Whew- it's after midnight and I'm only now getting a break to post!
A whole chicken can be stretched over three meals for two adults and one child:
- a roasted chicken (crockpot chicken in the summer)
- chicken soup (also done in a crockpot is the summer)
- chicken pot pie or chicken salad
With our schedule, our big meal of the day is lunch. Early this morning (1/20/11), I roasted a chicken for lunch. I reserved the organs and neck for later, and rinsed and pat dry the chicken. The next step was to loosen the skin over the breasts, and I stuffed garlic cloves under the skin. I sliced a lemon and stuffed the two halves into the cavity of the chicken with a few more garlic cloves. The chicken went on a rack (I use the one from my toaster oven- perfect size for a chicken) breast side up, and then I sprinkled salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano onto the bird. Carrots, potatoes, and onions went into the roasting pan surrounding the bird. 375 degrees and two hours later, this is the delicious result:
After we ate our fill of the bird and the roasted veggies, then I removed all the remaining meat off of the bones. The carcass, skin, the organs and neck that were reserved earlier, and pan drippings went into the stock pot with a tablespoon of vinegar to help extract the minerals from the bones, and then I filled the pot with filtered water. It was set on the stove to simmer all day to make chicken stock. It has been strained into containers and put into the refrigerator. Tomorrow, I'll skim the fat off, reheat the stock, reserve two cups of stock for a pot pie, and add more a few more ingredients to make chicken soup. The fat that rises to the top and is skimmed off the stock
Now, if you can raise your own chickens and grow your own vegetables and herbs, all the better. However, if you don't live somewhere that allows you to raise chickens, the next best option is to get them from someone local. After that, the next best option that I've seen is to get chickens raised without hormones or antibiotics from a wholesale club (please avoid paying retail whenever possible- your just wasting money you do not have to spend). Our wholesale club sells a two-pack of hormone and antibiotic free chickens for approximately $8. If you can grow your own veggies and herbs, than the only cost for the roasted chicken dinner would be the chicken for $4 (half of the two-pack).
Now, with two chickens, I can feed my husband, son, and myself six meals each week for an average of $5/meal- and that's if I buy everything from the store and had nothing in my pantry. Otherwise, it works out to closer to $3 per meal for all three of us. Now that is frugality at it's finest.