When I cook a whole chicken I almost always do it one of two ways. I either cook it in the crockpot for 8 hours on low OR more recently, I have been spatchcocking my chickens. Spatchcocking requires that you be present during the whole cooking time because you are using the oven BUT it takes about 5 minutes of prep and then the next 45 minutes is hands off while the chicken roasts in the oven. I usually end up doing household chores or hanging with the kids. Both are things that I don't do nearly enough of so it's a good change of pace.
Either way, I use the cooked chicken in all the same ways. Our first meal from a chicken is often chicken with seasonal veggies. Potatoes & carrots are a common side because they store so well and so I often have them on hand. If I crockpot the chicken, then I throw the carrots and potatoes in with the chicken or if I am spatchcocking then I roast the carrots and potatoes on a separate baking sheet.
After meal #1, I debone the chicken and put the remaining meat in the fridge in an airtight container. Don’t toss the bones! If I have time, after deboning, I put the bones in a stockpot along with herbs and whatever spare veggies I have on hand. Then I add water until it covers the bones and bring the pot to a simmer. If I don’t have time right away, then I store the bones in the fridge in an airtight container until the next day. I like to start the broth cooking when I start supper preparations and let it simmer until about an hour before bed when I strain it into a glass jar and let it cool a bit before putting it in the fridge. Use within 2-3 days or freeze for later use.
For meal #2 I like to make a pasta alfredo dish with whatever fun pasta shapes I have on hand. Penne and rotini are two of my favorites! I love to pan fry whatever vegetables I have on hand and then toss 1-2 cups of chicken with the pasta, veggies and alfredo sauce. An example of some veggies I might use in this dish would be zucchini, carrots, peppers, snap peas, and onions.
For meal #3 I typically make soup. Chicken & Noodle soup is a quick and easy one. Simply boil chopped carrots in the broth until almost tender, then add all the remaining leftover chicken and a couple big handfuls of egg noodles. Simmer until the noodles are done and enjoy! Chicken Corn Chowder and Chicken & Rice are both favorites as well!
Do note that your homemade broth won’t have any salt in it unless you add it. Generally speaking, we could all use a little less salt in our diets right? But I do recommend adding at least a little salt to your soup to really bring out the flavors of the broth and the soup.
This is just one example of a series of meals that I might make with a whole chicken. Honestly, there are so many potential meals when you start with a whole chicken! Do you have a favorite chicken meal? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
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