Purchasing a whole chicken is the most economical way to meet the need for the majority of our uses . I can get three different purposes out of the one purchase. Furthermore, I can spend a few hours preparing and packaging the products for future use. When I'm short on time, the ability to simply pull out of the freezer the baggie of what I need is fabulous! Did I mention that it also saves us money? I'm all about saving time and money without compromising homemaking or wholesome foods.
I spent a few days recently preparing two chickens. From these two chickens I was able to put in the freezer: 4 uncooked chicken breasts and tenderloins, 5 quarts of stock, and 7 cups of cooked chicken shred. I can use the chicken breasts for whatever meal necessary. The stock will be great to have for soups and such as that this winter. Finally, the shred is great to have on hand for chicken enchiladas, chicken pot pie, pizza, soups, etc.
1) Chicken Stock
Ingredients:*Note: The ingredients listed below are estimates. I rarely measure stock ingredients. Making stock is essentially tossing in whatever I happen to have on hand.
1 whole chicken
3 celery stalks (I have used dried celery seed if I'm out of celery)
2 garlic cloves
about 8-10 whole peppercorns
couple of teaspoons to tablespoon each of dried thyme, parsley
1) I prefer to cut the breast and tenderloin meat off and freeze it separately.
2) Roughly chop the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and add to 7 quart pot. Add remaining ingredients.
3) Add enough water to cover the chicken plus an inch or so more.
4) Simmer until meat pulls away from leg bones or chicken falls apart when lifted from pot.
5) Allow to cool. Remove chicken from pot to cool some more.
6) Strain stock and pour into labeled baggies or freezer containers.
2) Uncooked Breast MeatWhile the stock is simmering, I wrap each piece of breast meat in aluminum foil. Then, I simply place all in a gallon size freezer bag. Whenever I have a meal requiring chicken breast, I simply take the appropriate amount out of the freezer to thaw the night before or morning of use. This would be the equivalent to those big bags of chicken breasts sold in the grocery at a higher price and lower quality.
3) Chicken Shred
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, I pick all the meat off the bones. I then portion about a cup of meat per baggie. I prefer to do a cup at a time because many meals like chicken pot pie, enchiladas and others only require a small amount of chicken. If I need more I can always pull out more than one bag. It's easier to do it this way than to thaw two cups or more of meat and not need that much.
The result:One chicken produced 2.5 quarts stock, 2 uncooked breasts, and four cups of shred.
From two chickens I was able to put in the freezer: 5 pints & 2 quarts of stock, 4 uncooked breasts, and 6 cups shred. That should give me a good start to preparing future meals!
Linked up at: A Mama's Story, The Modest Mom Blog, What Joy Is Mine, The Better Mom, An Original Belle, Mom's the Word, Far Above Rubies, Growing Home, Time-Warp Wife, Deep Roots at Home, Raising Homemakers, Serving Joyfully
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