$50 Worth of Chicken Recipes from a $15 Bird

A Chicken Pot Pie Recipe and More!

$50 Worth of Chicken Recipes from a $15 Bird

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Krisi Cook – “WASTE NOT, WANT NOT.” A favorite motto of homesteaders striving for a sustainable lifestyle. To get started putting this favorite saying into action, look no further than your $15 chicken dinner. Too often, families make a single meal from this bird and then toss the rest. Instead of wasting a valuable food source, why not turn that bird into $50 worth of food with these simple chicken recipes? Here’s how:

MEAL #1: ROASTED CHICKEN DINNER

COST: $15 – $20 FOR THE CHICKEN

A tantalizing roast chicken dinner is a favorite among many and a great way to start a week’s meal plan. While it is true that $6 roasting hens can still be found on occasion, most sustainably raised roasting hens run about $15-$20 depending on your location. This kind of price tag for a meat-based meal encourages frugality and stretching the family dollar. A family
of four can easily enjoy a nice, belly-filling meal with plenty of leftover meat for another day. The key to making the most of this bird is to keep all of the drippings and bones, the roasted skin, and any meat remaining on the bird after dinner is over and turn them into future meals and food pantry staples.

MEAL #2: STEAMING CHICKEN POT PIE

COST: $5 – $6 IF BUYING CANNED CHICKEN MEAT

Who doesn’t love a steaming plate of homemade chicken pot pie? Most recipes call for the addition of a single large can of chicken meat per pie, with each can running in the neighborhood of $3-$4 each. For a family of four, most will need two pot pies to ensure everyone has their fill. So instead of buying those pricey cans of bland chicken meat, turn to last night’s roasted chicken dinner. Pot pies are usually loaded with a creamy sauce and veggies, so a little meat goes a long way. I find it best to take those small pieces of leftover chicken and the “less desirable” sections like the back and wings and use those for the pot pie. Lots of flavor while still saving the best for chicken recipes.

MEAL #3: HOMEMADE CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP

COST: $15 FOR TWO QUARTS

High-quality, real-food-ingredient soups are rather pricey when considering the basic ingredients list. Yet, homemade soups are both economical and simple to make at home even when pressed for time. A half- gallon of cream of chicken soup — enough for a family of four — requires only two cups of roasted chicken and will usually finish off Sunday night’s chicken dinner leftovers. And the tastiest broth-based soups are made with both home-cooked roasted chicken and homemade chicken stock. However, if you only have store-bought chicken broth in your pantry, the money savings are still significant when compared to ready-made soups from the local grocer. As an added bonus, soups are one of the easiest meals to make ahead of time and toss in the freezer to save for a later date.

MANY MEALS LATER: TWO GALLONS OF CHICKEN STOCK BASE

COST: $16 FOR CONVENTIONAL BROTH/$32 FOR SUSTAINABLY RAISED CHICKEN BROTH

Broth is one of the most basic pantry staples in any sustainable kitchen, yet this simple ingredient’s monthly costs can add up. Instead of forking over the cash, toss a few carrots, an onion, several stalks of celery, your favorite seasonings, the entire batch of chicken bones, roasted skin, drippings, and those tiny, remaining tidbits of meat into a deep pot along with three gallons of water. Slowly simmer for several hours until the broth is to your liking. Strain ingredients through a tea towel or cheesecloth. To store, either freeze in meal-sized containers or can with a pressure canner according to manufacturer’s directions. Voila! You have at least two gallons of economical and wholesome chicken stock ready for many meals over the next few weeks. Frugality and sustainable living go hand in hand. And the kitchen is the best place to get started in making this new lifestyle a reality. So, think of these simple chicken recipes the next time you enjoy a tasty roasted chicken dinner, and know that you’re only a few meals away from turning that single bird into $50 worth of food.

chicken-recipes
Crispy roasted chicken is the perfect start to a busy week and can be turned into several money saving meals.

HOMEMADE CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP

Makes about ½ gallon of soup

¼-½ stick butter  

¼ c. all-purpose flour— appx. 

1 onion, diced 

4 c. broth 

4 c. milk 

Up to 2 c. water (or more milk and/or broth for a richer soup) 

1-2 c. chopped chicken 

Salt/pepper/other seasonings to taste 

 In a large pot melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender. Add enough flour to soak up the butter. Stirring continuously, slowly add broth and milk. Bring to a simmer. Add seasonings. When mixture begins to thicken, add meat. Continue stirring until soup reaches desired consistency, adding water or additional milk/broth as needed. Spoon into bowls and add crackers or cornbread to finish out the meal. 

HOMEMADE CHICKEN POT PIE

Makes two pies

4 deep dish pie crusts or a favorite recipe (at least two crusts need to be the loose, rolled kind of crusts to use for the top layer of the pot pies.) 

¼ stick butter 

¼ c. all-purpose flour — appx. 

4 c. broth 

4 c. milk  

2 c. chopped chicken 

2 c. mixed vegetables — cooked 

2 tsp. onion powder — or to taste 

2 tsp. garlic powder — or to taste 

Salt/pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a single pie crust into a pie pan. Repeat with a second pie pan. Set pie pans aside. Do not cook at this time. Leave the other two pie crusts sitting at room temperature while you complete the recipe. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add enough flour to soak up the butter. Stirring continuously, slowly add broth and milk. Bring to a simmer. Add seasonings. When mixture begins to thicken, add meat. Continue stirring until mixture reaches a thick, gravy like consistency. Remove from heat and add vegetables. Stir to combine. Add half of mixture to each pie pan. Gently place another pie crust onto the top of each filled pie pan. Poke a couple of holes into the center of the top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake pies until crusts are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 15-20 minutes to allow filling to set. Enjoy! 

What are your favorite chicken recipes? Share in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

Originally published in Countryside January/February 2020 and regularly vetted for accuracy.  

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