While I am not yet able to consistently cook with free-range chickens, I am taking baby steps to cook more wholesome meals from stratch without the added preservatives from canned or boxed items.
Here's what I typically get out of a whole chicken (for 2 adults and two small children):
- 2 dinners with chicken as the star (includes two vegetable sides)
- 1 dinner with chicken in the casserole
- Chicken stock for 1 pot of soup
- About 3 cups of chicken stock to use for other purposes
That's at least 4 meals! If I find a super deal on whole chickens, like $$0.88/lb, a 6-pound chicken only costs $5.28. Now, picture that against buying separate packages of chicken for each meal or several cartons of chicken stock.
Obviously, as my boys get bigger (and we add more babies to our family), we'll have to purchase more chickens; but you get the idea.
Typically, I'll roast the chicken for the first meal, saving the drippings to make gravy. Remember to save the inards to add to your stock.
While carving the cooked chicken, I'll also put the next batches of chicken into the fridge (if I'll use it in a day or two) or the freezer (for a meal later in the month). It's nice to have cooked chicken ready to go.
My next tip, save the bones and carcass!! This is how you make chicken stock. Rather than go into a lot of detail about making stock (from bones) or broth (from fresh meat), I'll point you to some of my favorite places:
- Jessica at Life as Mom has a great vlog for making chicken stock.
- Stephanie at Keeper of the Home has an insightful post on the benefits of homemade bone broth.
Do you have a favorite trick or way to prepare a whole chicken?