Some helpful tips to consider when shopping for chicken
Everywhere you turn nowadays, you see prices skyrocketing. Whether it's food, gas, diesel, housing, etc., the war of high price gouging is ongoing and it doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. For some people, buying normal everyday necessities has become nearly impossible. However, there are still ways to overcome some of the steep barriers. Today, I will be sharing tips on how you can use chicken in different ways to prepare meals that won't break your bank account.
Some helpful tips when shopping for chicken
When buying chicken, opt for bags of leg quarters, or buy whole chickens instead of buying pre-cut-packaged breasts, wings, legs, etc.
One whole chicken, when cut up, can make several meals. Once the breast pieces are cut, slice them into four pieces, then butterfly cut each of those four pieces. Or slice chicken strips from each breast. You can easily get several chicken strips from two chicken breasts. Then, of course, you're left with two wings, two thighs, two legs, one wishbone, and the back. Most purchased chickens do not come with giblets and necks anymore. (I'm not sure why that is.)
Packages of leg quarters usually come with the leg and thigh attached to half of the back piece. Several restaurants actually cook chicken backs to make what is known as chicken ribs.
Within the list below, I will share how to use each of the pieces so that you can make the most meals out of every part of the chicken.
10 tips on how to use a whole chicken and for chicken leg quarters
- Cook the chicken thighs, take the meat off the bones, then chop it into bite-sized pieces. Add the cooked chicken to a pan of cooked pasta, or rice to make a casserole, or chicken soup. Add vegetables to the dish to make it more filling. Use cream of chicken soup, cream of celery soup, or cream of mushroom soup for extra flavor.
- Use the cooked thigh meat for chicken tacos, fajitas, Mexican chicken, chicken spaghetti, chicken and dumplings, kabobs, layered dip, etc.
- Save the breasts to make chicken strips, or cut the two breasts into four butterfly pieces. Nowadays, some chickens are Godzilla birds and you can easily make six sized portions off of the two breasts. Grill, bake, air-fry, or pan fry the pieces.
- Of course, you can make chicken fried steak with the thighs and breasts as well. Take the skin and bones out, then butterfly cut each piece; pound the pieces of meat, then bread them with egg and flour, or use bread crumbs. Fry in a small amount of cooking oil. Serve with mashed (or creamed) potatoes, milk gravy, and biscuits.
- For sandwich slices; leave the chicken breasts whole, instead of cutting them into four or six separate pieces. Slice each breast thinly before cooking them, or slice them after they're cooked. Wahl-la! You now have delicious lunch meat for several sandwiches.
- As for the wishbones, legs and wings, cook them and pull the meat off of them, use them for preparing chicken salad and other recipes such as broccoli and rice, Brunswick stew, chicken and dressing, etc. Or you can do a Friday night grab plate special with cooked chicken wings, legs, and wishbone pieces.
- Use the chicken backs to make chicken ribs; season the chicken backs, then coat them with a flour and egg coating; deep fry them. Or use the backs in soups and stews. If nothing else, save the chicken backs to make homemade chicken broth.
- If the chickens you purchase have giblets, make giblet gravy, or use them cooked in a giblet dressing, or giblet stuffing.
- If the chickens you purchase have neck pieces, save them to use for seasoning a pot of beans, soups, stews, or fry those suckers up too.
- Save the carcass (all the bones) to make a flavorful, nutritious, homemade chicken stock. Then you can use it for chicken and dumplings, chicken noodle soup, etc.
In conclusion, stretching the meat out by preparing a whole cut up chicken, or by using chicken quarters to use for dumplings, stews, soups, dressing, stuffing, pasta, and rice casseroles, etc. will make several filling and delicious family meals. Doing this will ensure that you won't run out of meat during the week. Plus, if you're lucky, you'll have yummy leftovers to go back to later.
If you're single, or a couple without children, but you're barely scraping by, a single person and a couple could make numerous meals off one chicken.
Remember that the serving size of chicken is three to four ounces. That's about the size of the open palm of your hand.
It's difficult to know what the prices will be from one day to the next and in every location the costs are different. So I'm not going into costs per ounce, per person, and so forth.
One whole chicken cooked can serve six people for one meal. However, if you cut the chicken up and divide it to plan full meals for the week, you'll save money. Yes, I realize that dividing the pieces of meat out to make several meals isn't everyone's ideal choice. But it's a smart choice when you're having difficulty affording meat for yourself and family.
I had planned on writing an article today about family meals that can be prepared for under $15.00. However, once I began writing the article, I had easily gone into a word limit of what some may have considered a book. So, with that in mind, I will be covering more, broken down into several articles. That way I will be able to dive more into detail about each particular item.
If you're having trouble affording the cost of living and you're looking for ways to make the most of your grocery dollars… Hopefully, this article will be helpful to you.