Monday, August 10, 2015

Stretching a Chicken

I know... visions of a chicken being stretched from its neck to its feet, right? I mean stretching a roasted chicken. If you roast a chicken whole, you can usually get one good meal from it, then a few dishes from the leftovers. The more careful you are, the more meals you can get from it.

You don't have to eat them one right after another, but if you freeze the chicken in portions, you will have it on hand for these simple and quick meal ideas: 

You can make simple chicken noodle soup by adding packaged egg noodles and frozen mixed vegetables. Add a little chicken bouillon if more flavor is needed.

Chicken and rice soup is really good on a cold day. Cook together a cup of rice, one large carrot and a couple of stalks of celery in four or five cups of water. Watch the water because it will boil away. When it's all done, add chopped chicken and enough bouillon to bring out the flavor.

A very Americanized version of fried rice with chicken goes like this: Heat a heavy skillet to medium hot, add peanut or sesame seed oil and scramble an egg in it. Add frozen vegetables of your choice, stirring until they are thawed and nearly done, then add cold rice, diced leftover chicken and a little soy sauce.

When you've used it down to almost the end and don't have enough for another meal, put whatever you can get from it into a food processor or blender. Add mayonnaise or salad dressing, coarsely chopped pickles, onions and salt if it's needed. Blend it thoroughly and you will have enough for a few delicious sandwiches.

If you want to get the most from it, though, once you've stripped all the meat that you can, boil the carcass for a couple of hours then strain the bones out of it, saving the liquid. This liquid is the pricey chicken broth that you find canned at the store. You can freeze it in portions to start the soups above, adding a little salt and omitting the bouillon needed, lowering your costs even more.

Let the bones cool for a little bit, then pick through them and get all the little bits of meat out. Put it in a container for soup, stirfry, sandwiches or casserole. If you're going to freeze the meat, pour a little of the broth over it to keep it from drying out.

With the price of food any more, why not get the most from it?