Meat is expensive! Stretching your meat to last for several meals can really help extend your grocery dollars. With just a little pre-planning, you can easily get more than one meal out of a chicken. The secret? Using chicken in dishes, not as the star of the table.
Here’s an easy to follow plan to get four meals out of a single bird. It’s important to note that in order to work this plan, you’ll need to buy a whole chicken. None of those boneless, skinless packages.
Cook the Entire Chicken
Since all of these meals call for cooked chicken, you’ll maximize your time by cooking the whole chicken at once. You can roast it in the oven at 325 degrees for approximately 20 minutes per pound. The chicken is done when it reaches 165 degrees at the thigh.
Once your chicken is cooked, let it cool a bit. Then, take the meat off the bone. You’ll want to get as much meat off as you can. Don’t forget the meat on the wings!
Store this meat in cup sized portions in quart Ziploc style bags. And don’t throw away the bones — you’ll use those to create a healthy, flavorful broth for meal four. To do that, put the bones in your slow cooker and cover with water. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and let cook on low all day. Then strain out the broth and store covered in the fridge.
Meal #1: Chicken Enchiladas
Combine a cup of cooked, diced chicken with a cup of sour cream and a can of cream of chicken soup. Then, drain a can of black beans and stir those in as well.
Take a flour tortilla and spread ¼ cup of filling along the middle. Roll tightly, and place in a greased 8×8 pan. Continue filling and rolling tortillas until your filling runs out (you should be able to fill 8).
On top of all of your rolled enchiladas, spread another ½ cup of sour cream that you’ve mixed with a teaspoon of taco seasoning. Sprinkle a cup of grated cheese on top, and bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.
Meal #2: Green Salad with Grilled Diced Chicken
A little bit of grilled chicken takes a plain salad and transforms it into a scrumptious main dish. You’ll want to heat up your cooled, cooked chicken in a frying pan with a little bit of butter and stir occasionally. You’ll get a lovely texture as the meat warms.
Take the chicken off the heat and let it sit for a minute while you assemble your salad. Start with four cups of your favorite salad greens. Dice up a tomato, chop a carrot and add any other veggies you have on hand.
Toss all of your salad ingredients together and dress with your favorite dressing. After you plate the salad, add cooked chicken to each.
Meal #3: Chicken & Rice
A simple meal, chicken and rice comes together quickly. You’ll want to start by cooking 2 cups of rice. You can either use a rice cooker, or follow the directions on the package.
While your rice cooks, you’ll make a simple white sauce. In a sauce pan, melt ¼ cup of butter. Once it melts, add ¼ cup of flour. Whisk until smooth, and let it cook for two minutes. Then, slowly stir in two cups of milk. Continue heating over medium heat, while you stir until it is thick.
Once the sauce thickens, add a cup of cooked, diced chicken. Turn down the heat and let simmer until your rice is done.
Stir the rice and sauce mixture together. Season with some salt and pepper and enjoy with a side of vegetables.
Meal #4: Chicken Soup
Sautee a diced carrot and sliced celery stick in a little butter in the bottom of a soup pot. Once the vegetables start to get tender, add the chicken broth you made earlier. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Then, add in any remaining chicken. You’ll want to cook some egg noodles in a separate pot of water, and add those at the end.
What’s your favorite chicken-stretching recipe? Let the readers at SideMoney know in the comments section below.