Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I'll take the cheaper (whole) chicken

Over the past few months I have discovered (what other thrifty women have known for ages) the beauty of the whole chicken! Having been a bit daunted by the thought of dealing with a whole bird (bones, skin, extra parts, and carving it) I have always chosen the much easier (and more expensive) chicken breasts or chicken thighs. This recipe inspired me to try roasting a whole chicken, and friends, let me tell you that I am amazed by how easy, delicious, and frugal this endeavor has been!

For between four and five dollars I can buy a whole chicken. Using this recipe I easily prepare and roast it; the process is quite simple. (Well, I admit the first time it did take me a few minutes to figure out which side of the bird was the breast side -- after holding it upright and imagining how it would look if it were standing I figured it out!)

The whole cooked chicken yields enough meat to feed our family two meals of roasted chicken and enough extra meat for me to chop, freeze, and use later in a pot of soup, a casserole, tacos, or quesadillas -- something large enough to feed us for two meals. In addition, I use the leftover juices to quickly and easily prepare and freeze the equivalent of two to three cans of chicken broth plus two cans of homemade condensed cream of chicken soup. I use this easy recipe to prepare the condensed soup; usually I do it on a day when I don't have a big cooking endeavor underway, such as an evening when we're eating leftovers!

So, one whole, four to five-dollar chicken yields:
- 4 meals (2 of roasted chicken, 2 of something else)
- 2 to 3 "cans" (14.5 ounces each) of homemade chicken broth
- 2 "cans" (9 ounces each) of homemade cream of chicken soup

Photo caption - Containers of frozen chicken broth and cream of chicken soup.