Friday, July 24, 2009

How to Frugally Stretch A Chicken

Just read this article which states Campbell’s soup plunged 7% in the past quarter due to the economy. Seems people are thinking a can of soup does not fill them up unless they have a sandwich to go with it. To cut costs, people are skipping the soup.,28804,1911974_1911972_1911955,00.html

I like to make my own soup. I will eat some, freeze some and can some depending on what I am doing that week. I look for specials in the grocery store to inspire my soups.

About every 5 weeks the local grocery stores offer whole chicken at .49-.89 a pound. Cheap chicken is a leader which means it entices shoppers to go to the store. I always stock up on chickens at sale time and if I am not going to cook them immediately I put them into the freezer. Six chickens will take me through a month of chicken recipes.

Here is my stretch a chicken process.

canned chicken, canned stock, canned stock with chicken, canned soup or chicken goop

1. I thaw 2 whole chickens, clean them by rinsing them out and remove the neck and gizzards. Personally, I do not like the gizzards but Mister T., my dachshund loves them. I boil them up for him and he feasts on them for his dinner mixed with a little brown rice and grated carrot. No dog food from a can for him!

2. Put the chickens into a large roasting pan. I season the birds by putting fresh sage from the garden under the skin and some herbs like rosemary or oregano or thyme into the cavity of the bird. Dress with salt and pepper and roast. Put a cup and a half of water into the pan to partially steam the chicken and keep it moist. Cook in a 350 degree oven for

Chicken Roasting times (unstuffed)
2½ - 3 lbs 1 to 1 3/4 hrs
3½ - 4 lbs 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hrs
4½ - 5 lbs 1 1/2 to 2 hrs
5 - 6 lbs 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hrs
© Copyright 2001-2009

3. Enjoy a chicken dinner.

4. After dinner when the chickens are cool, pick off the meat and put into a bowl. Remove the skin and extra fat and discard. You will have 2-4 cups of cooked chicken.

5. Take the bones (there will still be meat on the bones and carcass) and put into a stockpot. Cover with water. Add herbs to taste. I always add garlic and a cut up onion. Bring to a boil them simmer for an hour covered.

6. Pour stock through a colander then pour back into the stock pot and skim off any excess fat. When the carcass is cool pick again for additional bits of meat. Now you have a great stock. At this point you can make soup or can the stock. To can the stock you must use a pressure canner and cook pints for 75 minutes at 10 psi or quarts for 90 minutes at 10 psi (check your altitude and adjust accordingly). Voila! Homemade stock.

7. To make soup add a cup of the cooked diced chicken (same some for another meal like chicken enchiladas or chicken casserole), chopped vegetables (use what you like and have available like celery, onion, zucchini, green beans, corn, carrots, peppers), add cooked rice, pasta, noodles or leftover stuffing (if you like thick soups the rice and pasta can be cooked in the soup. The starch will thicken the soup) season with herbs, salt, pepper, hot sauce, garlic and if soup is not chickeny enough add a teaspoon of chicken bullion (tip: buy bullion in large plastic containers at a restaurant supply store which is much less expensive than those little packaged squares). The amount of vegetables and rice or pasta you add will depend on how many in your family and how much soup you want to make. If I make a huge soup I can or freeze some. When canning use pint jars for single servings to take to work and quarts for better storage. Warning. If you can soup with rice or pasta you might end up with goop. “Goop” is a technical term for soup that has absorbed most of the stock. Again I like goop so it is ok with me. If you don’t like goop, make your soup without the rice or pasta and add later when you open the jar and heat the soup. Sometimes a package of ramen noodles is yummy in home made soup. Personal preference.

So, two chickens have given me roasted dinner for two, enough soup for two meals again for two and chicken for a casserole for two for dinner and leftovers for lunch. I figure that is easily 10 meals and I am a big eater. So if the chickens were less than $3 a piece that is $6. $6 divided by 10 meals is .60 a meal for meat. Now I call that stretching a chicken. There is also enough chicken to share with Mister T. as well. He loves what we call chicky chicky!

Mister T


margearm said...

Oh - memories of my first chicken soup - think I put 2 cups of uncooked rice in - I had rice goop all over the stove. This makes me want to make a soup!!

margearm said...

oh yeah - Mr. T is a handsome devil!!!

Frugal Canner said...

But wasn't that goop delicious? Mine is always yummy. I always make it that way now. Yes, Mister T is handsome and my number one fella! He is my constant companion. Ha I never in a million years thought I would be sleeping with a dog but I can't imagine any other way now.

Serina Tustin said...

Okay, question. I thought you weren't suppose to can anything with rice or pasta in it since the home pressure canners do not reach a high enough tempurature &/or pressure to kill off the micro-organisms that could potentially cause botulism. Have you never had a problem with that? I always canned my chicken soup with just the broth, meat and veggies, then added the rice or noodles when I heated it through.
Oh, I have a mini-daschund named Lady Sophia. Aren't daschunds the best?