Get 10 meals from 3 chickens

My Story: The "3-Chicken" System

contributed by Frugal in Pittsburgh

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Whenever I find a good deal on roasting chickens, I always buy at least three at one time. I purposely buy roasting chickens because they make good stock, plus the pieces are very meaty. One piece accompanied by a starch and vegetable can make a filling meal. Here's how I get at least 10 meals from three chickens, feeding two adults and two teenagers.

I process all three chickens at the same time by cutting off the wings and leg/thigh portion at the joint. This leaves a whole breast attached to a large backbone. I cut along the ribcage of the breast until I find the joints where the breast meets the backbone, and cut through to separate them, yielding a large backbone for stock, plus a whole breast.

I make three packages, each containing two wings (minus the wing tips), two thighs and two drumsticks and place in freezer bags. The wing/leg/thigh combinations (six meaty pieces) are enough for three weekday dinners, such as roast chicken accompanied by baked potatoes and vegetables or chicken cacciatore over pasta.

I make broth with the backbones, wing tips, necks and gizzards from all three chickens and one of the whole breasts in my 14-quart stock pot. This huge pot of chicken broth yields one meal of chicken noodle soup with meat removed from the backbones. Plus, I get enough broth for two additional hearty soups, like pasta and beans or wedding soup, and enough white meat for two entrees, such as chicken tettrazzini, linguine with chicken and broccoli, or chicken salad.

The two remaining whole breasts can be split and frozen for use in stir-fry and casseroles, or they can be grilled for fajitas or for topping a large tossed salad.

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Sometimes, I find chicken livers included in all three giblet packages, which makes a tasty lunch of liver and onions for my husband. If I don't find all three livers, I save those that are included in a plastic container in the freezer until I have enough for a meal.

Last week, I found an unadvertised special on roasting chickens ($.89/lb.) at my favorite supermarket. The cost of each chicken averaged around five dollars. I'd say that 10+ family dinners for $15 is a good deal.

Reviewed June 2017

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