I like to think that my (soon to be) mother-in-law is extremely resourceful and frugal. She buys the right stuff in bulk, always knows what is on sale, and tirelessly slaves in her garden on weekends. She grows all her own herbs and freezes them for the winter and has mastered the science of not wasting food. So of course, I am always asking her for tips. Most recently she told me how she can buy 2 whole chickens and get enough meat to make 8 meals (for 2 people). This is great for grocery shopping on a budget. Here’s how she does it!
1. Remove the wings, legs, thighs and breasts and freeze them. You now have 4 legs, 4 thighs, 4 wings, and 4 breasts.
Dinner #1: 4 Chicken Legs
Dinner #2: 4 Chicken Thighs
Dinner #3: 4 Chicken Wings
Dinner #4: 2 Chicken Breasts
Dinner #5: 2 Chicken Breasts
2. Make chicken stock. Take everything that is left of the chicken and put it in a big pot with a small piece of cheap beef and a lot of vegetables. Her recipe calls for a few carrots, parsnip, celery, celery root, small leak (or a burned onion, literally blackened on the flame), black pepper, a few pieces of all spice, and salt. Simmer uncovered for 5-7 hours and strain out solid ingredients.
Dinner #6: Use fresh chicken stock to make a chicken soup by adding noodles or rice and whatever vegetables you prefer.
3. Use the meat from the stock to make a filling for ravioli.
Dinner #7: Take the meat from the stock off the bones. Fry it with some onions and mushrooms, grind it up and use it as a filling for raviolis or crepes. Who knew chicken meat could be so versatile? It’s great for frugal meals – and being frugal helps with debt management.
4. Freeze the extra chicken stock and use it as a base for tomato soup later in the week.
Dinner #8: Use the leftover frozen chicken stock. Add one large can of tomato sauce, a few drops of tobasco, some heavy cream, fresh parsley and dill (which she gets from her garden) and some chopped basil. Add cooked white rice and voila you have tomato soup that takes less than a half hour to prepare.
When all is said and done you can pat yourself on the back and honestly say that you did not waste a single bit of those two chickens. Even if you don’t use these exact ideas, you can use the meat and the stock to do a million other things. The possibilities are endless! Think outside the box and you will find that you are much more frugal and resourceful than you think.
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