My Grandmother, the Farm Wife, tragically widowed as a young mother to 7, and hence manager of two “hired hands”, would plan her menus two weeks to a month ahead, as did my Mom, and that was a habit I got into as well growing up. It allows you to maximize your resources and stretch your proteins to feed a lot of hungry people. It really came in handy when J joined the military, and I had to figure out how to feed three growing children, a pregnant me, a very hungry Marine, as well as any stray barracks rats he brought home, all on a 2nd Lt’s salary of $22,000/year. (And, yes, even back then it was considered “below the poverty line”)
So: as an example: this week the Commissary had Tyson’s whole cut-up chickens on sale for 59 c/lb, I bought two packages @ approx $4.50/each. Our local grocery store had bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for 99 c/lb, I bought two packages of four large breasts each and whole rotisserie chickens were on sale for $4.99 and I had a $1.00 discount coupon, for $3.99 final price.
That’s a lot of chicken – how to plan to make best use of it?
The rotisserie chicken, I carved out the two large breast portions and thinly sliced to top a baby greens mixed salad with pecans and a raspberry balsamic vinegarette for lunch. I then shredded the remaining breast meat (there was quite a bit), back and thigh meat for the wild rice soup the following day. The remaining carcass, which still had a lot of meat left on it, I chopped up with my meat cleaver and threw into my large lobster pot to make a soup stock.
I then took as much skin as I could off the cut-up chicken packages. discarded the skin, and threw the meat into the stockpot., except for the breasts (4). The breasts from the packages of cut-up chicken I filleted, along with the packages of chicken breasts. In total, I had 12 large breasts. 6 – ,I set aside to use this week, and the remaining 6, I whipped up a white wine marinade for and froze for the foundation of a meal down the road. The remains of the the two cut up chickens and 8 breast bones went into the stockpot.
(We have 5 @ home right now, so I plan meals for 6, which allows my husband to have leftovers to take to work)
After the meat on the cut-up chickens has cooked to the point of falling off the bone, I will dice/shred and use for either chili, chicken pot pie, chicken tetrazinni, etc (you get the idea). There will be more than enough for several meals, so I’ll portion out in quart size freezer bags and freeze for future use.
I wanted to make best use of all the chicken carcasses/bones for a really rich stock, as well as get myself organized for quick-and-easy meals later in the week/month when we’re busy-busy-busy. The stock I will also clarify and freeze in 2 cup portions for later use as needed.
That’s how Grandma R rolled!