Guest Post: How to get 3 meals out of a 6 dollar chicken by Rungster

Gosh, I’m so excited to be guest blogging on Simple Thrift that my fingers are shaking! Thank goodness for spell check!

This is part of a “coming out” of sorts for me as I have been a closet tightwad for years. The recession, however, is making it chic to be cheap, plus the

Photo credit: Martin Kingsley

Photo credit: Martin Kingsley

environmental mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” is as much about thriftiness as it is about being green. It all comes down to protecting resources, whether they are in nature or in our wallets.
The nice thing about my “coming out” is sharing my tightwad tips with others. This week, my heart’s aflutter over a sale of oven stuffer roasters for 86 cents a pound. With a 7 pound bird ($6), I can make two meals, generously serving a family of four, with a bonus of four quarts of chicken stock. Here’s how I do it:

Meal #1 is roasted chicken (season with salt and pepper, bake at 350 degrees as directed on wrapper), served with your choice of starch and vegetables.

For meal #2, chop the leftover meat and toss with a jar of Alfred sauce or cream soup (mushroom, chicken or celery works well). Add steamed broccoli, green beans, or mixed vegetables, and serve over noodles, rice, or pasta.

For the stock, place the carcass in a large soup pot, removing any visible fat or skin, and cover with cold water (about 5 quarts). Toss in some peppercorns and about 3 tablespoons of salt. I like to also add a teaspoon each of thyme and parsley or whatever herbs suit my fancy. Now add carrot peels, onions and their peels (yes, the unspoiled brown skin that usually gets tossed – it adds a nice rich brown color), and celery tops and/or ends for a total of about 4 cups of vegetables.

In fact, it’s a good idea to start saving these scraps in the freezer now, so when you are ready to make stock, you have a bag of scraps ready to toss in. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 2 hours. Adjust the seasonings and strain (preferably through cheesecloth to make a clear stock), saving the extra chicken meat and discarding the bones. The veggies can be composted or added to dog food. I know of others who mash the carrots for baby food.

I like to freeze the stock by the quart, keeping one in the refrigerator to make rice, gravy or sauces. To make soup from the stock, just add diced vegetables, leftover chicken, rice and or noodles, and heat until vegetables are cooked through.

Nothing beats the comforting aroma of stock on the stove and you can’t beat the taste or price. Check out my blog: Rungster for upcoming tips and ideas.

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