October 31, 2012

One Chicken, 3 meals


Cooking on a budget can be challenging sometimes, and so I'm always looking for ways to have as much as I can without overspending and breaking the budget.

Growing up in one of eastern Europe’s communist countries, I was no stranger (unfortunately) to shortages, specially food, but I remember how my Mom, in spite of everything, she would always have plenty of food for us to eat.  How did she do it?  Simply put, she had to learn to stretch what she had. Instead of stretching the budget, she would stretch the food. How? For example, rather than making one meal from a chicken, like a roasted chicken, divide the chicken in 3 portions and make 3 separate meals, like one soup and two entrées.

Buying a whole chicken it is always cheaper then buying pre-packaged chicken pieces, so we start with a whole, 6-7 pounds chicken. We are going to cut the chicken up and divide it into 3 portions to make the following 3 meals:

1. Chicken Noodle Soup: set aside all the bony parts like, back, breast bone (meat removed), wing tips, neck.

2. Chicken rice pilaf: rest of the chicken except, breast meat.

3. Chicken Schnitzel: using breast meat.

Let’s start first by dividing up the chicken. You don't need special skills just a little practice.

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Cut up the chicken; with chicken breast side up, pull each leg away from body…

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…then slice through skin between breast and drumstick.
Turn chicken on its side. Bend each leg back until thighbone pops out of its socket. Cut through joint and skin to detach leg completely.

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With chicken on its side, pull each wing away from body. Cut through joint and remove wing.

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Then cut again wings in two by cutting at the joints.


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To divide the legs, turn each skin side down and cut through joints (along white fat line) to separate thigh from drumstick.

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Lift up chicken and cut downward through rib cage and then shoulder joints to separate breast from back.

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Place breast skin side up. Slice through the skin and meat, in the center and remove meat from the bone to separate into 2 pieces; set aside bone for making the Chicken Noodle Soup.

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Remove skin from the breasts. Set aside breast meat for  making the Chicken Schnitzels,  or place it in a freezer bag and freeze it for later use.

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Keep the tights, wings and drumsticks for making the Chicken Rice Pilaf. ( or freeze the chicken pieces in a freezer bag for later use).

I hope that you found today’s post helpful.
Happy Cooking!

Leia’s Culinary Treasures

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