Saturday, March 21, 2020

Stretching One Chicken Three Ways #Recipe @PegCochran

This is a difficult time for our country and the world.  As we all try to be responsible and keep our social distance, it means many of us are trying to  stock up a bit to limit future grocery trips.  I was floored when we went to our local Meijer (a *gigantic* grocery store) to find the yards and yards-long poultry case...empty...except for one lone roasting chicken.  Everyone was passing it by so I decided to snag it.  Here she is.  Isn't she a beauty?

I turned it into a delicious Sunday dinner by spatchcocking (butterflying) it and roasting.  The benefit of doing that is that it cooks faster--approximately 50 minutes--and also cooks more evenly.  And it's easy to do.  Cut along either side of the back bone and remove it.  Open the chicken up and lay it skin side up on your cutting board.  Using the palm of your hand. press down on it and flatten it out.

Here is the backbone that I removed.

And here is the flattened chicken ready for the oven.

I rubbed it with olive oil, and sprinkled it with salt and pepper and some herbs then scattered some cut-up sweet potato around it  and roasted it in a 425 degree oven for about 50 minutes. There were enough juices to make some gravy because hubby likes his white meat with gravy on it.  I'm a dark meat girl myself!

Ta da!

 Delicious dinner number one!

Since there are only two of us, I had plenty of chicken leftover.  In the interests of stretching our food supply as much as possible, the next night I turned it into that great diner favorite--chicken and gravy on toast (yes, it's usually turkey but this is a close cousin.)

Shred chicken. 

Heat leftover gravy.  I added a bit of cream to it to stretch it.

Place shredded chicken on toasted bread and cover with gravy.

There is still a little bit of chicken left so today I made chicken salad for lunch! 

Do you have any favorite food stretching tips?







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  1. I do! Take the carcass after all of the good meat is gone. Put it in a crockpot with 2 quarts of water, plenty of salt and pepper, half an onion, a carrot, a celery stalk, some nice fat smashed garlic cloves and whatever else seasoning you like. I usually do a little thyme, a bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Then put the lid on and let it cook, preferably overnight. When done, scoop out the bones and vegs and strain the broth. Viola - Nice fresh nutritious chicken stock, should have about 2 quarts worth, to make soup with.

    1. Great idea! I know previous generations knew how to make the most of every bit of food but it's become something of a lost art.

  2. The chicken in gravy on toast is making my stomach rumble!! And the chicken broth idea looks great too

    1. One of my favorite dinners as a child!!! And a 4th meal would be soup!! We are turning into our grandmothers, not our mothers!!! : )

  3. It is funny how the full chickens are tending to be overlooked in favor of the packets prepackaged portioned parts, the poultry section was empty except for 5 full chickens when I was last shopping. I am a dark meat gal, too but my mother-in-law loves the breast meat, hubby likes them both equally. I did something similar in making roast chicken and then using leftovers for chicken a la king, and then chicken salad on bread. Yes, the carcass is saved for broth making once I have enough bits and bobs of leftover vegetables from other meal prep (stick the unused veg and herb pieces in a container for the freezer and if need be, the carcass, too so that I can put it all in a pot for broth when I have what is needed). Another many meal strategy can be done with a slow roasted pork shoulder/butt (often sold cut into very thick slices), first meal might be served as Korean Bo Ssam, then leftovers can be pork in tortillas, and last perhaps as a Pork fried rice, or shredded and fried for adding as one of the toppings for black bean soup. It is lovely to find comfort in the cooking and eating of these meals. Wishing everyone comfort in these times.

    1. And you, too, Lil (my mom's name). I've never heard of Bo Ssam so I am off to look it up! Love learning about new things.

  4. Be sure to add that backbone you removed into your soup kettle and cook it with the chicken bones, skin, aromatic veggies, and water to make soup. You can stretch little bits of meat this way. Should you have some soup left over that's not enough for a meal, use it to flavor rice or other grains as they cook.

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  5. Your chicken dishes look yummy, Peg! I've been cooking for five people (sometimes 6) for the past few years, so I'm pretty used to stretching. Make my own stock when I remember, so great for gumbo and soups. And since I got my IP last year it makes things much quicker! Yesterday I used it to make pulled pork, served on buns with a big bowl of potato salad. Leftovers ("deja food") often go into tortillas or fried rice. The pork shoulders we bought on sale and stocked in the freezer months ago are so big, I usually cut in half and cook in the slow cooker while I pressure-cook the chunked up, sauteed other half. That way I make a pork pot roast w veggies for one night, then get more meals another time. Any leftover meat (beef, chicken or pork) often end up in a frittata, stir-fry, Tex-Mex or pasta dishes.

    1. I love that -- deja food!! And I love having great ideas to make one piece of meat go lots of different ways!