Here is the first plan I wrote, out of necessity! I couldn’t figure out how to deal with so many different parts of the chickens I was doing unless I had everything written down and the recipes gathered together.
My “Chicken Plan”
(I broke it down to 6 at a time)
Out of 18 whole chickens, I used:
6 whole roasted chickens: 4 Roast Sticky Chicken, 2 Rosemary Lemon Chicken
With the 12 other chickens:
- cut breasts for Chicken Strips, Fajitas, and Forbidden City Chicken
- cut legs and thighs for Simmering Chinese Chicken
- cut wings for Teriyaki Chicken wings and Hot wings
- save backs for All Purpose Chicken
- save breastbones (after deboning breasts) for chicken soup
- save giblets for who knows what!
My Strategy – When dealing with meats that have different parts, you need to think about how you will use each to get the maximum amount of food for your dollar.
Here is how I handled chicken (the same approach can be used for turkey and many of these recipes will work for turkey):
First, I marinated 4 Roast Sticky chickens and put them back in the fridge, stuck two Rosemary Lemon Chickens with potatoes and green beans in the oven for three hours. Then I prepared all of the other marinades and mixes in advance (the recipes follow) before cutting up chicken. My five year old enjoyed helping with this part. I saved the messy stuff – the cutting until after my kids were asleep and dh was and could answer the phone. I prepared the work space the best I could, making sure all of the knives were really sharp, had lots of Ziploc bags and bowls on hand, and my “chicken plan” in front of me and turned up the rock ‘n roll! Yeah!
I put 6 chickens at a time in my sink, then opened all the wrappers and used an “assembly-line approach.” I washed the first one, scooped out the giblets into a nearby bowl, cut the wings off and put in a wing bowl, cut the whole legs off (easier that way) and put in the leg bowl, and then cut off the back. I put the backs in a bowl, and the breasts in another. With 12 chickens, this didn’t take but a half hour. On my second “cutting” I took all of the legs and cut between the drum and thigh and put them back in packages of 8 to a Ziploc, counted wings and put them in two Ziplocs, and put the chicken backs in Ziplocs. I also put giblets in Ziplocs. The giblets and backs went right to the freezer. At this point I felt like falling over, but the smell of a bargain (and all of those chickens!) kept me going.
I poured the marinades for “Simmering Chinese Chicken,” “Teriyaki Wings” and “Hot Wings,” then froze all of them. By this time, I was late for chat! Oh no! So I cleaned eveything up, reserving the chicken breasts for the next night. I disinfected everything too, which took a while!
The next night, I suited up to do battle again! Donning my rubber gloves and sharpening my knives, I prepared for the biggest pain, deboning all of the chicken breasts! I cut them from the bone on the first pass then cut them all into strips. I put the breast bones into a soup pot with water, some garlic powder, onion powder and seasoning salt. The broth was excellent and I got about two cups of additional white meat! I prepared the Oven Fried Chicken Strips and Fajitas, saving the rest of the strips for the next night.
The next night was pretty easy. I prepared all of the Deep Fried Chicken Strips and some chicken noodle soup which I need today because we are all sick! It took three or four days, but I found that if you do one motion repeatedly, you get really good at it and kick some serious chicken butt! I felt like “Jackie Chan” in the kitchen! I just followed the butcher cuts I see in the store. By mass producing, I saved money and time (I used rubber gloves to save my hands too!)
Originally published by Kim Tilley, a tightwad at heart. Kim is a wife, a mother of three active boys and the founding editor of Frugal-Moms.com. Frugal by force and later by choice, Kim cut her income by 60% to stay at with her children and discovered that anyone can live better for less. Her work has appeared in print publications such as The Tightwad Gazette. In her free time, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something from nothing!
© 2002-2006 Fractured Frugal Friends (F3). All Rights Reserved. Used by permission. Edited and revised by Menus4Moms.