Stretch Your Food Budget: Cook a Whole Chicken and Make Simple Homemade Chicken Broth

12 Nov


Are you looking for a frugal yet healthy way to stretch your food budget this week?  Rather than purchasing chicken breasts this week buy a whole chicken.  That’s right a whole chicken that even has bones. 😮  Don’t be scared it’s really not as hard as it sounds.  Once you taste chicken cooked on the bone you will have a hard time going back to plain boneless skinless chicken breast.  I’m not sure how but cooking meat on the bone always seems to make it taste better.

Thaw your chicken (if it was frozen to start with). Rinse the chicken and pat dry.

I like to rinse the inside of the cavity and pat it dry.

Then I like to add a chicken rub or personal blend of spices. Currently we enjoy a type of chicken rub you would use if you were grilling. You could also just use some poultry seasoning and maybe stuff a lemon in the cavity.

Gently lift up the skin and rub spices on the chicken breasts. An easy way to do this is to loosen the skin and then pour some of the spices on. This is a great way to season the chicken. We just started adding spices a couple months ago and it tastes so much better. We do not eat the skin and this locks in all of the seasoning.

Lastly drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto the skin. Rub it in kind of if like you rub in sunscreen.

Bake at 375 for about 1 hour until the juices run clear or a meat thermometer reads at least 165. (insert in the meatiest part of the bird) Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

After enjoying your delicious chicken for dinner let the chicken cool.  Then I pick up all of the meat off of the bone.  I like to chop it into small pieces, place in a container, and refrigerate.  (If you are pressed for time you can also place the entire chicken in the refrigerator and pick it off the next day.)  If I know that I will not be cooking it all within the next couple of days then I freeze the chicken in 1 cup servings in a labeled bag.  We usually make three more meals out of the remaining chicken.  The possibilities are endless.  Not only does this save you a bundle of money but it is delicious!  To stretch the budget even farther make your own chicken broth.

How to Make Homemade Chicken Broth

Place all of the bones and carcass in the largest crock pot you have.

Then add: 1 chopped onion, 1-2 carrots, celery stalk, a potato, and any other vegetable scraps you might have.  I just happened to have a lot of mushrooms that needed to be used up so they made it into the stock too.  I like to keep a container in the fridge/freezer for vegetable scraps.  This is both frugal and saves time too.  Then when it is time to make broth I can use them up. 

Add your favorite seasonings: I like garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, etc. Fill the crockpot with filtered water all the way up. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Cover and allow to sit for 1 hour. This allows the nutrients from the bones to be released into the broth.

Turn on low for 16-24 hours.  I usually make a chicken for dinner and then turn off the crock pot somewhere the next afternoon.  Let the broth cool slightly and then strain.  I put a large bowl in my sink with a colander on top.  This makes it easy to remove the bones/vegetables.  Refrigerate the broth and use to make excellent soups or rice.  Stay tuned for more simple healthy recipes that use chopped chicken. 🙂

One Response to “Stretch Your Food Budget: Cook a Whole Chicken and Make Simple Homemade Chicken Broth”

  1. Bettie Steiger November 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Amanda, I am so proud of you. You must be a wonderful cook! I know Brandon loves
    that, since his mom doesn’t cook. I like that you are also thrifty. I once loved to cook
    when I had a family. It’s harder when you live alone. I would love to have your
    Lauzonia (sp) recipe. Also, any others that you think I could use …..not too hard.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you all at Thanksgiving. Much love, meme

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