Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Getting the most out of bone-in chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are great for times when you are in a hurry. They are a convenience item. That said, whenever bone-in chicken breasts are on sale for $0.99 or whole chickens are on sale for $0.59 I scoop up as many as I can fit in my freezer! The things you can do with them are endless. Smoke them, bake them, grill them, fry them, roast them, etc.....

This past Sunday I defrosted a package of bone-in chicken breasts. There were 4 breast halves in the package. I used a filet knife and removed the skin. Then I cut the meat as close to the bone as I could to get as much meat off as possible. After the meat was off the bone I seasoned it and sauteed it in a pan over medium heat with some veggies. The breasts were fairly large and my family of 3 consumed 2 of the breasts for supper that night.

The next day for lunch I cut a leftover breast into small chunks and we ate it on a green salad with almond slices, mandarin oranges, thin sliced onion, and a homemade vinagrette (olive oil, red wine vinegar, orange marmalade, and sugar to taste).

The last breast was used in fried rice with small pieces of chicken, mixed veggies, and egg. Top it off with a good soy sauce and make some egg drop soup (chicken broth, a few veggies thinly sliced - bring to a boil and drop in a couple eggs that have been beaten). Yum!

The bones I simmered on medium - low heat for a couple hours with 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks. After everything simmered and the broth had a nice rich color I strained the chicken and veggies out, saving the broth. I picked off whatever meat was left on the chicken bones and diced the cooked carrots and celery up into very small pieces. I returned the broth, chicken, carrots, and celery to the large sauce pan and added 1 bouillon cube (needed a bit more chicken flavor and some saltiness), some black pepper, and some thin egg noodles. I brought the ingredients to a boil and cooked until the noodles were done. Delicious! (If you had left over fried rice you could make chicken and rice instead.)

The package of 4 breasts had cost $2.84. I got a total of 4 meals out of it. Those 4 meals equaled 11 servings (3 the first night, 2 for salad, 3 for rice, and 3 for soup). That means that the chicken cost about $0.26 per serving. Who can't afford that?!?!?

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