4 Meals from a 4-lb Chicken
Yes, you can buy a whole chicken at Walmart or Costco for less than $10, so why would you spend double that?!
A quality, pasture-raised bird, as expensive as it is, provides more nutrients than a conventional bird. A healthy pasture-raised chicken with access to a natural diet and fresh air and sunshine is richer in beta carotene, retinol, and omega-3 fatty acids than its factory-farmed counterpart. Our pastured chickens are also free of antibiotics, hormones, steroids, and chemicals. You can check out how we raise our chickens here and here.
With a little planning and creativity, a single, good-quality bird can provide up to 4 meals for a family of conscientious eaters. Read on for a little inspiration...
Meal #1 - Roast Chicken
Keep it simple with a one-dish meal! Generously sprinkle the skin with whatever seasonings you prefer (I like poultry seasoning and/or sage, basil, and onion powder) and roast in a pan lined with whatever vegetables you like or that are in season. If you're planning to get the most bang for you buck, take care to carve it well and serve small portions. For example, two medium-sized slices of breast meat and two drumsticks should feed a family of four if you include plenty of vegetables and maybe a salad or baked potato. The remaining breast meat, back meat, and thighs can be saved for other meals. The bones can be simmered (on the stove or in the oven or crockpot) overnight or even for a few days to make a delicious, nutritious bone broth.
Meal #2 - Chicken Salad
Use about 2 cups of the leftover meat to make a simple chicken salad. Dice the meat and add mayo (and mustard if you like), or dressing of your choice, and a dash of salt. You can extend the meat by adding any or several of the following: celery, onion, shredded carrots, grapes, diced apples, raisins, nuts, etc. Serve on bread or buns, add chips, carrot and celery sticks, or other finger food to round out the meal.
Other options for Meal #2: Shepard's pie (mix chicken with veggies and gravy, put in a casserole dish, top with mashed potatoes and bake), BBQ chicken sandwiches (add homemade or bottled BBQ sauce and serve in buns), cheesy chicken casserole with rice or noodles, add chicken to mixed greens and other salady stuff for a main dish salad...use your creativity!
Meal #3 - Soup
The possibilities are endless...White Bean and Chicken Chili, Turkey Butternut Squash Soup (recipe at this blog post...just substitute chicken for turkey), a Tex-Mex or Chicken Taco soup.
Meal #4 - and more Soup!!
Use that wonderful broth you've been simmering as a base for a comforting and nourishing vegetable soup. Add homemade cornbread, and there ya go...four meals from a 4-5 pound chicken!