Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stretching a Chicken to Last Eight+ Meals



I gave myself a little cooking challenge over the weekend.  I like to push myself in my culinary abilities (see my culinary bucket list here) and learn how to do new things.  This was also as a result of a panic moment when I realized I had nothing planned for dinner (um, at 4:45pm).

Tad went and bought a rotisserie chicken (which was a little pricey at our Food Lion - $8).  I promptly announced that I was going to stretch the chicken to last for six meals!  Tad couldn't believe me at first, but as the weekend went on and I kept producing more meals from this one little bird, I think he became slightly impressed.

Here's how I stretched one rotisserie chicken into eight+ meals.

Meal #1 - Chicken & Biscuits with Gravy and Roasted Carrots
Sorry, no picture of this meal.  It was extremely simple and nothing to blog about! ha!  Just make some biscuits, top with chicken, pour on some gravy, and serve roasted carrots on the side.
This served the two of us and Vera.

That night I picked all the meat off the bones of the chicken, shredded it, and stored it in the fridge.  The next morning, I made stock using the chicken carcass (I hate that word).
Meal #2 - Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is another easy recipe.
I used half of my chicken stock to make this and saved the rest for meal #5.  I added a can of fire roasted tomatoes, some frozen corn, half a jalepeno pepper (leave out if you don't like it too spicy), cumin, ground black pepper, cilantro, and the juice of half a lime.  I garnished the soup with a dollup of sour cream (actually Greek yogurt), toasted tortilla strips, and more cilantro and served it with chips on the side.
This recipe served the two of us plus gave us two leftover servings as well.
Meal #3 - Chicken & Garlic Pizza
Again, super easy (are you sensing a theme?).  I made a pizza crust, added sauce (can of tomato paste plus a can of water plus Italian seasonings and parmesan cheese), and topped it with mozzarella cheese, chicken, chopped fresh garlic, and thinly sliced red onions.  Yummy!
This recipe served the two of us plus Vera, plus it gave us one leftover serving.
Meal #4 - Hummus, Chicken, & Spinach Wraps
We were out over lunch for this meal, so I made these wraps before we left.
Spread hummus on a tortilla, then top with spinach, chicken, red onion, and shredded cheese.  Roll up and enjoy!
This served both me and Tad for lunch.
Meal #5 - Chicken Soup with Bulgar and Orzo
I made my mom's standard chicken noodle soup recipe, but instead of adding rice or noodles, I added about 1/2 cup of bulgar and 1/4 cup of orzo.
This served the three of us generously, plus provided two or three leftover servings.
Meal #6 - Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad
This was one of the meals I was most excited about.  I made a caprese salad (fresh basil plus fresh tomatoes, chopped, plus marinated mozzarella balls) and added it to cooked whole wheat pasta and our trusty cooked, shredded chicken.  (The marinated mozzarella balls were from the antipasta bar.)  It was so delicious and was light but filling at the same time!
This served me & Tad.

At this point I could have stopped, since I had successfully made the original six meals I promised to make.  I really made more meals than that if you counted the leftovers!  But I still had more chicken so I kept going!
Meal #7 - Black Bean Southwestern Salad
I tossed some of the chicken with a little bit of taco seasoning and heated it up.  I topped a bed of red leaf lettuce with black beans, corn, chicken, green onions, and homemade salsa.  This was a great lunch!
Served two, plus some extra stuff for Vera (beans, etc.).
Meal #8 - Chicken Pot Pie
I used THE LAST of the chicken to make a chicken pot pie.  I made the easy version, using pre-made pie crusts and canned mixed veggies.  It turned out great!
This recipe served me, Tad, and Vera, plus provided us with leftovers for another whole meal!

The end!  I ended up using my $8 rotisserie chicken to make eight different recipes, which (including leftovers) actually was 23 servings (not counting Vera's)!  I know I could have saved more money by cooking the chicken myself (I saw roasters for about $4 at Aldi today), so maybe I'll do that next time.  But this was so convenient and easy and still ended up being quite cost efficient! 

What are your favorite recipes for stretching a chicken?

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11 comments:

  1. Thats awesome! SAMS btw has those chickens for like $5 and they are twice the size as walmart or foodlions. ;-) Not sure if you can use the church card, but if so buy those, and freeze them. My dad does that a lot. He just freezes it in container it comes in.

    I doubt one would last our family 5 meals since we have 3 hungry boys on our hands plus travis ;) - but i love the recipes you posted!

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  2. Great ideas! I'm always looking for some good chicken recipes - and I can't wait to try some of these (like that pizza - yum!) Oh- and that Caprese Chicken salad is lunch today!

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  3. That must have been one big chicken! I usually make ours stretch for about 6 meals, but I do cook it from scratch. We get a bunch of chickens from the Hutterites for a good price.

    Or maybe it's what Drea said... three hungry kids plus a husband who loves to eat :)

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  4. The pizza looks delic! We will definitely have to try this one. Good job with stretching it SO far!

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  5. Wow! What an accomplishment! I love your creativity and thriftiness...and I especially love the pictures you took. They're making me hungry right now. :)

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  6. Wow - I am so impressed! Everything looks wonderful! What a great challenge - you shall be great for our Retreat Challenge Cookoff! HA!

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  7. Anonymous was really me - Grammy!

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  8. I am so impressed with how far you stretched that! I am going to take this idea and run with it for Jeremy and I. Anything we can stretch out that far will be perfect. :)

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  9. my goodness...i am so impressed. i always think i am going to do something like this and then we gorge on the chicken and there is nothing leftover! thank you for sharing these beautiful and tasty ideas with tuesday night supper club!

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  10. I came back to find this post because we have been eating a lot of chicken lately! We ran out of grass fed beef and I can't get any for a while. Thankfully I have a freezer full of whole chickens! I have one in my crockpot right now. I'm thinking today will be chicken and gravy over biscuits. And I'm not even southern ;)

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