Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stretched Out Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

Say that five times fast! I call this chicken "Stretched Out" because I use the meat from one chicken in three different recipes/meals. Because the three recipes will have very different flavors, I have made the seasoning very simple and rather neutral. If you do plan on eating the chicken as part of a roasted chicken dinner instead, you can get creative with different herbs such as rosemary, tarragon, etc. I take the chicken off the bone and separate it into three containers, freezing one or two if it might be more than a few days before I use them. From a 4 pound chicken, I yield 2+ cups per container. You could even save the bones and use them along with your vegetable trimmings for a batch of stock.

There are a few variables when it comes to the cost of this recipe--how many meals you use it for, what type of chicken you buy, etc. As I have said, I buy organic chicken because the higher cost is more than worth it to me, and when I can stretch one chicken into three healthful meals for my family, the cost isn't even an issue. My grocery store often has non-organic whole chickens on sale for $.79 to $.99 per pound, which is considerably cheaper than the $3.00-$6.00 per pound I pay for organic and would bring your total amount for chicken per recipe, for three recipes, to under $2.00. You could nix the vegetables since they are just discarded after the chicken is cooked, but the cost is very minimal, and I like having a flavorful "rack" for the chicken to sit on.

Stretched Out Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

1 4 lb whole chicken
2 stalks celery, cut in 1" chunks
3 carrots, cut in 1" chunks
1 small onion, cut in chunks
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper

Directions: Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry (make sure you check for the giblets/neck and remove them). Place vegetables, bay leaf and one sprig of parsley on the bottom of slow cooker. Place chicken on top of vegetables, tuck the wings under, sprinkle it with salt and pepper on the outside, getting up under the skin where you can, as well as inside the cavity. Place the remaining sprig of parsley in the cavity. Cook on low for 8 hours.


Chicken (organic): On sale for $2.75/lb, 4 lbs = $11
Red onion: $.75/lb, small onion was 6 ounces = $.28
Garlic: $.25/head, 1 clove is 1/12 = $.02
Celery: $1.18 per head, 2 stalks is 1/6 = $.20
Carrots: $1.98/2 lb bag, 3 carrots is 1/6 of bag =  $.32

Total Cost: $11.82
Three meal portions: $3.94 per meal

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