Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to save money on Chicken!

Okay... perhaps many of you know this "trick" already, but I just stumbled upon it and it has revolutionized my cooking!  It all started when I saw that Bi-Lo had "Split Chicken Breasts" on sale for $.99/lb. this week (sale is still going - go get them!)  For some reason, in my mind I was just thinking it was normal chicken breasts that I always buy (for about $4.99/lb.) and I ran over there to get some.  I was bummed out when I saw that they weren't the clean looking chicken breasts I was used to.  There were 5 in the pack and they had the skin on and bones still in.  Yuck.  I was wondering why I didn't realize that before.  BUT, in a God-inspired moment, I decided to get them and see how to use them.  I bought one pack (5 breasts, about 4.5 lbs) for $4.57.  I'm a bit, okay a lot squeemish about chicken (even the "clean looking" kind) - so if I can do this, anyone can!  

I got home and searched google and found this article: What to do with bone in split chicken breasts.  Her story is much better than mine (she's even a Christian who learned this on the mission field!), and she includes pictures of all the steps.  Why re-create the wheel?  Check it out.  

So, last night, I decided to stop being a wimp and cut up my chicken breasts.  I used a filet knife, put out 2 bowls to collect the different pieces (chicken in one, bones and skin in the other). I did it just like she said and this is what it rendered:

- 5 large chicken breasts
- 5 tenders
- 12 cups of chicken stock made in my crock pot (like she says to do)
- Some meat still stuck to the bone that I can use for soup or chicken salad

What?!  It was sooooo easy.  I was a little weirded out when I started, but by the 5th piece of chicken, I was a pro.  :)  It only took me 35 minutes (I'm talking getting the chicken in freezable bags, preparing the crock pot, and cleaning up).

This morning, after I strained the stock I divided it up into 2  zip-lock bags - (quart size bag = 4 cups), I saved 2 cups in a jar in my fridge to use for tonight's tomato soup and I poured the rest into 2 ice cube trays (1 cup per tray) to freeze.  I figured out that 8 cubes (in my trays) = 1/2 cup and I wrote that on the zip-lock bag I put them in (after they were frozen).  This took about 15-20 minutes.

We buy chicken stock like crazy.  Not anymore!  This made the house smell awesome and I know exactly what went into the broth... you can make it however you want to (many different recipes) with less salt, etc...  But the best part is the cost break-down.

The cheapest box (4 cups) costs about $2.50.  I like to think I got 12 cups (3 boxes = $7.50) of chicken stock for FREE!  I think chicken tenders run about $4 or so (haven't bought them in a while), and I like to think I got these 5 chicken tenders for FREE! And paying $4.57 for 5 large breasts of chicken is a pretty good deal in and of itself.  So instead of paying around $20 for all of this I only payed $4.57 and my freezer is stocked so I can wait to buy the chicken until it is on sale again!

Try it!  Call me if you need encouragement.  :) If you have a great way to use chicken, or a great stock recipe - leave a comment or let me know!  Or just leave a comment and tell me that you also didn't know this so it makes me feel better... 


The Weeks Family said...

I got that pack of chicken from Bilo, too. ONE piece of that chicken fed my whole family in a crockpot recipe. It is so economical.

Claire said...

it scares me... a lot. raw chicken does. but i promise to take the challenge and try it.

i'll report back. but probably not this week :)

G-Metal, Coco, Angel Face and Bunny said...

That's so funny that you posted this. I feel the exact same way about meat with bones in it, but nowadays, I'm willing to try anything. And especially if it's in a crock pot all day, the chicken shreds anyways, so i guess it's not as important if there is a bone on it or not! My favorite- EASY- recipe is put chicken in the crock pot, pour a jar of salsa on it and put it over white rice. So easy, so yummy and so diet friendly! Keep the good money saving/cooking advice coming!

Home school Mom said...

Girl, you are brave! I have come a long way with meat, since I've been married (10 years), but I still have trouble touching/cooking it. :p I used to buy chicken breast, go to prepare it and end up throwing it all out and gagging!! :D I don't do that anymore, but it does still gross me out! I am sorry to say, I don't think I can try what you did, but that's awesome that you saved all the $$ and have lots to work with for dinners!! You are my hero!! :D

The Weeks Family said...

FYI...I generally don't touch the meat. Separating and freezing meat is Charles' job while I'm putting up the groceries! A great chicken crockpot recipe (and you can leave bones...meat will fall off bones after cooked): Just put chicken in crockpot with can of cream/chicken soup. I add a little salt, pepper and onion. Cook 4-6 hours and serve with egg noodles. It is a favorite with the kiddos! :)

JackRussell said...

WORD Irene. Great idea!

AdamRachelandBoys said...

Thanks for posting this! I'm bookmarking it and doing it this week! :)