One Chicken, Three Meals

Shaunta Alburger

Before we started on our quest to get the most for our grocery dollar, we wasted a lot of our meat budget. I'd stick left-overs in the fridge until they could have gotten up and thrown themselves away. Sometimes (not often, but more than once) I'd buy meat and never get around to cooking it at all.

My favorite grocery store had whole chickens on sale recently for fifty-nine cents a pound. Here's how I managed to get three meals for a family of four (and an infant) out of one three-pound, $1.77 chicken.

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First I roasted the chicken. My favorite way to roast a chicken is to rub butter or margarine on the outside and sprinkle with lemon pepper. It's never a good idea to cook stuffing inside poultry because it doesn't get hot enough to kill all bacteria. I like to put a couple of onions inside the chicken for flavor, and cook my stuffing on the side. I usually roast a chicken at 350 degrees for an hour. Use a meat thermometer (I got mine at the dollar store), food poisoning is no fun. Poultry is done at 180 degrees.

The first night we had roasted chicken and stuffing, slicing the chicken rather than cutting it into pieces.

After dinner I took off all the rest of the chicken meat I could manage. Maybe two cups. Two nights later this meat became chicken fried rice. Just sauté a chopped onion and the left over chicken in a large skillet until the onion is translucent (but not browned), add four cups of cooked rice (it's best if the rice is cold), a little more oil and about a quarter cup of soy sauce. I also like to add a can of peas, fresh carrots (sauted with the onion and chicken) and scrambled eggs.

Finally, I boiled the chicken bones and made soup. If you make a habit of keeping a container in your freezer for any left over bits of rice, vegetables and meat, you can add all that to your fresh broth. Yum!

There are lots of ways to use left-over meat so that it doesn't go to waste. One of our favorites is making left-over pies. Take a roll of refrigerator biscuits, and roll each one to about a quarter of an inch thick. Put left over meat and vegetables, plus a binder (like cheese or marinara sauce) on one half. Fold over and pinch the edges closed so that you have a half-circle. Make three small slits in the top and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until browned.

Comments

April 21, 20060 found this helpful

I also like to make chicken quesadillas with leftover chicken. Just put a tortilla in a non-stick frying pan or griddle and sprinkle some cheese over it. Next put a layer of diced chicken. Then another layer of cheese. (The two layers of cheese help "glue" it together when it is flipped.) Then add another tortilla. When the bottom tortilla is browned flip it over and brown the other side. Cut in wedges and serve with salsa, sour cream and lettuce.

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