We eat a whole lot of chicken in our family. There are several reasons why: Chicken is versatile, it’s affordable, and my daughter will actually eat it! Yes, all good, nay, great reasons. But here is my favorite thing about chicken: We can buy one chicken and create three meals from it.
First, I should mention that our family is small -- there are just three of us. So this whole one chicken = three meals thing only works for families consisting of three or four members. If you have a large brood, you’ll need to use two or more chickens.
Here's how to create three vastly different meals with just one chicken.
Meal #1: Roast Chicken
One of the most satisfying yet simple meals is a perfectly cooked roast chicken. And the best thing? It’s ridiculously easy to make.
1 whole chicken (about 5 or 6 pounds)
1 onion cut into chunks
4 medium potatoes (I prefer Yukon Gold) cut into chunks. (I like to keep the skin on.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Rinse off the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper; season the inside of the chicken too.
Place in a roasting pan.
Set timer for 45 minutes. While that is roasting, mix the onions and potatoes in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. When the timer goes off, throw in the prepared onions and potatoes and stir around in the chicken drippings. Set the time for another 45 minutes.
The chicken is done once the juices are clear when you cut it between the leg and thigh. Let sit for 10 minutes or so before you serve.
When you carve the chicken, make sure to retain some of the meat for meal number two -- about a cup or two -- and store in the fridge.
Serve with the potatoes, onions, and a vegetable side of your choice.
Make sure to package up and refrigerate the chicken carcass.
Meal #2: Lunch of Your Choice
There are many ways you can use leftover chicken for lunch. Some of our favorites include chicken salad sandwiches (just mix diced chicken with mayo, celery, salt, and pepper -- and I like to add in a mustard and diced pickles), quesadillas (melt your favorite cheese on a flour tortilla, add chicken, and fold over), or a simple salad (dice the chicken and toss with lettuce, cubed cheese, and dressing).
Meal #3: Chicken Noodle Soup
Ingredients for stock:
1 chicken carcass
1 chopped onion
2 chopped carrots
2 chopped stalks of celery
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a heavy bottomed soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add carrots, celery, and salt and pepper. Pour in cold water to cover carcass. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 hours. Then strain the soup, reserve, and discard the bones and vegetables.
Ingredients for chicken noodle soup:
The reserved broth
1 diced onion
2 diced carrots
1 diced stalks of celery
½ pound spaghetti, broken in half
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a pan. In the same heavy bottomed soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add diced carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes until the carrots and celery are getting soft. Bring to a boil again and then add in spaghetti.Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until the spaghetti is done. Serve.
Have you ever created three meals from one chicken?
Image via Lucas Richarz/Flickr