Stretching my Chicken

No, I’m not talking about flock yoga!

I was reading a great blog post over at Throwback at Trapper Creek about getting the most “bang for your buck” from farm raised chickens. While I have yet to raise our own meat birds, I feel that in the learning stages of Homesteading, as well as having the need to stretch a dollar as far as possible (like so many of people), the idea of stretching our food is one that we could all benefit from.

This topic falls right in line with the topic of meal planning, as you need to think ahead about how you want to utilize all the meat off the roasted chickens before you get started. That way you can divvy it up into proper portions to avoid just grazing on it, or worse, losing it to the back of the fridge or freezer until it is no longer worthy of human consumption.

I started with an easy recipe that I found online for Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style.

I am not sure why they call it sticky, I have cooked 4 and none have come out sticky. They do however, come out fall off the bone tender and juicy! Did I mention this is an easy recipe? Perfect for a busy Sunday filled with chores. It does take a little pre-planning as the chicken needs to refrigerate overnight with a rub on it. But come cooking day, you just pop these bad boys (or girls) in the oven around noon, set a 5 hour timer and go on about your day. Dinner time rolls around and you have roasted chicken, hot and ready. just add your sides and dinner is served.

The kicker is, with a little thought as to the leftovers, you can feed your family for at least 2 more meals PLUS broth. The chickens this week weighed in with a combined weight of about 9 lbs. with trimmings. After roasting I removed all bones, sliced off what we would need for dinner and then separated the rest of the meat out. For use of this weeks chicken we settled on Ranch Chicken Salad BLT’s and Chicken Enchiladas. After weighing out 2 bags with 1 pound of meat in each I still had more chicken left so I divided the third pound in half for BBQ Chicken Pizza and a chicken soup for a cold night down the road.

That puts us at 5 dinners from 2 chickens cooked once! But wait, there’s still more. All the bones were promptly placed in my slow cooker with veggies, spices and water where they cook on low for 24-36 hours. Now I have 3+ quarts of homemade bone broth to use in even more recipes, or to just enjoy a warmed cup with a meal. There are such great health benefits from bone broth. Not to mention the INCREDILBE flavor.

Oh and I cook up all the giblets with some garlic (Have had it pointed out that garlic is now considered just as bad as onions for dogs, so NO MORE garlic for my girl) for Foxy Roxy, my wanna-be LGD. She’s typically not much of a food hound, but by adding a tablespoon or 2 of the chopped gizzards and broth to her meals it guarantees she licks her bowl clean every time.

Ok, the recipe is here.
I don’t have any white pepper on hand and didn’t want my chicken too spicy from the cayenne so I adjusted things just a tiny bit. Here is my version.

Rotisserie Style Roast Chicken

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 onions, quartered
2 (4 pounds each) whole chickens

In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Remove giblets from chicken, set aside.

Now that this recipe has become a staple in our household, I have taken to mixing a larger batch to keep on hand.
Reminds me of the layered colored sand in a bottle thing that was all the rage in the 90’s

All mixed up.

Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
The kiddo and I worked together to keep chicken contamination to a minimum, I had everything prepped in advance and she handled the unrolling of plastic wrap. We wrapped each chicken 3 or 4 times, nice and tight, to prevent leakage while they sat in the fridge.

The giblets in a pot of water with a couple large cloves of garlic all set to be simmered up for the pup. Once cool I mince all the meaty bits up, stir them back into the broth and refrigerate. Roxy drools every time she sees the container heading toward her food bowl.

I just set the birds on a rack in a large roasting pan. Around noon they go in at 250 degrees (120 degrees C) for 5 hours. I then head back out to my chores and projects. About 2.5 hours in the smell starts to tempt us.

There is nothing like the wonderful feeling that comes from a warm home filled with the smells of Sunday dinner cooking.

Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C).
I cover and let rest for 15-20 minutes. This is when I put the potatoes on to boil and start prepping the salad. I then go about carving both chickens up and getting everything sorted out

5 dinners all bagged, labeled and ready for the week (the foil one was that night’s dinner)

A little bit of prep one time and I have all the meat measured and ready to go for 4 more days of dinners, a perfect example of “Working Smarter not Harder”.


5 thoughts on “Stretching my Chicken

  1. Pingback: Bone Broth | Cluck & Hoe

  2. Pingback: Enchiladas Suizas | Cluck & Hoe

  3. Pingback: Ranch Chicken Salad BLT’s | Cluck & Hoe

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