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...