6 Budget Stretching Chicken Recipes

I know that it’s all the rage to be able to stretch one chicken into 5 meals, but I need to be realistic.

My teenagers are hungry, especially after 2 1/2 hour taekwondo classes. They could easily scarf an entire chicken themselves, but at the rate of $12-$14 each from our Whole Foods Store, that doesn’t fly. So, I make 3 whole chickens and stretch them into 6 meals, feeding 5 of us each time.  Here are my 6 budget stretching chicken recipes!

budget chicken post correct

Start by cutting up the chicken

Most people like to cook the whole chickens first, but for me, I like to cut them up into pieces to better use them. Then, I take the different pieces and make these recipes:

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I use four of the six chicken breasts for this meal, and cut into bite sized pieces.
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cornstarch, mixed with 1/2 cup water
2 cups cornstarch, for breading the chicken
oil for frying
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by rolling the chicken pieces in the cornstarch, and chilling for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring your oil (coconut or tallow preferred) to 375° and place the chicken pieces in to cook. They will take about 5 minutes to cook through and brown. Place on a plate and keep warm.

In a separate pan, heat 2 Tablespoons coconut oil and gently fry the onions and green pepper. Add salt and pepper over the veggies. After 2 minutes, add the pineapple chunks, juice, brown sugar, chicken stock and vinegar and bring to a boil. As it is boiling, carefully stir in the cornstarch water, and allow to thicken while you continually stir. This should happen rather quickly. Place chicken over precooked rice, and ladel sauce over all.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Take the remainder of the breasts and cut into bite size chunks and cook over medium heat until done. Next take:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Sautee the onion and garlic in the butter until sweated out. Add the flour and stir, forming a roux paste. Stir in the milk and cook over medium high heat until thick.
To this mixture, add in
1 cup sour cream
1 additional cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
cooked chicken

Take 1/4 cup of the mixture each time and place in the center of a tortilla, either flour or corn. Roll up like a burrito. Continue until all the tortillas are filled. Pour the leftover sauce mixture over the top of the tortillas and top with additional shredded cheese. Bake at 350 until golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. You can also wrap tightly and freeze before baking to save for another time. To use a frozen dish, simply place in the oven frozen for 45 minutes at 350. Top with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and additional shredded cheese for serving.

Homestyle Baked Chicken

Rub each quarter with mayo and sprinkle salt, pepper and paprika liberally. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes, or until juices run clear. This usually makes enough that we can stretch it into 2 meals, if I add mashed potates, vegetables and dinner rolls.

Chicken Broth

(using 3 backs, I can easily make 2 gallons of broth easily)
Roast the backs in a 400° oven for 30 minutes. Add to a large stock pot with 2 gallons of water.

I usually toss in a couple of carrots, a few celery stalks, 2 onions, some salt, pepper, three to five cloves of garlic and a 3-5 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10-12 hours. I leave mine overnight, but if you are worried about open flames, you can use a crockpot on low, or just do it when you are awake.
Drain the veggies and chicken backs and you can compost them at this point.

The broth is excellent for drinking as is, or as a base for other soups, gravies, or risotto. Here are two great recipes to use broth for:

Chicken Noodle Soup

I like to use “leftovers” of the chicken, or the ugly parts for soup. I will poach it in some hot broth for about 20 minutes, remove and shred it. Then, start your soup!
5 large carrots, cut into coins
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken broth
In a large stock pot, heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots and stir fry for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the white wine to the pan to deglaze the pan and simmer for about 2 minutes.
Add in the chicken broth and simmer until veggies are tender.
Add in shredded chicken, and bring broth to a boil.
Cook noodles directly in the broth and serve when al dente.
Serve with fresh homebaked bread!

Kale and Rice with Chicken Broth

2 pounds hamburger
2 cups rice (I used white here, but you can use brown just as easily)
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups loosely packed kale, washed and chopped (you can also use fresh spinach or swiss chard, or other greens)
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
salt and pepper
2 T. oil of choice (coconut, tallow, ect…)

Begin by heating a skillet on medium high heat.

Add the oil of choice and when it begins to “shine”, add the garlic, onions, salt and pepper to the skillet.

Stir to brown for about 3 minutes. Add the hamburger and brown with the veggies. Add rice, kale and chicken broth. Stir to wilt the kale and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in the nutritional yeast and serve!

Kohlrabi and Chicken

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T coconut oil, or tallow
1/2 small onion, diced
4 small kohlrabi, peeled
2 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ and sliced thin
salt, pepper, parsley
2 cups white rice
6 cups broth, divided

Start by bringing 4 cups of broth with the rice to a boil. Turn to medium low heat to cook. Next, peel the kohlrabi. The outer edge is rather woody, and that makes it rather unedible. Slice in thin coins. Heat a skillet with 2 tablespoons tallow or coconut oil and add garlic and onion. Season with salt and pepper and sweat for about 3 minutes. Add the kohlrabi and stir well to combine.

Lay the chicken breast strips across the veggie mixture, and pour the remaing broth around in the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until kohlrabi is soft and chicken is steam cooked through. Top with parsley and serve over cooked rice.

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19 thoughts on “6 Budget Stretching Chicken Recipes”

  1. Using whole chickens is a great way to save money on chicken. Doens’t take much time to cut it up. I usually like to cut it up first like you do.

  2. We cook up a whole chicken about once a month. I’m always looking for new recipes for chicken so I pinned this to try some of these recipes!

  3. Krystal Bernier

    Great recipes and use of a whole chicken. Because it’s just pregnant old me and my husband right now we can make a chicken last for a number of meals, then I use the bones to make broth. When my family gets bigger these ideas will be very useful to me 🙂

  4. Thanks for breaking it down for us like this! I usually rotate in drumsticks and chicken thighs into our meal plan to keep costs down.

  5. The Frugal Exerciser

    I don’t know how to cut up a whole chicken but I need to learn how. I will look up some YouTube videos on this and practice this weekend.

  6. I make bone broth and turn it into chicken noodle soup with all the veggies I need to use up and then freeze. It lasts me all winter.

  7. I always add chicken feet to my broth so that it has LOTS of gelatin which is extremely helpful and healing when you’re sick or have tummy issues. You can get them at any Asian Grocery Store in the fresh meat case.

  8. You have no idea how helpful these are! I’m still learning to cook meat after being vegan my whole life. I see folks talking about a chicken feeding basically 20 people and I’m like HOW?! I use everything and make broth with the bones too until they disintegrate and then I give them to the garden. I’ve not had sweet n sour chicken but with the rice I can see how it’d stretch so far! Thanks! I’m pinning this for a reminder!

    ~ Honey

  9. I have a hard time trying to come up with different recipes for Chicken. We eat a lot of it in our household and my family gets sick of the normal options that I make. Thanks for sharing how you can stretch it out and save some time and money.

  10. I only buy whole chicken and cut it up or cook it whole….but the one thing I always do it cut off the wings and toss them into the freezer. When I have about 12-15 I make chicken wings for dinner with some mashed potatoes and veggies. I merinate the wings in soy sauce/maple syrup/lemon juice….I freeze the left over marinade for the next time.

  11. Chrystal @ Happy Mothering

    We stretch our chickens as well, but I prefer to cook mine whole. We usually eat the legs, thighs and wings. Then the breasts go into soups or Thai curry that lasts a few meals. Then I use the carcass and all bones to make stock in the crockpot.

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