Buying a whole chicken is way less per pound than any other chicken you can buy. I’ve known this since I was 18 years old and selling Cutco knives. Logically, it’s the way to go when buying meat (or at least chicken). But since I didn’t grow up in a family that bought whole chickens, I didn’t quite know what to do with one. In the last year, though, I’ve been moving slowly in that direction.
1. Freezer Cooking: Reading about freezer cooking from several of the bloggers I follow showed me that you could boil or roast up a whole chicken and then shred it and put it in the freezer for later. The only problem: I didn’t have any recipes that involved shredded chicken. Whenever I made chicken, I would cook up a couple breasts and serve them that way.
2. Menu Planning: Reading about menu planning from several of the bloggers I follow showed me that just because I don’t currently use shredded chicken, doesn’t mean I can’t. All I have to do is figure out a meal that would use it and put it on my menu. That got me closer, but still no cigar. I just had some weird anxiety about it.
3. Chicken & Dumplings: When my sister-in-law was cooking up a meal for a crowd, she called on her good friend in order to find out her chicken & dumplings recipe. I was sitting there as she took down the recipe and asked questions and it looked fairly simple. Then when we ate it that night, it was also delicious. At that point, I finally felt comfortable attempting a whole chicken.
The original plan was to make chicken and dumplings, but I forgot that we always eat out with my father-in-law on Tuesdays. So we got back home from picking my husband up from work and the chicken in the crockpot filled our house with a wonderful aroma, and then I mentally smacked myself in the forehead. We wouldn’t be eating chicken and dumplings that night. And since we wouldn’t be home for Wednesday night either, I was worried about putting it in the fridge, in case something came up and I didn’t get to it on Thursday. So, I pulled out a large container of broth, which I can use to cook rice and couscous or to make a much smaller batch of chicken & dumplings at a later time. Then, I pulled all the meat off the bone. Some of it got shredded, but mostly I just concentrated on making sure the bones were out of there. I put a big bag in the freezer and I made tentative plans to make chicken quesadillas on Thursday in order to use a smaller second bag of meat. The big bag in the freezer can be used for chicken & dumplings, more quesadillas, or to use in chicken helper, since some of it is in bigger chunks and should work perfectly. All in all, I’m proud of my first whole chicken experience.
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