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I cook for two people and get 3 meals from a $5 rotisserie chicken. Sometimes I could get a cheaper price on a raw chicken, but this has to do with time. The thigh/drums (2) make the meat part of one meal, sometimes with boiled potatoes.
The two breast halves make chicken salad with the addition of celery, onion, apple or pear, or dried cranberries (something sweetish), mayo (not much) and pickle (less). It's up to you. I've made it with cream cheese, mayo, and marshmallow. It all depends what you or other people want.
The third meal is soup with refrigerator and freezer scraps, usually with leftover rice or pasta and toasted cheese breads. I don't feel extravagant about buying deli because I can stretch it. Those with more eaters might get a pack of drums or quarters and bake them the first night while you get (future) eaters to cut up the stuff for chicken salad.
By tennesue from Bristol, TN
Check your local grocery stores to find when their rotisserie chickens are on sale (our local Harris Teeter discounts them every Sunday). My husband and I get three filling meals from one chicken. Sometimes his mom joins us and there's enough to share.
First Meal: We split the breast, add a baked potato and a can of green beans and have a filling, nutritious meal.
Second Meal: I put the remaining chicken (the whole carcass) in a large pot and cover it with water - adding a sprig of rosemary (optional). Cook it until the meat practically falls off the bone. Save the broth. Cut up the remaining pieces and use them to make a simple, yet delicious chicken pie.
Chicken Pie Recipe: Put the cut-up chicken in a 9x13 inch casserole dish. (Reserve a half to one cup of the smallest bits of chicken to use for the third meal.) Drain a can of mixed vegetables and pour it over the chicken. In a saucepan, mix 2 cups of the chicken broth and 1 can undiluted cream of celery soup and bring to a boil. Pour this mixture over the vegetables and chicken. Mix 1 stick of melted margarine or butter, 1 cup buttermilk or sweet milk, 1 cup of self-rising flour, and one-half teaspoon of salt in a separate bowl. Spoon the dough mixture over top of casserole. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is done.
Third Meal: Put the remainder of the broth and the small chicken bits left from meal two into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cut up carrots, celery, onions, peas, or whatever vegetables you have on hand. I put the carrots in first since they take a little longer to get tender. Add uncooked white rice, season with whatever spices you like (a little salt, pepper, thyme, etc.) and cook for about 20-25 minutes.
The amount of rice you add depends on how thick you want the "soup" to be. My family likes it to be thicker than a true soup, so I use a cup of raw rice to 2 cups of the broth mixture. You now have three deliciously different meals with little effort or expense. Both the chicken pie and the chicken and rice can be cooked and frozen to be brought out later.
By Sandy B. from Elon, NC
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.
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.
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There are only two of us so this usually goes a long way. I will buy a cooked chicken at Sam's Club and use it that evening for our first meal. I will then take all the leftover meat and cut off half of it and cube it for a pot pie.
For Two Pot Pies, use the following ingredients:
I usually put the bottom crusts into the pie pans then boil the mixed vegetables and potatoes and onions until just starting to soften. I then pour off most of the water and add in the 2 cans of creamed soups. I then add the chicken and divide into the two pie crusts. (These make two deep crust pies). Put top crusts on. To be a little creative, I will take cookie cutters and cut out shapes around the center and them put the cut out shape back on top of the solid crust area. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until golden brown on top. One can be frozen for future use and one can be eaten right away.
The second half of the leftover rotisserie chicken can either be used in a chicken salad, I like curried with grapes and almonds, or boil the rest (including the bones) to be used in soup/stew. Again, our favorite is more a stew where I boil the chicken till it falls off the bones, add carrots to the chicken while it's boiling (I usually use 3/4's of a small bag of "baby carrots". I also either add fresh onion chunks or will add a jar of boiled onions at the end. Once the bones and fat and skin are all skimmed off and removed and thrown away, I then add the following: celery, frozen or fresh corn, and, depending on whether I want stew or soup, I will either add some chicken bouillon to make the broth richer or I will again use the cream soups to make it thicker and richer. I have also made it with potatoes for one style and cooked rice for another style, again depending on moods. I've also added chopped cabbage to give it another flavoring and filler. As you can see, a rotisserie chicken goes a long way.
By Julia from Richmond VA
Another idea--watch your supermarket's refrigerator or deli shelves. Mine here will put "day old" rotisserie chickens there and mark them down by 1/2. I frequently buy a whole cooked chicken for $2.50! And since we typically refrigerate them anyway, before we eat them, buying it cold is no problem. With our family of 7 it doesn't last long, but for that price! (07/03/2007)