Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1 Chicken; 4 Meals

We raise Cornish Cross birds for meat.  Each year we start with around 300 chicks.

In 12 weeks or less, the adorable little bundles of fluff transform into not so cute birds ready to butcher.  After processing them, we sell some and keep some.

This meat is much tastier than the store bought variety.  These birds had access to sunshine, worms and grass.  And because of all the nutrients, I like to get as much as possible from each one.

These birds are known for their large breasts.  This means there is a lot of meat on them!  With this meat, here's how we consistently feed our family of 7 eaters 4 meals based around a single 5-6 pound chicken.  I'm sure as my littles grow up and eat more, we'll have to change this up a bit, but for now it's working great!

The secret?  Put the chicken into other dishes. That way you use less meat at each meal.

Prep Work:

Cook the chicken in the crock-pot with celery and carrots. Season with salt, pepper and perhaps garlic.  Add some water.  Let it cook for 8 hours on low.

 Pull the meat off the bones.  Scoop out the broth into a jar.  Add bones back to pot.  Fill with water.  Allow to cook all night on low. Depending on how flexible the bones are when you finish, you'll probably do this twice.  You want bones you can easily break and crumble.  Even the thick part of the bone.  You should be able to easily get 1 gallon of chicken broth from this bird, and maybe more. 

Meal 1:  Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Assemble chicken enchiladas with the meat off a breast and a thigh.  Mix the meat with shredded cheese and sour cream.  Stir in a bit of taco seasoning. Add a good scoop of this to the middle of each flour tortilla.  Roll and place in baking pan.  When they are all assembled, grate more cheese on top, and smeary any leftover meat mix on top.   They'll bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. 

Serve with tortilla chips and salsa, and all of your favorite fixings (lettuce, olives, sour cream, etc.)

Meal 2:  Chicken Pot Pie

Use the meat from the other breast and thigh.  Cut it up into small pieces.  Place in a large bowl. Add homemade cream of celery soup, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, and whatever seasoning you desire.  I usually stick to salt and pepper.  Stir this mixture up and place in a deep dish pie pan.

Roll out a pie crust and top your chicken mixture.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so.

We usually serve this up with a fruit salad.  

Meal 3: Chicken Noodle Soup 

Remember the broth you  scooped out way back with the bird?  Today you'll mix that with your other broth (if needed) and create a delicious soup.

Saute some celery, garlic and carrots with butter in your soup pot.  Salt and pepper these.  Add the broth.  I make sure I have about 8 cups of broth for my family.  It is a good amount to feed everyone and have lunch leftovers for a couple of us.

Allow this to simmer for a while.  Sometimes I leave it most of the day.  Other times I'm in a hurry and only let it go 1/2 an hour.

In a separate pot, boil 1/2 pack of egg noodles.  When they're finished, drain and add to your soup.  This way you don't suck up all your broth with the cooking stage.

Add in most of meat you have left.   This will be from the wings, back and neck. Reserve about 1/2 cup of meat for the final meal.

 Allow everything to get nice and hot and then serve.

Homemade wheat rolls are our favorite accompaniment to this meal, along with a fresh green salad.  

Meal 4: Egg Fried Rice

Cook 2 cups of brown rice in 2 cups of chicken broth.  It'll increase the nutrients and the flavor.  I try to do this the day before (usually cooking it while I cook the soup).  That way it can chill.  Cold rice seems to work best for this meal, though I have done it with hot.

Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan.  Gently scramble 4 eggs.  Remove them from the pan before they get really firm.

Melt 2 more tablespoons of butter in the pan and add a swirl of olive oil.  This will keep the butter from smoking.  Heat your rice in this mixture.  As it begins to get warm, add frozen peas. They'll take on a lovely color as they defrost in the hot rice.

Add some soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.  Stir it all together and add the remaining chicken meat.

Gently stir your eggs back in.  Make sure everything is hot, and serve.  

Bonus Meal #5: Egg Drop Soup

If you have broth left over, you can make a fifth meal.  It doesn't have any actual chicken in it--just the nutrient dense bone broth.

Bring your broth to boiling.  Add some green onions and peas.

Beat 4-6 eggs until frothy.  Slowly pour these through the tines of a fork into your boiling broth.  (Sounds harder than it is!) This will break down the eggs and allow them to create the classic ribbons of egg in the soup.

The eggs will cook almost instantly.  When they are done, add salt, pepper and perhaps a touch of soy sauce or sesame oil.


There you have it.  How our family gets 4 or 5 meals from a single chicken. 

What's your favorite way to get the most out of your birds?

Linked up with: Raising Arrows


  1. This is similar to what we do! Minus the egg drop soup - I am soooo going to try this idea!! Thanks!


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