This is a quick and ‘dirty’ post!
I say quick & ‘dirty’ because I’m posting it from my phone, and using phone photos. Probably a big ‘no-no’ among real food bloggers but I’m not a ‘real’ food blogger!
Too often I don’t share tips, tricks, or daily goings on at the homestead because I just don’t always have time to snap great photos, edit, upload, and write a big long post! So I’m going to start doing more ‘quick & dirty’ posts from now on!
Every Tuesday my four girls have Taekwondo. It’s right around our usual dinner time! I like them to eat a little dinner before they go, but not a full meal or they will get cramps. Then by the time they get home at 7:20, they need a real meal so… I decided that Tuesdays would be Homemade Soup Tuesdays. This way they can have half a bowl before they go, and a full meal of soup with some bread, biscuits, or buns when they get home! Works great!
Right now we have an abundance of whole chickens in our freezer, often I’ll start with one of those. Today I realized that, like me when I first began making soups, maybe others don’t know what to do with a whole chicken! So I snapped some photos along the way because this way, is SUPER easy! And super frugal!
However, you do need to be ok with handling cooked chicken. With your bare hands.
First I start out in the am by simply putting a whole frozen chicken into a BIG pot of water, enough water to cover the chicken. Some might put spices in now but I give the scraps to our dogs & cats, so I hold off on adding anything. Nothing goes to waste this way!
I bring it to a boil and cook it hard for a while, about 30 mins or so. Then turn it down to medium heat for about another 1.5 hours or so, leaving the lid on. I’m aiming for a real good broth out of the chicken.
(You can also transfer it to the crockpot if you don’t want to leave it on the stove top.)
Once the chicken is well cooked and I’ve got a flavorful water left, I pull the whole chicken out of the pot of water, being careful not to let it break into a million bone-y bits!
I set the chicken aside on a platter to cool down.
Then I start to turn my water/soup base that’s left in the pot, into a real soup.
Today I added a large can of diced tomatoes, some baby carrots, left over peas from last nights dinner, chopped celery, onion, and spices such as poultry spices and anything else that sounds good. I also added a cup of barley. Last week I added noodles. Next time I’ll add wild rice.
If I feel there’s not enough flavor, I also add a little chicken soup stock. Since I make such a huge pot of soup, the flavor from one chicken doesn’t always seem to be enough otherwise.
This is my soup before adding the chicken meat.
I turn my pot on medium-medium high and bring it back to a boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and then I turn it down to low.
It’s time to get my hands dirty and tear apart the whole chicken! Yes, I use my hands. It’s the fastest and best way to get the job done well.
First I remove all the skin and set it aside for our dogs & cats. Boiled chicken skin is slimy and gross. You get get over it after a few times.
Then I remove obvious bones.
Next, I pull off the nice white meat, the chicken breasts ect. and set them on one dish for another meal.
Then I separate the garbage meat, from the meat suitable for my soup. Anything slimy, an unappetizing color, or just not pleasant looking goes onto the scrap dish.
Yuck to me, but a special treat for the pets!
This next plate full is what will go into the soup.
Some of the dark meat on top is close to being for the pets, but it just made the grade.
All I have left now is the empty carcass!
My two helpers get to clean up the juices and bits left on the plate!
(Never the chicken bones though, raw chicken bones yes, cooked chicken bones NO.)
And the good stuff goes into the pot for two meals worth of soup for the whole family, and one lunch for hubby to take to work. Sometimes some of the kids will have it for their lunch too.
The white meat I set had aside earlier is then divided up, some for another meal, and some for two chicken sandwiches for hubby’s lunch!
For the full family meal, one of us will either make chicken quesidilla, chicken wraps, chicken sandwiches, or any other chicken dish we can come up with! One of the kids will usually make the next meal from the left overs, since it’s so easy now that the meat for that meal has already been cooked!
And that’s how I turn one small whole chicken into 3 full family meals and at least a couple of lunches for this family of seven!
I know this post isn’t pretty, but hopefully it’s practical for anyone just learning how to make the most out of a chicken!