This post is part of the Cooking at Home with Stretching a Buck series. Read along as I share meals that I cook for my family, along with money saving tips and our thoughts on each meal.
As I have mentioned many times before, I have been in a bit of a cooking rut for awhile now. Last year was an incredibly busy one for us – and I have been struggling to get back on track with couponing, meal planning and cooking.
Something that has helped me is to have one or two dinners per week that repeat. For several months now I have been roasting one whole chicken per week – typically on a weekend day – which I am then able to stretch into 2 meals. Who doesn’t love a double duty dinner?
I like that chicken is versatile. Even though I prepare my chicken the same way from week to week, I am able to serve it with different side dishes, and the 2nd meal that I make with the leftover chicken can vary as well. I have adapted the Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook to fit our needs, and I love it!
I choose to “splurge” on all of the chicken we eat. At this point I am only buying organic. I typically purchase a whole, organic 3-4 lb chicken for around $10-12 at Whole Foods, Kroger or Giant Eagle. Obviously, this is personal preference. I try to offset the cost of the chicken by purchasing my onions, garlic and seasonings at ALDI.
To prepare my chicken, I remove any innards, rinse it and pat it dry. I then salt and pepper the body cavity and stuff it with garlic cloves and half a lemon. I melt 2 TBSP of butter and brush the outside of the chicken, liberally apply salt and pepper and tie the legs shut. Finally, I roughly chop an onion and place it around the chicken. Before it goes into the oven it looks like this:
Last week I decided to pair the chicken with some leftover Pepperidge Farm stuffing that I had in the pantry. I added dried cranberries and toasted almonds to the stuffing and it was YUMMY! I just followed the recipe on the back of the bag. Here was the end result:
So what was the verdict? My picky kids LOVE this chicken and always chow down on it. They also ate the veggies, but wouldn’t touch the stuffing. My husband and I loved the stuffing though, and I’ll definitely be making it again!
Later in the week I used the leftover chicken to make my favorite White Chicken Chili. Except it didn’t turn out very “white” because I was out of white beans and had to use 2 cans of black beans instead. No worries…it still tasted great.
I love the flexibility and simplicity of this recipe. Sometimes I throw everything into the crockpot and let it cook all day, other times I throw it together and let it cook until my husband gets home.
Here it is getting ready to bubble on the stove until dinner time:
My favorite way to eat this is topped with shredded cheese and crumbled tortilla chips.
See below for my Roast Chicken and Chicken Chili Recipes.
So what are you cooking in your kitchen this week? Do you have any tips to share with me as to how you would make this soup even better?
- 1 4-5 lb whole chicken
- Kosher salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 head of garlic, cut in half
- 2 TBSP melted butter (I use unsalted)
- 1 medium sized onion (any will do, I use yellow or red)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove any innards from the chicken cavity/neck, rinse and pat dry.
- Stand the chicken on end in a roasting pan and liberally sprinkle the cavity with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Stuff the cavity with lemon and garlic (as much as will fit - typically half of the lemon and garlic bulb for this sized chicken)
- Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the chicken.
- Brush the entire chicken with 2 TBSP of melted butter.
- Liberally sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Roughly chop the onion and place around the chicken.
- Roast the chicken uncovered for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until juices run clear.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.
- 3-4 Chicken Breasts, Diced OR left over Roast Chicken
- 1 T Olive Oil
- 1/2 White Onion, Diced
- 1 15 oz can White Beans
- 1 15 oz can Black Beans
- 1-2 32 oz cartons of Chicken Stock or Broth (your preference on how "soupy" you want it)
- 1 4.5 oz can Chopped Green Chilies
- 1 packet of White Chicken Chili Mix (I like McCormicks)
- Shredded Cheese, Tortilla Chips, Sour Cream (all optional)
- Heat oil in a medium to large size soup pot
- Add diced onion and cook until soft and translucent, 7-10 minutes
- Drain canned beans, rinse and add to the pot
- Add chicken broth/stock, diced chilies, seasoning packet and chicken.
- Stir and let simmer on the stove for at least 15 minutes, or until ready to serve.
- Serve with crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese and sour cream (optional)