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Saturday, February 11, 2012

chicken for cheap

I've been determined to cook healthier and cheaper this year. Yeah, the other day I fried bread in crisco... but overall I really am trying to feed the family wholesome meals that won't kill my wallet.

I was buying too much ground chuck because it's the cheapest protein source that is quick and meaty. So this year I'm looking to use more chicken and dry beans in my cooking. Chicken can get so expensive though! So I have been buying the whole chicken and cooking it down into useable portions.

I put the whole bird in the crock pot and fill it half full of water. I quick chop some onions and garlic, maybe carrots and celery if I have them. I put in dried sage and thyme from the garden and I let it go all day.

After about 8 hours the chicken is fully cooked and super moist and flavorful. The hardest part if then taking all the meat off the bones. I usually try to keep the breast meat intact for one meal and then use the rest of the meat for another meal; usually something calling for shredded chicken. Then I put the bones back in the crock pot and let it go a bit longer for stock. I just use a ladle and get the liquid out of the pot. This usually makes about two quarts of stock. This can then be used for soups or for making more flavorful rice. The bonus for me is that the fat all rises to the top so I can skim it off and have a lower fat chicken stock than you'd find in the grocery.

Just thought I'd share in this experiment. Anyone have a better way to go about it?

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