Right now we have for sale heritage breed whole roasting chickens for $4.50 per pound, the birds weigh in at about 3 pounds a piece. My personal opinion is that you cannot beat these bird for flavor. They simply taste “chickeney” in a way that even pasture raised broiler-types cannot compare too.
Here is one way I get three meals out of a chicken that will cost you $13.50
First I slow roast a chicken in a pan with a lid and I put two cups of water in the bottom of the pan.
To me, slow is a 275 degree oven for 2-3 hours. (if you want to do this on a weekday you could do this in a large crock-pot on low all day).
Allow this to cool enough that you can touch it. Then I pull the chicken meat off the bone (I generally give the skin to the cats). After you do this (the most difficult task), you should have a nice pile of bone-less chicken meat, and a pile of bones, fat and cartilage.
How I get three meals from one bird:
Good Old Chicken and Noodles: Take the broth from the bottom of the pan, thin with an equal amount of water and add one package of noodles and one cup of chicken meat.
The rest of the chicken meat could be chopped and added to any number of dishes: (chicken salad, pulled bbq chicken sandwiches, chicken and rice, or chicken burritos) If you are trying to stretch it then I would make a casserole with rice, chicken, vegetables, spices and top it off with a cup of cheese.
But wait there is more, you have a pile of bones (you may discard the other pieces parts), and you have a neck if you are using Full Circle Farm Chicken. All of these can be added to a stock pot or crock pot and covered with two quarts of filtered water and 2 T. of good vinegar to make a nice bone broth. The best broths are cooked at least 12 hours on low.
This Bone Broth is good for you and a great base for soup. If you do not have a good soup recipe try the basics. Put 2T oil or butter in a stock pan, add chopped onion, celery and carrots and saute until soft. Then add your chicken stock, vegetables and beans or pasta or both. Season to your liking.
While you will need other ingredients, you can see that a $12.00 chicken has gone a long way. And you know that the meat that you are feeding your family was humanely and sustainably raised.