Frugal Living: Frugal Cooking With Whole Chicken

One of the ways we've saved money this year is by buying whole chicken.  I'll admit I was not very excited about the idea at first; the thought of touching raw meat and removing the gizzards made me a little queasy. But I couldn't ignore the $.99/lb. sale price that I find about every 2-3 weeks and before long I was an old pro at cooking whole chicken.

Cooking A Whole Chicken
A 5 to 6 pound chicken is usually enough for one meal with leftovers for 2 or 3 more meals for our small family of 4.

Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot
I have tried a few different recipes for cooking a whole chicken and this one is my favorite go-to recipe.  It's so easy and uses ingredients that I always have on hand.  Be sure to adjust the cooking times to your particular slow cooker; I have noticed that my slow cooker usually cooks much faster than the cooking time on the recipe.

Overnight Chicken Broth in Crock Pot
After I cook the chicken, I make chicken broth with the chicken scraps.  Just throw the bones and skin back into the slow cooker, add an onion and a few spices (I substitute with dried), set it on low and let it cook overnight!  In the morning you will have a healthy and delicious broth to use in soups and other recipes.

Instead of filling up the slow cooker with water as the recipe says, I usually only add 5 - 6 cups of water for a richer broth.  I've read that adding vinegar helps remove minerals from the bones, so I add a couple of teaspoons of vinegar as well.

Leftover Chicken Recipes
In order to make the leftover chicken stretch farther, I ignore the amount of chicken suggested in the following recipes and use just enough chicken.  This is a list of some of our favorite recipes for leftover chicken:

Chicken Noodle Soup
I had convinced myself that I didn't like chicken noodle soup until I made it from scratch.  I always make this with the homemade chicken broth and it is so healthy and flavorful.  It makes a wonderful winter lunch or a light dinner.

Chicken and Rice Soup
I don't keep dried onions or granulated garlic in my pantry, but I substitute with what I have and it always tastes great!

Southwest Chicken Chili Mac
Easy recipe that is made with items that I always have on hand.  Taco seasoning could be substituted for the spices in this recipe.

Chicken Taco Rice
This is a family favorite!  I use leftover chicken instead of the boneless, skinless chicken breast that the recipe calls for.

Chicken Pot Pie
Nice comfort food on a cold night! To make this recipe more frugal, I substitute the wine with more chicken broth and make my own pie crust.

Asian Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry
I couldn't find the link to this recipe, so I'll type it out here:

2 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 cup reduce sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 tbs. vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 tsp garlic powder (to taste)
corn starch, optional
shredded chicken
frozen stir-fry vegetables

Cook vegetables according to package directions.  Meanwhile stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes, vinegar and garlic powder.  Add sauce mixture to cooked vegetables.  For a thicker sauce, mix a small amount of corn starch with water and add to skillet, stirring constantly until thickened.  Add shredded chicken and simmer until heated through.

You can find these recipes and more on my Pinterest boards.

[photo credit]