Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One Chicken, Three Meals

Getting three meals out of one whole chicken is something Net showed me shortly after we married. My grocery budget was small and I was not used to cooking every night - I was learning to manage meal planning, budgets and being busy with work all day. It was a lot to get used to! Needless to say, I put my new Crockpot to good use.

I'd gotten out of the habit of buying and cooking whole chickens because the rotisserie ones at Kroger are so good. But a Pinterest recipe for a slow cooker whole chicken reminded me of Net's newlywed cooking advice!

The first step is to cook your chicken. Wash and take out the inside stuff (I shake it over a plastic bag in the sink so I don't have to touch it!) and then pat dry with a paper towel. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika. Put it in your Crockpot on high for three hours (or low for 6 to 8 hours) and add 1 cup water or chicken stock, a little white wine vinegar and 1/2 of a sliced onion.

Remove the chicken and let it cool. Save the liquid in the Crockpot (this is your soup stock). From here you have countless options. Think pastas, casseroles, enchiladas, etc. This is what I did last week:

Pepper Nachos
This was in Southern Living last summer and is one of their best recipes in my book! As you can see, I got a little excited about eating and forgot to take an after picture.

Chicken Salad
Mix two cups shredded chicken with about 1/2 cup lite mayo and season with celery seed, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add chopped red onion and celery if you have it. Adjust seasonings and mayo to your tastes. Serve over lettuce with crackers or make sandwiches.

Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Make sure there are no bones floating in the broth left in your crockpot - I use a fine mesh strainer. Chop and add any and all vegetables you have in your freezer. I added the tops of the yellow and red peppers from my nachos, carrots, a can of kidney beans (drained), and season with salt and pepper or something like Cavender's Greek seasoning. Cook on the low setting for about an hour and then let cool and put in fridge or freezer until ready to eat.

This easily works for feeding two people but if you are feeding more I'd buy a larger chicken and/or have more sides! We ate the chicken nachos the night I made all of this and then had chicken salad and chicken soup during the next few days.

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