There are so many benefits to buying whole chicken vs. chicken breasts, thighs and other parts. And don’t worry, butchering the chicken yourself is easy peasy, just watch the video.
First and foremost – price. At Costco, organic whole chicken costs $2.49/lb vs. chicken breasts at $5.99/lb – that’s twice the savings.
Secondly, all those bones that make flavourful chicken broth.
Thirdly, you can stretch whole chicken for 3 – 5 meals. You can make twice more chicken broth than I did by simply using a bigger pot with more water, or use 1 chicken breast instead of 2 for the salad.
Dinner #1 Stew, Bake or BBQ
2 chicken legs and 2 chicken wings go a long way. My grandma was able to make a meal to serve 4 people twice with this amount of meat by preparing pirogies, gravy meat sauce over mashed potatoes, or meat stuffed potato cakes. If you don’t make meat a centre of the meal but rather a condiment, you can do the same with recipes below. I do it – not so much for money reasons anymore but rather for health – as North Americans we eat way too much meat!
Either cook chicken parts whole and then shred into smaller pieces (stew and skillets), or cut legs into thighs and drumsticks.
Dinner #2 Soup
Chicken stock with bones or so called bone broth is a perfect base for any soup. If recipe calls for chicken broth + chicken breasts, don’t think twice and just use the leftover broth with a few bones in it. When ready to serve, I place a plate for bones in the middle of the table – trust me, everyone loves to suck on meat bones (as unappealing as it sounds).
And what about soup for dinner? And what about it?! It’s widely used concept around the world – liquids fill up the belly, fridge gets cleaned out and wallet has enough money for a vacation. Don’t think that every dinner has to be a restaurant style meal- that’s a treat.
How to Make Chicken Stock
- Whole onion, peeled
- 3-5 bay leaves
- 3-5 peppercorns
- Water, cold
- In a large pot, add chicken, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and enough cold water to cover the chicken.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce heat to medium and move lid to a side a bit but don't remove completely. Cook for 1 hour, skimming foam with a mesh strainer occasionally.
- Discard onion, bay leaves and peppercorns. Voila, clear chicken stock to make your favourite soup is ready!
Dinner #3 Salad
Cooked shredded chicken breast is perfect for salads, and when mixed with lots of vegetables, nuts, herbs, spices and Greek yogurt, it is quite a healthy meal. Serve in a whole grain sandwich, or meal prep style with quinoa or brown rice, and veggies.