What am I gonna do with a whole chicken?

You have been concerned with the origins of the food you are feeding your family for quite some time.  You have been doing your best to buy locally and source the most natural products available.  You find a local family-owned farm that raises and sells meat chicken; you want to support small, local businesses, as well as know where your food is coming from.  You’ve never bought directly from a farm before, but, what the heck, you jump in and buy a FRESH whole chicken. You couldn’t be more excited and terrified at the same time!

You bring home your farm fresh chicken, and wonder, “Now what?”  Well, I can tell you that when I cook one of our chickens, it goes a L-O-N-G way.

You’ll want to have some idea of what you would like to do with all that meat. What should you make? Fear not, my friend! The following are some ideas of what I do with one of our chickens when I cook it ONCE and serve it MANY times.

Most of the time, I will start by boiling the chicken in a very large stock pot; I’m talking 20qts+. I will place the chicken breast side- down in the pot (white meat takes longer to cook), making sure to cover the chicken completely with water. (Don’t worry, some will evaporate). Once the chicken has boiled for several hours, I remove it from the water (it’s now a golden-hued broth), and I pick the meat from the carcass. (I save the bones and neck to a bag I keep in the freezer for later use to make bone broth). At this point, you can either freeze your new broth, or, what I like to do is turn it into chicken noodle soup (chicken corn soup). Add whatever veggies, noodles, and seasonings you like, slice up some good, crusty, homemade sourdough bread, and dinner is served for tonight!  Freeze the leftovers to pull out for easy future dinners.  

Next, take some of the meat and make chicken salad for lunches this week. It’s easy to prepare and contains lots of good, healthy protein!

Another option: grab a couple of boxes of your favorite Spanish rice, a can of black beans, some corn, and chicken, and mix it all together. Serve over chopped lettuce and top with cheese, sour cream and salsa for a quick burrito bowl dinner. 

Still have some of the chicken meat left? Well, then, sauté some colored peppers, onions & pineapple.  Mix together pineapple juice, lemon pepper, brown sugar, salt ‘n’ pepper and a bit of corn starch (or arrow root powder, it’s non-GMO), and add to your pan.  Throw in some chopped chicken and serve this over wild rice. Now, you have Oriental Chicken for dinner!

My family enjoys all the above-mentioned meals, but there IS one that I cannot make enough of for them: Crack Chicken Chili.  If you check Pinterest, you will find a multitude of recipes and versions.  We keep it simple:  2 chicken breasts (or whatever meat we have available), 1 can of black beans, 1 can of corn (we use organic frozen), 1 can of tomatoes with chilis, 1 package of ranch seasoning/dressing (I make my own), chili powder, cumin, some chicken broth, 1 cup of chopped bacon (I use our own, of course), a cup of sharp cheddar cheese and 1 package of cream cheese.  I throw all of this in my InstantPot, for 15min (it can be as little as 5min if you have precooked chicken).  You can also use a crock-pot/slow cooker as well, for 4 hours on high.  When it’s done, simply shred up the meat and stir.  Enjoy with noodles, over tortilla chips or simply in a bowl with a spoon! 

We hope you have enjoyed this post, and that it can give you some easy ways to use up ALL that chicken meat you’re going to have!

For more recipes, tips and ideas, stay tuned!

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