How to use a chicken….

I related in my last post how the Handy Man cooked two baking hens for Sunday dinner, which also happened to be Mother’s Day. It was a delightful day off.  We didn’t come close to eating all the chicken, though, and both carcasses were carefully saved and put back into the refrigerator for further use.

Monday I got my large stock pot out and put both chicken carcasses along with some of the left-over onions and carrots in to boil. I let them cook for hours…and when they were done, the bones were literally falling apart. I strained out all the liquid, put half of that into a different pot and saved the rest in jars for later in the week. That night we used the bits and pieces of chicken along with left-over vegetables from the week–mainly corn we had heated and didn’t finish (from our garden last summer, of course) and green beans we had left from a different meal (also from our garden last summer)–and then we added some potatoes we had canned last summer. We chopped up some carrots and onions and garlic, and threw it all in the pot. Star Child made some of the Hillbilly Housewife’s pan bread, and we had soup, bread and salad for dinner.

Tuesday we had a good bit of soup left over, so I strained out the liquid to make a base for a chicken pot pie. I made a rue with flour and corn-starch and added milk and the strained out chicken stock (from the soup as well as from one of the jars in my refrigerator) to make a nice thick sauce for the pot-pie. Some frozen peas were thrown into the chicken and vegetables, and the whole mass was put into two baking dishes–one large and one small. I cheated and did a bread-type cobbler topping for the pot pie since I was too lazy  didn’t want to make a mess  was running short on time and didn’t think I could get it all in the oven if I had to roll out a crust. (Although I do make a mighty nice crust–my secret is buttermilk!)  Dee is allergic to wheat, so I did the smaller pie for her with a gluten-free batter of rice flour, xanthan gum, eggs, and milk. Sadly I forgot the baking powder, but Dee thought it was good nonetheless.  Chicken pot pie and salad was Tuesday’s meal.

I still have several jars of delicious chicken stock in my refrigerator, so I will be doing my easy chicken enchiladas later this week.  Since Dee cannot have wheat, that means a lot of canned soups are off our menu. Canned soups are way more expensive than making them from scratch, so it makes sense for me to just make what we need. Most of the recipes we use call for cream of chicken soup, so that is the one I go to most often. I use three Tablespoons of butter, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch and 1 cup of chicken stock (or 1 cup hot water and the appropriate amount of bullion) for each cup of cream of chicken soup.  I will use three cups of cream of chicken soup for my chicken enchiladas.

I love recycling left-overs. It really bothers me to waste food, and we have battled the left-over monster for many years. When our oldest son was at home, he would simply inhale all the left-overs for snack and I never had to worry about it, unless, of course, the left-overs got shoved to the back beyond easy eye-range. Since our oldest son left home, we usually have left-overs. All too often they end up being a science project in our refrigerator. We have grown mold of all colors–the pink ones are particularly fascinating, although we have grown orange, green, blue and brown mold. (We don’t eat the mold, just in case you were wondering how far my frugal streak goes. )

One left-over cycle we do is tacos to chili to spaghetti sauce, and if there is any left, to pizza sauce. Since we eat a lot of deer meat, this is a common cycle in our home.  Single-serve items like chicken breasts or pork chops seldom make it to left-over stage, and if they do, someone usually snarfs them up for lunch.  “I have dibs!!”  is a common cry at lunch around here.

How do you make your food budget stretch with left-overs?  I am always looking for good ideas!

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1 Response to How to use a chicken….

  1. mom24and7 says:

    Thank you for sharing how you make your food budget stretch! I have nothing to offer you as I need to learn from others how to do the same! Enjoyed this post!


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