Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to get 3 days of meals from one chicken

Buying and roasting a chicken is one of the simplest, most frugal things that I do. I buy a 4 pound, organic, free-range roasting chicken for $12 using my grocery service. This chicken forms the basis of 3 dinners for my husband and I, 2 lunches for me, and a greatly appreciated dog treat for our 2 girls.

The chicken

1. Thaw the chicken either in the fridge or in a bowl of ice water.
2. Soak the chicken for 2 hours in salted water with lemon juice and vinegar.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. Place the chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan. Salt and season as desired. Sometimes I put lemon halves and/or whole peeled onions inside the cavity.
5. Roast the chicken with the lid on for 1.5 hours. Take the lid off and roast for another half an hour.

That's it! You can use the drippings to make gravy if you wish.

Day 1

I serve the chicken with a starch and 2 or 3 vegetables. My husband prefers rice and I prefer to experiment with grains such as Quinoa. Sometimes I will do a simple pesto pasta and we'll share that.

I package 2 small containers for lunches for myself, and I put together plates or bowls for the next night's meals. I also package a small amount of chicken to be used in dinner on day 3.

As I am carving the chicken, I will put aside the odd bits of meat and skin for our dogs.

Day 2

I have leftovers for lunch and we both have leftovers for dinner. I might cook different vegetables or have salad instead.

Day 3

I have leftovers again for lunch. Sometimes I will decide to only have some chicken with salad. For dinner, I will use the small package of leftover chicken as the basis for a simple meal. Some things I have tried are: tacos, pizza, quick soup and stir fry.

This makes for a very easy week of cooking for me. I did this today actually, because I know I'm going to be pooped this week, while I get back into the groove after being off work for 2 weeks.

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