Since both Albertsons and Stater Bros have whole chicken on a good price this week, I thought I'd show you an awesome way to get lots of meals out of a single 4 to 5 lb chicken. No, I'm not kidding.
1 whole Chicken, thawed
Remove the gizzard and neck from the inside of the chicken and throw them away (if there). Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. If you want more flavors, add other seasonings like rosemary and thyme, but I don't recommend it since you will use the roast chicken for multiple meals. If you are making stuffing and want to cook it in your bird, add it now.
Put the chicken in a roasting pan or baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (if like me, you don't have a roasting pan). Roast in the oven for 350 degrees. The time will vary according to the size of your chicken. Cook your chicken for 20 minutes per lb of bird PLUS an additional 15 minutes. So for a 5 lb. chicken, cook it 115 minutes (or 1 hour and 55 minutes). If you add stuffing, add an additional 15 minutes beyond your original calculation (a 5 lb. chicken with stuffing should cook for 130 minutes or 2 hours and 10 minutes). To see if it's done, stick a meat thermometer into the high, not touching the bone. It should read 165 degrees F or above. Mine was nearly at 180 when I pulled it out.
Once the chicken has cooked, let it cool for a few minutes then serve!
The next step is the icky gross but worth it part. Once you've served your family and eaten, don't throw away the leftovers! Instead, take any leftover chicken you have and tear into pieces. Remove any chicken left on the bone; keeping the bones in a separate bag (I use a plastic grocery bag for this). Toss any extras like skin or fat in the trash. Put the leftover chicken in an airtight container and freeze or refrigerate if you will use it in the next 2 to 3 days.
With the leftover chicken, you have all sorts of meals! Personally, I use it in chicken enchiladas, chicken soup, chicken tacos and chicken casseroles. Anytime you need diced chicken that's already cooked, you have it done! Add what you need and save yourself a lot of time & effort of cutting and cooking chicken! Side Note: You can add seasoning to the cooked chicken by adding the seasoning, cooked chicken and about ¾ cup water in a skillet. Turn the stove on medium and let the water boil down, stirring occasionally. You'll have seasoned chicken in no time!
You should still have the bag of chicken bones. DON'T THROW IT OUT YET! Instead, throw it into a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil, cover and turn the stove to medium-low. Let the chicken bones simmer in the water for about an hour to an hour and a half. Voila! You have chicken broth or stock!
Toss the bones in the trash and allow the broth to cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container and freeze or refrigerate. One awesome thing you can do is pour it into ice trays and freeze it. Once frozen, remove the cubes and store in a freezer bag. This will give you premeasured chicken stock for your various recipes, since a cube is about 2 tablespoons of chicken broth. All you'll need to do is pull one out of the freezer bag and add it to your recipe!
Lots of meals. One chicken. Totally worth it.