Ways to Use a Whole Chicken: This Meal Prep Idea Will Save You Money & Turn One Chicken Into Four Meals by Dawn Taylor

Cooking Tips
3 years ago

Ways to Use a Whole Chicken: This Meal Prep Idea Will Save You Money & Turn One Chicken Into Four Meals

At least a few times a month I purchase a whole chicken. I wait until it goes on sale (it’s not typically too pricey but every dollar counts) then I cook it and wait for it to cool enough to tear it apart. It’s not for dinner, at least not tonight.

The meat falls right off the bone when it’s still a tad warm. I pull all the white and dark meat off and put it into a plastic container with a tight lid. After that, I get a strainer and large bowl. The strainer sits in the large bowl and the carcass of the whole chicken, bones and all is then dumped right from the baking dish into the strainer with all the juices from cooking. The bowl catches all the juices and bits from the chicken and is then transferred to a food container with a lid.

Why all this work when it’s not for dinner? It is going to be added to dinner at a later date – or dates. Forget Hamburger Helper, this is chicken helper. It’ll save you money, yes, but so much time! And it’s healthier than many convenience meals.

Tonight I cooked a 5-pound whole chicken and will easily use it for four meals looking ahead. Here’s some ways I use the chicken:

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Tacos

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Pizza

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Chicken Salad

Chicken Stir Fry

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Chicken Casseroles

Chicken Sandwiches

Chicken and Pasta

You get the idea. Endless possibilities! The broth can be used just like chicken stock for cooking. When I purchase it, it usually is a dollar or two and loaded with sodium. Here's a few more tips:

  • Budgeting: The cost of that 5-pound chicken? $3.62 on sale.
  • How to Cook the Chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes per pound until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Alternative to Chicken: Whole turkeys work great as well but it’s a little more time consuming if you buy a large turkey. Same thing, wait for a sale and you’ll get several meals from one turkey.

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Elisa Schmitz
OK, this is just genius, Dawn Taylor . I have made a whole chicken before (and recently made one for my parents, too), but never got this creative with the recipes. Thanks for the brilliant ideas! #yum
Dawn Taylor
Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds You're welcome!
I am thawing one as we speak and tonight will be chicken soup for a crisp fall day. One of my favorites from a whole chicken! I will write a separate tip for turkey meal ideas. Chicken goes a long way and I like the taste of the whole chickens for some reason, they are always so juicy and tender.
This is so smart.
Dawn Taylor
It is so helpful for meal planning, I am doing it as we speak. Chicken soup up first!

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