cost effective, it saves loads of time and it’s easy.

The chickens I buy are from a farm nearby and they are big (between 4-6 pounds) and nice and meaty. I pay good money for them (around $15), which sounds like a lot…but if I get SIX meals from one bird? That’s only $2.50 worth of excellent protein per meal (42¢ per serving)…for my family of six!

Okay, so let’s say I cook a chicken all day to make broth and to have cooked chicken meat ready for meals.  This has got to be one of the easiest things to do ever when it comes to cooking nutrient rich and inexpensive meals for your family, by the way. To stretch the chicken to last our family six meals, here is an example of what I might do over the course of a week or week and a half (freezing the broth and/or chicken after a few days to pull out as needed):

1. Use one batch of broth and a little bit of chicken to make Chicken Tortilla Soup. Because I’m using the rich broth, I don’t feel the need to use much chicken (if any) in this soup.

chickentortillasoupsm.JPG

2. Use the other batch of broth to make Chicken Noodle Soup. Again, I would use very little chicken to make this as there is so much goodness in the broth. And if you recall, sometimes I forget the chicken altogether, much like I forget to put the bananas in my banana bread. You’ve got to love my “duh” moments.

3. Next, I’d throw some chicken in Homemade Alfredo Sauce with pasta. I just use about 1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken for this as the sauce and noodles make up the bulk of the meal. (Add steamed veggies and a salad and you’re good to go!)

4. For a tasty lunch later in the week I’d make Black Bean Taco Salad. Because there are black beans and cheese in this salad, it doesn’t require a lot of chicken to complete the meal. Yum – this salad is so good!!

5. Not out of chicken yet, I can now make Three Cheese Garlic Chicken Pasta. Again, the pasta and cheese and milk are so filling, not a lot of chicken is needed. Plus, the cheese helps add protein to this meal.

garlicchickenpastasm

6.  Last, I’d use whatever chicken is left to make Chicken Veggie Quesadillas. With all the veggies to fill these quesadillas, the small bits of chicken add just a little bit of protein to complete the meal!

veggiequesadilla1sm.JPG

Now, I feel very strongly that our family needs good, healthy protein at each meal, so I’m not usually parked in the “skimp on meat” camp. We eat lots of eggs and nuts and beef and other meat. But getting a lot of goodness out of one chicken is a great way to cut down on time in the kitchen and save money too!

The moral of the chicken stretching story is:  If you don’t use the chicken as the main part of the meal, but just as a supplementary part…you too can stretch a chicken for all it’s worth.

What is your favorite way to stretch a chicken? As in…what are your favorite meals to eat with leftover, cooked chicken?

Disclaimer:  No chickens were actually stretched during the writing of this post.

This post was originally published on January 23, 2011.

Comments

  1. Jessica says

    Last time I cooked a whole chicken I made chicken fried rice for one meal. The second meal I made is sort of a veggie-pasta-chicken mixture.

    Put olive oil in a pan with some minced garlic let that cook, add veggies, and assorted spices put the lid on and let them steam, then add some Parmesan cheese. I have made this twice and both times the veggies come out really dark, almost burnt color but they taste so good. I have only made it with frozen veggies so I don’t know if it will taste different with fresh.

    Thanks Laura for all you do!

    [Reply]

    Jessica Reply:

    Forgot the pasta-chicken part-

    I sliced up some chicken and threw in the veggies and then served it over
    some left over pasta.

    [Reply]

  2. says

    Broth
    Chicken Fried Rice
    Chicken Noodle Soup
    Chicken & Bean Burritos
    Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas (Now I want to try yours, Laura)
    Chicken Chili
    Chicken Salad Sandwiches

    [Reply]

  3. says

    PS I always put plenty of garlic and crushed red pepper in our chicken soup to keep us healthy or for when we’re sick. and sometimes for a different twist, I add coconut milk, too.

    [Reply]

  4. Diane says

    You can take your first batch of broth and your second not quite as yummy batch of broth and mix them and it makes one really yummy batch. The first batch, in my opinion, does not suffer from the second batch being thrown in with it. :-)

    [Reply]

  5. Phelicia says

    You can use left over chicken for asian chicken fried rice, chicken won tons, cheesy chicken casserol (made with cream of chicken soup) or sweet chicken macaroni salad (my favorite)! The Macaroni salad has small macaroni shells, shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, and mayo. Super sweet and yummy!

    [Reply]

    Tara Reply:

    Can you please share your recipe for the macaroni salad? That sounds soooo good!!! td08 at live.com THANK YOU!!

    [Reply]

  6. Alison says

    I think it is also important to remember how much more flavorful a natural pastured chicken is than a run of the mill store bought chicken. My family has raised and butchered two batches(about 20 birds each time), but are currently out and buying blah chicken from the store. We crave the yummy flavor of our own chickens so much! They truly taste more chicken-y, and can therefore stretch to flavor a lot more meals.

    [Reply]

  7. Julie says

    Hi Laura,
    I was just wondering how big the chicken was that you used for all of these meals.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    My chickens are usually between 4-6 pounds I think.

    [Reply]

    Julie Reply:

    Thank you! :)

    [Reply]

  8. Shawna Cale says

    One Chicken: Cook in my crockpot and slice up for dinner for 5. Rest of the chicken goes into chicken soup (lunch for 3) (dinner for 4). Chicken pot pie (dinner for 3) and sometimes have a little leftover chicken noodle soup or chicken pot pie for a few to have lunch another day. The broth from the bones usually is enough for all the above, plus for rice one day. Then it is time for another chicken.

    [Reply]

  9. bakingmama says

    Our favorite: chicken pie! Thicken chicken broth and add cut-up veggies. Simmer for a little while then add chicken pieces. Pour into 9×13″ pan, and let cool slightly. Roll out a pie crust and place on top. Cut slits on top and bake until crust is golden brown. This is also a great way to use leftover veggies like carrots, peas, corn, and potatoes!

    [Reply]

    Marsha_M Reply:

    Love to do this too! I made two 9×13 last time and used very little chickend after all the carrots and potatoes! For the crust I used the yogurt dough Laura has here as pizza crust and it was very good.

    [Reply]

  10. Niki says

    How many pounds is the chicken? I’ve tried to stretch a chicken, but the most I’ve gotten is 3 meals, and we’ve only got 3 in our family. Maybe I’m not stretching enough or maybe my chicken is too small?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    My chickens are generally between 4-6 pounds I think.

    [Reply]

  11. Wendy says

    chicken and noodle casserole (for all those tuna fish haters) or chicken and spaetzle soup or chicken and dumplings or jambalaya or tacos

    [Reply]

  12. Jenny says

    Does the broth count as protein? Thanks for this post. I have been trying to decide if I can justify paying for an organic chicken. With this in mind, I can! :0)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, though not as much as the actual meat itself. I don’t mind using it alone without meat occasionally as the broth I make is so full of nutrients.

    [Reply]

  13. katherine says

    mmm…reading all the comments mades me hungry — and want to re-think my menu plan for the week!

    i like chicken noodle soup, or chicken and dumplings (though my family doesn’t so much). i also like chicken pot pie.

    [Reply]

  14. says

    I just cooked a 16 pound turkey from our CSA farm. I wonder how many meals you’d get out of that one!

    I plan 4 meals out of our chickens (we have two adult eaters and two small people eaters). We usually have roast chicken as one meal though and that uses a lot.

    [Reply]

  15. Martha says

    Don’t forget about cooking chicken carcasses after roasting. The best broth (we always make big batches of soup to eat and can) is made from boiling the carcass of a roasted chicken or turkey. Put all the bones, ligaments, etc (basically *everything* that is left over after pulling the meat off) into a big pot, fill the pot with water, put on to boil. When it boils, turn heat down to just above simmering, and let it cook for a couple of days. keep filling the pot up to the top with water as it cooks off.
    There is no better broth (trust me on this), and it makes *bunches*!

    [Reply]

    JoAnna Reply:

    Martha,
    When do you know the broth is done? And do you literally let it cook through the night?
    I would LOVE to try this but need more detailed directions, please!!!
    Thank you!!

    [Reply]

  16. blair says

    Wow, a couple of days? That seems like a long time. I don’t know though because I’m not a broth-maker.

    [Reply]

    Courtney Reply:

    I’ve found that the easiest and tastiest way to make broth is in the crockpot. Just put in the bones and whatever else is left of your chicken, cover with water, add a quartered onion and some salt and pepper and cook on low overnight. The crockpot method makes much richer broth than when I’ve cooked it on the stove.

    [Reply]

    Hezzie Reply:

    I also keep all my celery and carrot tops in the freezer and drop them in with the onion, just for a little extra flavor. I simmer/crock my stock for at least 12-24 hours. The longer the better. If it doens’t ‘gel’ the next day in the fridge, it wasn’t long enough!

    [Reply]

    Erin Reply:

    I use the crockpot too. Mine can be set to cook for 12 hours, I do it for two cycles of 12 hours.

    Kim Reply:

    I’ve read somewhere that you can add a splash of vinegar to the broth & while it’s cooking, will pull out all those healthy nutrients from the marrow of the bones. I personally cook my broth in the crockpot overnight & have had it turn out wonderfully!

  17. Cher says

    Love to use my rice cooker with leftover chicken…..especially when we’ve got appointments or errands that have to be done in the morning. Add rice and water (or broth if I have it) and toss in a little chicken. Set delay timer so it turns on in time for lunch. Ready when we get home. This meal can go a lot of different ways. Sometimes I throw in a few handfulls of raw veggies before I start it. Sometimes a little terriayaki sauce or soy sauce. Sometimes we stir in cheese or leftover veggies before serving. Or use other leftover meat besides chicken.

    [Reply]

  18. Tami says

    What type of containers do you use to freeze your chicken broth?

    And one of our favorites is white bean chicken chili. I can also stretch a little chicken a long way with some broth in Chicken and Dumplings. :D yummy!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I freeze it in a half gallon jar, leaving room at the top for the broth to expand as it freezes.

    [Reply]

  19. says

    I’m hungry again after reading your post and I just finished breakfast!

    I like the dark meat reheated in fat/oil with some onion/garlic for a lettuce wrap (for lunch); any shredded chicken cooked with veggies and rice (or noodles) with a white sauce made right in the skillet; this week I’m trying chicken chickpea soup; and I forgot how much we like tortilla soup (thanks for reminding me!).

    I need to go look at your black bean salad recipe :).

    [Reply]

  20. Pam says

    Don’t forget hot chicken sandwiches! Leftover chicken in gravy over homemade bread. Add a veggie and you’ve got a very filling meal.

    [Reply]

  21. shorty says

    We bought some free range chicken legs and wings once and they were very tough. It was more like game meat which I get since they are roaming so the meat will be tougher. Do you have this issue when you roast the meat? Does the meat taste a bit different than what you would get at the store? I am sure if it is supposed to taste different than the store bought stuff we could get used to it but we would like to know it is supposed to be tougher and taste a little different:) Thanks for this great post, I can’t wait to give it a try!!!

    [Reply]

    Erin Reply:

    You could do a few things here. Ask the farmer which breed of bird he uses, we had 4 ameraucana roosters that we slaughtered after raising from 4 weeks old. They turned out really tough too. I thought they were good meat birds, but after trying to eat the first, looked into it again and found they are not dual purpose. Also, you can ask if they are kept in a tractor (a movable pen used to let birds get their greens/bugs fill, but not running lose). Lastly, ask the age of slaughter, younger birds, no more than 16 weeks, are the best as roasters. Older are better for soups and stews.

    [Reply]

    Jeannie Reply:

    We have ameraucana roos too. We SLOW simmer them till they are done, and the meat falls off the bone, They are free range too!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Q Reply:

    Free range/farm meat will not taste like supermarket meat, but should not be as tough as wild game.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Q Reply:

    Oh, and cooked properly, most wild game is not tough either.

    [Reply]

  22. Hezzie says

    I’m happy to get 3 meals. It’s too stressful to try and stretch it to 6!! (chicken dinner, soup/broth, and leftovers)

    Love your blog, Laura. I have never learned so much about homemaking. You make it FUN! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  23. Holly in Virginia says

    I love to “stretch” a chicken with chicken pot pie. Between the vegetables, whole wheat crust (or cheesy biscuit topping!) and thick milky sauce I feel that it is a nutritious meal.

    [Reply]

  24. Lisa Whitmore says

    We usually make chicken enchilada’s. Melt butter and use to fry sliced onions, then add diced green chilies and chicken. Mix in cream cheese and stir until it melts and coats the mix and then scoop into tortilla shells. Put in a baking dish with a little heavy cream and shredded cheese and bake until cheese has melted. YUMMY!!! It doesn’t take much chicken in this dish but it’s really filling.

    [Reply]

  25. says

    Thanks for all the great ideas. I get 3.5# natural chickens from our grocery and they usually give me 2-4 meals. This week I will be cooking one up to use for Chicken Enchilada Casserole, broth, and will have chicken left over to freeze for another meal or two depending on what I decide to make with it.

    [Reply]

  26. blair says

    If I remember right, you use glass jars to freeze your broth, Laura? And just leave room at the top for it to expand?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    yep!

    [Reply]

  27. says

    Thank you so much to the link to your cooking chicken and making broth. I had (for the first time) bought 3 whole chickens, with the intention of deboning them raw. Then I got sick and couldn’t imagine touching all that raw chicken, so I just threw them in the freezer. We’re just a little family of 3, so following your instructions, I set to cooking one today. It turned out awesome! Meat for 6+ meals, and chicken noodle soup for tonight. I’m so excited. Thanks so much…

    [Reply]

  28. Diane says

    When I cook a whole chicken I usually cook it up on a Sunday night for a Sunday dinner, and than Tuesday night is our Mexican night so I make a Chicken, salsa and brown rice casserole. Than usually make broth for Chicken n dumpling soup.
    You are right Laura, if I put all the chicken out with our 3 boys, most of it will be gone.
    I like your idea of not using as much chicken with some of the meals as the broth is rich and flavorful, and the casseroles I make usually have cheese. Thanks so much for all your ideas and suggestions.

    [Reply]

  29. Rebecca says

    I LOVE that disclaimer at the end, haha! Those are some great suggestions!

    I love to make chicken spinach quiche, which requires about 1 cup (or less) per quiche and makes 6 or so servings. I also love putting chicken on baked potatoes. Just add butter, cheddar cheese, and chives. Mmmmm!

    I can’t wait to hear some other suggestions, as I have a few cups of cooked chicken (and a lot of raw chicken) in my freezer.

    [Reply]

  30. says

    I have found that when I tried to “stretch” a meal by adding grains (whole wheat homemade pasta and breads) my kids were hungry all the time. I couldn’t give them enough food. Now that we’re eating more fat and more protein my kids aren’t starving all the time like they were previously.

    I only “stretch” our chicken for two meals, but then don’t I have to provide snacks all day long. Thankfully my chicken is only $6.00 per chicken. Love the Hutterite colony that sell these!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Q Reply:

    Protein is the key. You can’t really stretch with just carbs.

    [Reply]

  31. Julie says

    So if I am understanding someone’s comment correctly, you cook the chicken until you have good broth, and the replace the broth with water and cook again to get even more broth? Doesn’t the chicken over cook and dry out some? Or does that just happen with boneless skinless breasts? And just how much broth can you get out of one chicken?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I actually cook the chicken until I have a good broth, then DEBONE the chicken for eating and use the BONES to make another broth. Otherwise, yes…the chicken would be pretty dry!

    I usually get about a gallon of broth out of my big chickens.

    [Reply]

  32. Susan Alexander says

    I’m thrilled to get 2-3 meals – roast and enjoy with lots of sides, use leftover meat in a casserole or for chicken tacos (YUM), use bones for broth (which my husband refuses to consume in most forms).

    [Reply]

  33. amy stout says

    After I took the chicken out of the broth I scooped out the veggies. Then I liquified them in the food processor and put them back in the broth with the chicken bones. this made amazing broth. YUM!

    [Reply]

  34. Lucy Straw says

    I invariably stretch a chicken over 6 meals, and make lots of broth. I make all of the dishes suggested by you and your other readers. The biggest meal stretcher of all is Brunswick Stew.
    Boil the bones one last time. Use any scraps of meat and all the broth from this final cooking. Add a can of chopped tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, l clove garlic, 4 or 5 potatoes, chopped, a cup or so of peas and/or green beans, a cup of sliced celery, a cup or so of corn kernels, a cup or so of lima beans, a couple of chopped carrots, okra, if desired. Add a bay leaf, poultry seasoning, and lots and lots of black pepper. Salt to taste, and add some Old Bay seasoning, if you have any, and Tabasco, if you don’t. Cook for hours and hours. The chicken meat should be in shreds. Freezes well. This is soooo good.

    [Reply]

  35. Laurie says

    I absolutely love your disclaimer. Too funny. I’ve been trying to transition to free range chickens off the farm, but honestly, the price bothers me. After reading your post, the price seems realistic and do-able. $15.00 for 6 meals, not bad a’tall.

    [Reply]

  36. says

    We’re a family of 11 w/8 of us being adult eaters. We can maybe do this with 2 chickens or 1 turkey. Preferably we cook a 20+ lb turkey and get many meals out of that. We’ve also cooked the bones twice and still get nice broth.

    We’ve recently gone to more lower carb meals for some of us so this is not near so feasible w/o the high carb fillers unless I use spaghetti squash in place of the noodles, rice or potatoes.

    [Reply]

  37. says

    We do a lot with our chicken leftovers. Some of our homemade favorites are:
    Alfredo Chicken and Mushroom Pizza
    Chicken Pot Pie (with left over Chicken & veggies)
    Chicken Noodle or Chicken Veggie Soup
    Chicken, Gravy & Biscuits
    Chicken Salad Sandwich
    Fresh Spinach & Chicken Salad

    [Reply]

  38. Donna says

    I did this on Sunday, made chicken broth then took the meat of the bone. The cooked chicken (and some of the broth) will be used for:

    Chicken and Dumpling Stew

    Chicken Tabbouleh (traditional Middle Eastern Tabbouleh w/cooked chicken added. Yum.

    Chicken Hash (my kids love this one) The potatoes are a main ingredient, which allows you to use less of the chicken.

    [Reply]

  39. says

    Very glad to see you buy QUALITY meat! We raise chicken and it is expensive to do so! Our chickens go for $15 as well, but they taste like REAL chicken and the flavor is amazing. Keep encouraging others to support the small farmer! :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Oh yes…the chickens we get are so delicious and meaty! Good for you for doing all the hard work so that WE can eat well!! :)

    [Reply]

  40. paula c. says

    With a whole chicken I’ll make mole chicken. With the leftover chicken and mole sauce I’ll make enchiladas. My husband loves how the mole sauce tastes in enchiladas. And we usually have enough enciladas for two meals since I make rice and beans on the side and there are only 3 of us in my family. Even with a small family I still like to stretch my chicken.

    [Reply]

  41. Mary says

    What is a good price per pound for a whole chicken? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Well, I’m not sure how much they cost at the store, as it’s been a while since I bought one there. I pay $2.75/pound for an extra large pasteured chicken, which costs around $15…but again…lasts me for around 6 meals. I feel like this is a very fair price for such a high quality and MEATY chicken. :)

    [Reply]

  42. says

    I also cook chicken to make broth and then shred the meat to stretch for several meals. It saves us so much money to make our broth instead of buy it. We like to stretch it by making:
    1. chicken salsa soup (chicken and broth)
    2. cheeseburger soup (broth)
    3. chicken casseroles (broth and chicken)
    4. white chili (broth and chicken)
    5. tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or whatever other Mexican dish we might want :) (chicken)
    6. shredded chicken bbq sandwiches (chicken)

    We love chicken at our house and this is just the best way to do it.

    [Reply]

  43. Danielle says

    Hello, so many great ideas and comments. I have a question about using the chicken again to make another batch of broth. I buy a chicken, put it in my crockpot filled with water for about twelve hours(overnight). I strain the broth and then freeze it in containers. I seperate the chicken(my family is picky about only white meat) and then discard the bones. From all of the comments, is it true that I can I suppose refill my crockpot and repeat the process again, possibly adding the broth to the original batch? If so, I have wasted alot of the remaining chickens. Thank you for your help!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you can read more about how I make lots of broth here: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-chicken-broth

    but I usually use my bones twice. Well, actually…I cook the chicken and use the broth from that, then I reuse the bones to make another broth! I was so glad to learn that – which is what helps us get so much out of our chicken!!

    [Reply]

  44. Terese says

    If I’m at Costco i may buy their freshly cooked rotisserie chicken and with the left overs make chicken sandwich, quesidillas or if i have enough meat, popppyseed chicken.

    if I have time, i like to cook my own chicken to make yummy broth. I freeze some in smaller containers as when we are sick, chicken broth tastes really good, and sometimes i put in ice cube trays…great for using a small portion for gravy or to give a little flavor veggies like broccoli.

    [Reply]

  45. Terese says

    oh and i forgot chicken tortilla soup in the crockpot. I have a totally awesome recipe i found on the internet a few years back. It’s really easy and most importantly delicious.

    The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup

    By Jill4man on November 15, 2004

    Ingredients:

    Servings:

    6
    Servings Size

    * 1 (46 ounce) can chicken broth
    * 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
    * 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
    * 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded (I use rotisserie from the deli)
    * 2 anaheim chilies, diced
    * 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
    * 1/2 cup diced onion
    * 3 -4 large tomatoes, diced
    * 2 garlic cloves, minced
    * 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
    * 1 tablespoon chili powder
    * 2 teaspoons cumin
    * 2 teaspoons pepper
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce (I use the chipotle flavor)
    * 1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper (optional)

    Garnish

    * 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    * 1 avocado, chopped
    * 1/4 cup cilantro, pulled from stem
    * 1 lime, cut into wedges
    * 2 cups crushed tortilla chips

    Directions:

    Prep Time: 15 mins

    Total Time: 6 1/4 hrs

    1. 1 Throw everything except the garnishes in your crock pot and let it cook on high for 5-6 hours.
    2. 2 Dress with garnishes and give it a squeeze of lime (a must:-) and you’re good to go!
    3. 3 Enjoy!
    4. 4 If you are not using a crock pot, saute the garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil before adding the remaining ingredients.
    5. 5 Simmer for at least an hour so that the flavors mix together.

    [Reply]

  46. Denise Wilson says

    I always stock up on whole chickens when they are on sale. Then, I boil them for broth and get 3 or 4 meals out of the chicken. We love the taste of chicken that has been boiled. It is so tender and delicious!

    [Reply]

  47. Mary Ratliffe says

    “Disclaimer: No chickens were actually stretched during the writing of this post.”

    That had me laughing soooo hard I almost peed!

    [Reply]

    julie honsberger Reply:

    was soooo funny….LOL

    [Reply]

  48. Maria says

    I freeze my bone broth in plastic muffin tins I found at a thrift store. Since they’re plastic, the broth pops out very easily. Each little cake of broth is 1/3 cup. I put them in a bigger container in the freezer and pull out however many I need to make gravy or any other sauce.

    This is my version of convenience food.

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    That is a wonderful idea! I have used either butter dishes (but that was too much) or ice cube trays (but that was too little). Thanks for the idea!

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Wow what a great idea! Never thought of this, I have a few of those tins in my cabinet.Ill be using those from now on for freezing my broth

    [Reply]

  49. says

    I have a recipe for deep dish chicken pot pies from my my grandma, it is soooo yummy. It’s my 4 year olds favorite meal. These freeze very well and are great to hand out to people needing a meal like when people at church have a baby we do a two week meal sign up so this is one of my go to meals. I get chickens when I find them on sale (sometimes as low as $0.59/lb!) I will use two chickens, and this will give me enough meat to make 8 pot pies with meat left over that I throw into the broth and make a huge vegetable soup and freeze about 6 meals of that. So 2 chickens, 14 meals at least!

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    My pot pie recipe (and one for chicken enchiladas) all in a post about how I stretched a chicken, if anyone is interested.

    [Reply]

  50. Simone says

    It is just the 2 of us so I usually roast the chicken and then de-bone the rest for soup or casserole etc. Silly question, but does any body know if you can use the rendered chicken fat (what comes to the top after you have chilled it) in place of lard/shortening? (I am not sure what where lard/shortening comes from, but it looks like the chicken fat?) I was thinking I could scrape it off and freeze it until I have enough and use it for making pies?

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    Lard is the rendered fat of a pig, usually used for homemade pie
    crusts, which I’m guessing is what you want to use it for… (although,
    I just did a quick google search, and it looks like commercial lard is
    hydrogenated to make it shelf stable, so chicken fat may turn out to
    be a healthier alternative, but I don’t know for sure. I’ve
    never used chicken fat in pie crust, but I would
    give it a shot, just to see what it does…keep us posted!

    [Reply]

    Audrey Reply:

    I have rendered chicken fat and used it for tamale dough, as well
    as using it as a cooking fat for sauteing veggies. I think the
    chicken fat usually ends up being quite a bit softer/melty-er at
    room temperature than lard/shortening (that’s why they are
    hydrogenated — makes them more solid). So you will have to
    adapt your pie crust to compensate. But I think it could work, and
    would be great for chicken pot pie!

    [Reply]

    L. Vilneff Reply:

    Hello Simone
    Here’s a site I found sometime ago which tells you how to render chicken fat.

    http://www.commonsensehome.com/rendering-pastured-poultry-fat-a-little-bit-of-liquid-love/

    I hope this helps

    [Reply]

  51. Kristin says

    You are so funny! :) I cook similarly with chicken. I always make at least one variety of soup with it, and then will make other things like chicken stir fry (just coat in cornstarch, ginger, garlic powder and soy sauce, cook until browned, then cook veggies, then add everything back in w/ 1 cup water & 1 tsp chicken bouillon granules). It’s very good! Other meals – I will sometimes add gravy to the chicken and do an easy shredded chicken sandwich dinner, or serve the chicken/gravy on top of mashed potatoes.

    [Reply]

  52. Carole says

    Fantastic! Can’t wAit to try this with the 21 lb turkey I got on sale this week! It will be so fun to surprise the kids each night! Thanks for using real-life recipes that we will all enjoy, too!

    [Reply]

  53. Carole says

    Forgot to mention that when I let the meat sit overnight in the broth, the meat is so much more moist. I then skim the fat from the pot, remove the meat, and freeze it separately for other meals in 2c. Portions.

    [Reply]

    Melinda S Reply:

    I wondered what would happen if we did this. Every, and I mean every, broth recipe says to remove and store the meat separately from the bones and I’ve always wondered why. Any thoughts?

    [Reply]

    Carole Reply:

    Hmmm… I know I’ve done it both ways- taking the meat off the bones and letting it sit in the broth and also leaving it on the bones to sit in the broth. Just to be clear, I put the chicken/broth in the fridge to sit overnight and then I separate them for storage in the freezer. I’ve never had any problems doing this, health-wise, and the chicken is very moist!

    [Reply]

  54. Madonna says

    I make chicken with dressing. bake a pan of cornbread, crumble, add shredded chicken, onion ,celery, sage, add broth to moisten, bake til heated through. Everyone who has tasted it loves it. also works great with leftover turkey.
    Another favorite for leftover chicken is chicken salad, with grapes and pecans. also few Craisins thrown in .

    [Reply]

  55. Melinda S says

    Loved this. I’ve never stretched my chickens 6 ways, but I will try now. As stated above, it’s really helpful the way you put in the actual recipes.

    Fun reading! I’ll be back!

    [Reply]

  56. Julie says

    This won’t work for our family. A serving of protein is the size of a can of tuna…possibly even larger according to my nutritionist who came from an ivy league university. The low intake of protein can cause various diseases like thyroid and cancer.

    [Reply]

    Marla Reply:

    I don’t think she’s saying you should eat low protein. It’s just a post about how to stretch a chicken. You can eat more protein for lunch or breakfast on those days. It’s just ideas, and these meals can be stretched over 2-3 weeks, with high protein meals mixed in between. Then you can avoid your cancer. Sheesh.

    [Reply]

    Sherri Reply:

    LOL

    [Reply]

    Shelley Reply:

    Eating that much protein is not necessary. In fact, vegetarians are at lower risk to get cancer.

    [Reply]

    Rae Reply:

    Eating that much protien from MEAT is not necessary. Protien in a vegetarian diet comes from other sources, like legumes and nuts.

    [Reply]

  57. Nola says

    Enchilada casserole

    Chicken
    Peppers and onions sauteed
    fajita seasoning pack
    Cheddar cheese
    sour cream
    black beans

    mix all of the above ingredients (can add others too like black olives, poblano peppers etc or whatever suits your taste)

    Layer in casserole with corn tortillas and enchilada sauce bake 350.

    [Reply]

  58. Sara says

    Hi!

    I have a family of three. Sometimes we do roast the chicken first, but get several meals out of it:

    Meal 1: Roast Chicken
    Meal 2: Shred remaining meat off the chicken and mix with BBQ sauce to make BBQ chicken pizza
    Meal 3: Use the carcass from the chicken to make broth and use the broth to make a big pot of spicy pinto beans for beans and rice
    Meal 4: Use the leftover beans for taco salad or nachos
    Meal 5: On day one when roasting the chicken save all the drippings from the meat to make gravy for biscuits and gravy for breakfast one day (Country, I know…not so healthy, I’m sure…but definitely delish.)

    Thanks for the fun ideas!

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    But if you’re out of food & can’t afford anything else I’m sure it would be tasty. Something is better than nothing.

    [Reply]

    Jodie Reply:

    thank you! we are seriously out of money with no light in sight for a very long time (12 more months!). I LOVE your ideas. thank you again!

    [Reply]

  59. says

    I have recently started doing this, as I’ve seen the concept presented in several different blogs. It has worked out GREAT!!! Some of the recipes we use the chicken in are Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Fajitas, Chicken Chili Nachos, Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Soft Tacos, Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Chicken Quesadillas, Chicken Spinach Pizza, Chicken Cobb Salad, among others. My husband doesn’t like pasta, so I’m not able to use that as a filler. But I do like adding beans to add variety and to bulk up the recipe as well. I buy the “whole young chickens” from the store, cook 2 of them in the oven, and separate it into about 6 packages. Then I throw the carcasses in the crock pot overnight to make broth. These are small chickens, and I could probably stretch out the meat even further (after being inspired by this post). My goal in the future is to buy organic or locally raised chickens twice a year, and make enough to last 6 months. As it is now, I buy the chickens once a month, and make enough to have at least one chicken meal per week (using the extras for lunch meals). I find that doing it this way not only makes the chickens stretch further, but also saves me tons of time in the kitchen!

    [Reply]

  60. Carrie says

    Do you freeze your chicken? I am always unsure of how long it will keep in a fridge.

    Thanks for the great advice!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    We usually eat it all up within about a week, so I leave it in the fridge. If you won’t eat it that quickly, I’d say to put it in a freezer bag!

    [Reply]

  61. says

    Okay this may be a stupid question but how do you boil a whole chicken? I have stretched chicken breasts by boiling but not the whole thing.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s a post I wrote explaining how to cook a whole chicken: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-chicken-broth…very easy!! :)

    [Reply]

    Holly Reply:

    I just do it in a crock pot overnight and it turns out great, raise the chicken off the bottom by balling up some tinfoil and propping chicken on it, season, and stock or other liquid for extra moisture cook on low for a long time.

    [Reply]

  62. Carole says

    I just made bbq chicken pizza with one medium sized chicken breast, BBQ sauce, and shredded cheddar and my family (14,12,10&hubby) were quite full after salad with it and there was a piece for him for lunch the next day! Thanks for the inspiration!!!

    [Reply]

  63. says

    I’m not sure if “omelet” is the right word (maybe we should go with egg taco) but I like to do this with shredded chicken:

    beat 3-4 eggs, salt and pepper, add a little milk if you like ’em like that

    pour into non-stick, greased skillet (spray on cooking oil is fine) over low-med heat. DO NOT STIR!

    add shredded chicken on top of cooking egg pancake

    season with Tony Cachere’s

    add shredded pepperjack cheese (and veggies or whatever else you want here)

    when the egg pancake has firmed up, fold egg pancake over to form an egg taco

    eat your mass of protein and enjoy!

    [Reply]

  64. Gretchen says

    LOVE this post. Very encouraging. I oven roast a whole chicken with sides for one dinner and then strip it of the excess meat and of course make broth with the bones. The rest of the meat goes into a a rice and beans (super duper low cast) lunch for my husband all week. I use some of the broth to cook the rice in. I typically make the rice and beans Sunday night and pack it into containers so my husband has an inexpensive, quick and easy lunch to take each day. (of course, he goes meatless pretty often too!)

    [Reply]

  65. Nicle says

    Ask your ivy league dietician friend if she recommends 1 serving of protein or per meal or one per day. I think you’ll find that the idea is one per day and so having eggs for breakfast and nuts for snack and beans over a salad for lunch will make the little bits of chicken in dinner add up to be more than enough!

    [Reply]

  66. says

    Last week we stretched a chicken in 4’s. We had just my husband and I one night and had roasted chicken, then night 2 we fed 4 with chicken fried rice (using stock to cook rice) and had leftovers for 3 lunches for me, night 3 we fed 4 with chicken lime tacos, and night 4 we fed my hubby and I with chicken, artichoke and pesto pasta and had leftovers for 3 indvidual lunches…. and it was a small organic chicken!

    [Reply]

  67. Melissa says

    Hi ladies, I know this has been a great site, thank you for all the ideas! Has anyone done cost comparisons on whole chickens verses breasts and what prices would be comparable after deboning?

    [Reply]

    Dawn Reply:

    Having spoken to a friend who raises chickens about exactly this, they increase the cost per pound when they remove the bones, to compensate for the extra work, so it is a better deal to buy the whole chicken. Don’t forget, the bones are essential for really good broth, so without those you are loosing out!

    [Reply]

  68. Donna Wallace says

    I love this idea. I usually buy whole chickens and cut them up to make meals and cook the bones for broth…………I don’t like over cooked meat, as sometimes overcooked in crock pots, but I just cook with the warm on my pot, after first heating food on high, and the meat doesn’t become “dead” as I call it. to me the taste changes on overcooked meat.

    BUT, I would still make the broth and after 45 minutes take the meat and bones out and separate and then put the bones back to cook for a long time. Package the chicken meat for different meals and freeze. I do put onion peels in with onions & vegis for color in the broth when cooking, but those too are not saved while making the broth to be frozen.

    You probably all know this by now, but if the broth doesn’t come to a boil and is slowly simmered, the broth doesn’t become cloudy.

    I STILL LOVE THAT YOU HAVE JUST SAVED ME SO MUCH TIME AND A BETTER WAY OF STRETCHING THE BUDGET. HUGS

    [Reply]

  69. Donna Wallace says

    oH, AND YES, making your own broth, sure makes a better broth……….so much thicker and with real nutrients, unlike the canned version.

    [Reply]

  70. says

    I do this very often. I cook 2 chickens at the same time. You can read about that here, if you are interested http://wp.me/p4viGJ-vd. I freeze one. The second, we eat that night. Then I make broth in the crock pot over night. With the broth and the leftover chicken that I have picked from the bones, I make chicken pot pie and enchiladas. If I have any extra, I make soup.

    [Reply]

  71. says

    This is simply awesome – I’ve only stretched my chicken to 3 or 4 meals. I will definitely look into your recipes above and adjust it according to our usual cooking ingredients here. Thank you for sharing & further explaining. :D

    [Reply]

  72. Christine R says

    Even though I am just a lowly nurse with the requisite nutrition classes for my degree, I would like to address the ignorant post from earlier.

    For the lady worried about this not being enough protein for a family:

    Like others have said, this isn’t your only protein for the day!

    Yogurt or cereal with milk for breakfast? 10-20 grams of protein.
    Or have a couple eggs and a piece of toast with peanut butter for another 15-20 grams.

    Bean and cheese burrito for lunch? Another 20-30 grams. Tuna sandwich? 20-25 grams.

    Have a piece of string cheese for a snack and bang- another 10 grams.

    The age group with the highest need for protein is teenage boys- topping out around 55 grams per day. By the time they even get to dinner, If they have eaten properly earlier during the day, they’ve probably met or even surpassed their needs for the day.

    Meat with every meal is not necessary and, some studies have shown can have adverse health effects. Saturated fat has a greater link to cancer than a low protein diet.

    A diet with NO protein leads to thyroid issues, yes, but so does a diet with ONLY animal protein sources. This is why every medical and/or nutritional expert recommends a VARIED diet.

    So, with all due respect to your “ivy league” nutritionist friend- protein comes from all different sources.

    Oh…..also- a serving of tuna IS NOT one whole can- it’s a little less than half of one- 3 oz.

    [Reply]

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