Saturday, December 12, 2015

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner(s)!

Did you know that you can buy an entire chicken at the grocery story for less than $6? Well, you can. And if you are willing to put up with a little home butchering, it can make enough food to last you almost a week. I bought a chicken last weekend for our Sunday meal, and used the last of it just yesterday. This is a huge help when you are trying to mitigate the expensive cost of meat in your grocery budget.

First, it needs a little work. I roasted the chicken for our weekend dinner, and I always butterfly it because it cooks faster that way. I'm not going to sugarcoat it--butterflying a chicken is kind of gross. Really gross, actually. But if you can overcome your squeamishness, it cooks great. There are a lot of great tutorials for doing this on YouTube, but here is how I did it. 
Step 1: Remove the giblets (the heart, neck, and gizzard). This is disgusting because you must reach into a dead animal and pull out its organs. But once they are out, you can throw them away, or use them to make giblet gravy! 

Here are the removed giblets. I know, yuck.

Step 2: Locate the tail and lift it up. Then, with kitchen scissors (or a knife, but seriously, scissors make it so much easier), cut down the length of the bird in a V shape, on either side of the spine. It will be a little hard, and will sound very crunchy. Brace yourself for that.

Step 3: Channel your favorite Game of Thrones character, and use your hands to rip the spine from the body. 

This is what it looks like when the spine has been removed. 

Step 4: Turn the chicken over so the spine hole is facing down. Again, channel a barbarian and use your hands to press downward, cracking the rest of the bones and flattening the chicken. Congratulations! The chicken is now butterflied.

Now you want to get the chicken ready to cook. So throw away all the gross stuff, put the chicken in a roasting pan, and then mix up some herb butter. I have used a mix of salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and herbs de Provence. 

When the butter is mixed, pat it all over the top of the chicken.

And put some under the skin also. Keeps it nice and moist! 

This is my chicken with butter smeared all over it. It will melt and coat everything and make the skin delicious as it roasts.

Then add some veggies. I added carrots, shallots, and a few heads of garlic. Yum! 

Roast the chicken at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. If you have it, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a leg to make sure it's done. Or be like me and just cut into it with a knife to check the color. 

Serve it up with some mashed potatoes, and make sure you drizzle some chicken sauce from the bottom of the pan all over the top of everything! You have now completed Dinner #1! 

So the next night, we still had plenty of chicken leftover, so we decided to make chicken pot pie! I used Pioneer Woman's recipe, because let's be honest, the woman knows what she's doing. But here's the step by step: 

First cook some celery, onion, and carrot in a large pan. 

Add in the chicken! 

Add in chicken broth! 

Add in heavy cream! (I think PW calls for 1/2 & 1/2, but I'm more hardcore than that.)

Put a pie crust in a deep pie pan, and add the warm filing. (I used frozen Pillsbury crust and it worked just fine!) 

Add another pie crust to the top of the pie! Brush the whole top with egg wash to make sure it gets nice and golden brown! 

Again, bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes and this is how it comes out! 

Eat it all up! This was delicious, and the pie actually lasted us for two days! Dinner #2 (and #3) down! 

So by this point I didn't have a ton of chicken left, but it was still too much to justify throwing anything away. So for lunch one day I decided to make chicken salad. Yum! 

Start with what's left of the chicken, and shred it up real good! 

I added chopped pecans, green grapes, mayo w/ olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Just throw it all in the bowl. If you want to use walnuts, use walnuts. If you like purple grapes, use purple grapes. You can also use greek yogurt instead of mayo. 

Mix it all together with a fork! Definitely use a fork. It works better. 

Pile that chicken salad high on some whole wheat bread! No garnishes necessary (although, if you like fancy sandwiches you could always add lettuce). It's delicious! Also, I had enough chicken salad for two sandwiches so, BAM! Lunch two days in a row! 

And that is how I basically fed my family for a whole week using only one chicken. A chicken that cost me $5.25 at the grocery store. Was the initial butchering pretty gross? Yeah. But in the end it was totally worth it. Give it a try! 

How else do you like to use chicken? I like to also make Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken Enchiladas, and Fried Chicken Tacos. You could use a home-roasted chicken for any of that stuff. 

1 comment:

  1. I've recently discovered the ease and tastiness of roasting chicken also! This past week we ate it first with parsnips, then mixed in macaroni and cheese, and the rest cold for lunches and snacks. We've also put it on homemade pizza.