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Mrs. Maroon

February 9, 2015

Are You Too Chicken…

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To Cook A Whole Chicken??

At one point in my life, I was. I watched in horror as Mr. Maroon skinned the chicken and removed the gizzards (great visual right??) He had plans to shove a can of beer up inside and roast it on the grill for about an hour… appropriately dubbed the ‘beer-in-the-butt chicken.’ I don’t think I’ve ever been the same.

 

Nowadays, I add a whole chicken to my food prep routine fairly often. I love the idea for so many different reasons:

  1. It cooks without my attention – but more on that in minute.
  2. Buying a whole chicken is much cheaper than other cuts.
  3. It tastes great.
  4. I can cook meat for a whole week of meals all at one time.

 

Now, I must admit, these are all pretty compelling reasons. But my absolute favorite is #4! As a working mom of two minis, saving just a couple minutes in the evening could mean an extra book together before bedtime, a more relaxed supper preparation, and many many more activities more exciting than cooking – don’t get me wrong, I actually really enjoy cooking. But I much prefer the laid-back atmosphere of the weekends instead of trying to cram everything in together while still hitting a respectable bedtime. The thing is, I’m not willing to pay for the convenience at the expense of my pocketbook.

 Can you believe you can get all of this goodness for roughly $5??


Can you believe you can get all of this goodness for roughly $5??

A couple weeks ago I once again ventured in to this pursuit as one of my favorite cooking techniques. I cooked my chicken during the day Monday. I came across a fabulous recipe from 100 Days of Real Food that allows my crockpot to do the most of the work. I set it and come back at the end of the day with a beautiful roasted chicken. Better yet, after shredding the meat, I returned the bones and skin back into the crockpot to let it work one more time for me – chicken stock! When I decided to cook soup later in the week, I had fresh stock (grocery savings) without all the extra sodium, or other ingredients I can’t pronounce, from the store-bought brands (health savings). Our meals for the week consisted of stir fry, that yummy soup, nachos (not exactly in the healthy realm, but a good splurge), and a chicken/rice/veggie casserole. I even topped our Friday night pizza with chicken.I just picked up a couple more chickens to replenish our supply… what a steal at $0.96/pound! Considering I can use it as the base for nearly a week’s worth of meals, and save myself some precious time on top of that, I’ll take it. And that doesn’t even account for getting the fresh stock for soups later on.

 Set it, and forget it is my favorite cooking style!


Set it, and forget it is my favorite cooking style!

One word of caution… Make sure you allow yourself enough time in your schedule to let the chicken cool, but still remove all the meat while still a little warm. I was pressed for time, so I through the whole crock in the fridge to pull apart the next day – bad move. Working with the chicken while still warm is much easier.

 Even our Thanksgiving turkey got the same stock treatment.


Even our Thanksgiving turkey got the same stock treatment.

Have you ever cooked a whole bird (other than Thanksgiving)? Are you willing to try it now? Did you know how easy it can be?

 

~ Mrs. Maroon

Our Anti-Valentine's Jubilee
January 2015 Update
  1. Comment by Robin @ The Thrifty Peach — February 9, 2015 @ 8:49 PM

    I have absolutely been too scared to cook a whole chicken. How stupid is that?! This seems so easy and I didn’t think about making your own chicken stock out of it too (after I just bought a thing of chicken stock last week, ugh.) I’m going to buy a whole chicken the next time I go to the grocery store… and I’m not kidding! My fear of the whole raw chicken will not keep me down. 🙂
    Robin @ The Thrifty Peach recently posted…An Unexpected WindfallMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Good for you! Let us know what you think about your chicken cooking experience 🙂

  2. Comment by Petrish @ Debt Free Martini — February 9, 2015 @ 10:36 PM

    These are really great tips. I can identify to trying to save time to spend with your children. I am a single mom and I believe that I don’t spend enough time with my child as I’d like too. I started cooking on the weekends for the week and it has helped out so much. This also saved me from buying out. Thanks for the recipes.

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Cooking ahead on the weekend is a huge time saver too. And you eliminate the temptation to go out! Win, win!!

  3. Comment by Mrs SSC — February 10, 2015 @ 6:25 AM

    I love the crockpot!!!! One of our favorite dishes is chicken quarters in the crockpot, which we can get for about 99cents/lb. I do tend to avoid the whole bird, for some unknown reason, although we do cook them occasionally. I think because I’m more of a thigh-girl then a breast-girl 🙂

    100 Days of Real food has some great recipes. One of my favorites is their “slow cooker refried beans”. Super simple, super cheap, and super yummy!!!
    Mrs SSC recently posted…January 2015: Our money went where???My Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    The chicken quarters sound great too, especially at that price! I’m still very jealous that you get to shop at HEB. I’ve tried the slow cooker refried beans. I think I forgot the peppers though, because they were really bland. Perhaps I need to try it again.

  4. Comment by Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom — February 10, 2015 @ 7:30 AM

    I have cooked the whole chicken (but usually I pick up the already cooked ones when we do it.) Usually we stick to chicken parts, which seem to be cheaper here. Meat for <$1 is serious frugal territory! You're motivating me to pick up a utility turkey around Easter, because there's usually $1 sale on.
    Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom recently posted…Can We Stick to a Budget? Our January Spending UpdateMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Hmmm. Interesting that the parts are cheaper. That’s not the case here. Go get that cheap turkey!

  5. Comment by Laurie @thefrugalfarmer — February 10, 2015 @ 7:51 AM

    We do this all the time!! BIG money and time saver. Our fave, though, is the chicken broth. I’m hoping to buy a pressure canner and start canning it this summer, but for now we just let it cool, add water, and put it in a Ziploc freezer bag and store it in the deep freezer. Instant healthy soup base, at your fingertips!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Motivation: Words of Wisdom From Paul MilliganMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    We freeze the broth in 1-2 cup containers and then move our sickles to big baggies. Canning it sounds like a great idea too! Let us know if you do it 🙂 Given what I’ve learned about your homesteading lifestyle, I had to expect that y’all would be whole chicken cookers!

  6. Comment by Fervent Finance — February 10, 2015 @ 12:48 PM

    My favorite lately is ground turkey since I can toss it in a frying pan and ten minutes later I’m done. The reason I don’t cook a whole chicken is #1 I’m just feeding myself, and #2 is length of time to cook. If I’m working longer days, ease and cook time are my main priorities.

    Maybe I’ll add the whole chicken to my Sunday cooking repertoire.
    Fervent Finance recently posted…Keeping up with the JonesesMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    I agree that for feeding one, a whole chicken might be too much. But you could always freeze individual portions to use later down the line. Ground meat is the best ever. It cooks so fast and can be transformed into so many different dishes. Hope you’ll try the chicken one weekend, maybe for guests?

  7. Comment by Christina @ Embracing Simple — February 10, 2015 @ 9:23 PM

    Mind, blown. You can cook an entire chicken in a slow cooker? What?! Excuse me while I pick my jaw up from the floor.

    I think you just changed my cooking life! I always thought that cooking an entire chicken had to be the whole roasting in a huge pan ordeal that was laborious and a pain, so I’ve never even attempted it.

    I’m totally giving this a shot, thanks so much for sharing this! I’m always looking for ways to use my beloved slow cooker 🙂
    Christina @ Embracing Simple recently posted…The 4 Dangers of BusynessMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Hahaha!! You can make a chicken sooo much easier than a roasting pan in the oven. I am delighted to have shared a new secret with you. Please come back and tell us what you think after you give it a shot!!

  8. Comment by Kayla @ Femme Frugality — February 11, 2015 @ 9:14 AM

    I know it saves a lot of money, but I hate cooking and then de-boning the whole chicken. Instead I just wait for a really, really good sale on thighs or breasts so I don’t have to… Bad PT blogger I know, haha! I do still use my chicken for multiple meals and when I cook the chicken in the crockpot I save the broth for soups. Does that help? 🙂
    Kayla @ Femme Frugality recently posted…How We’ve Cut Our Expenses by $4,380/YearMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Take full advantage of those sales! I can respect that whole chickens are not for everyone. But I also advocate coming to that conclusion through personal experience instead of fear of the unknown. Glad you’ve tried it and found a better solution for you!

  9. Comment by Elroy — February 11, 2015 @ 10:51 AM

    I don’t actually cook our own chickens. They’re $4 at costco already cooked.
    Elroy recently posted…Painting MDF edges without it looking fuzzyMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    That’s awesome! What a great price. We aren’t privileged enough to have a Costco…

  10. Comment by kay ~ lifestylevoices.com — February 12, 2015 @ 10:40 AM

    I’ve been wanting to get a slow cooker for like FOREVER, but never did. I’ve never even used one. Now I know for sure I want one and I know exactly what I’m going to cook first! Thanks for the tip! Those pictures are mouth watering! 🙂
    kay ~ lifestylevoices.com recently posted…Extreme Minimalism ~ A Love Story 🙂My Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    You MUST add a slow cooker to your kitchen. It is one of the most fabulous inventions of all modern cooking, at least for busy folks!

  11. Comment by Mr. SSC — February 13, 2015 @ 9:28 AM

    I like cooking whole chickens, but it seems to freak out Mrs. SSC somehow. Quarters she loves though!
    One year we wanted to try Tur-duck-en then saw the outrageous prices for those. Not fearing some deboning, I bought all the birds separately, for a fraction of the price, and an hr later, Bam! De-boned, stuffed together Tur-duck-en!

    I need to get better about using the remains for broths or stocks though. I’ve been a little lazy lately and haven’t been doing that.
    Thanks for the reminder!
    Mr. SSC recently posted…A balancing actMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    DIY tur-duck-en. Now that is truly impressive! Wow!!

  12. Comment by Jason @ Phroogal — February 13, 2015 @ 7:58 PM

    That looks delicious. I’ve cooked whole chicken before and it’ll last me a few days. I should try creating my own chicken broth.
    Jason @ Phroogal recently posted…What are ways to supplement my income without leaving my home?My Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    You definitely need to try it. I find it very satisfying to know that I made everything physically possible in a meal.

  13. Comment by femmefrugality — February 13, 2015 @ 10:30 PM

    Yeah….I’m way too chicken. The husband helped with Thanksgiving turkey for the first time this year. I’ve only ever made one pre-gutted from Honey Baked Ham. He came back with these terrible descriptive anecdotes that he was so proud of….so maybe we’ll let that be his thing.
    femmefrugality recently posted…Affording a Valentine in Pittsburgh Versus Other Top 10 Cities for LoveMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Good for him! I love it when Mr. Maroon helps – which is honestly very often. Perhaps you can watch from the door to just get started. It doesn’t have to be scary!!

  14. Comment by Felix Money — February 14, 2015 @ 10:14 PM

    We sometimes buy whole organic chickens at Costco and cut them in pieces and freeze them. The bones (neck, ribs) are great for chicken soup, and our cats eat the gizzards.
    Felix Money recently posted…My 2015 MoneyfestoMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    So glad to hear the cats get to enjoy the yummyness too!!

  15. Comment by Tawcan — February 17, 2015 @ 4:18 PM

    We love cooking whole chicken, especially roasting it in the oven. It’s so straight forward and so easy. We usually use the left overs for soup later.
    Tawcan recently posted…How to survive a shopping trip to CostcoMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Love to hear about other whole-chicken-cookers! The homemade soup can’t be beat either 🙂

  16. Comment by vivianne — February 17, 2015 @ 6:29 PM

    There is a Vietnamese dish called “Pho”, I need to make broth with chicken bone and beef bone along with other ingredients. But the point is at first you’ll just grill the chicken to get all the meat out. Then you get the skin and bone mix with beef bones.

    The chicken meat from the whole chicken, I usually divided into several portions, and I have the options to do several different meals:

    1. Chicken salad – chop in minx size, mix with vegetable and mayonase, salt and pepper.
    2. Chicken in small piece for “Pho chicken”
    3. I can saute the chicken with vegetable to make saute chicken
    4. I can stew the meat to make stew chicken with curry, sweet and sour, orange chicken, etc

    Then use the broth for Pho, or other kind of soup with different kind of vegetable.

    I usually buy things per season – if it’s apple season then I’d use apple in my cooking, etc. No reason to go exactly with the cook book.

    Have fun cooking!!

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    I also like cooking in season. And a surely don’t use a cookbook. Occasionally I use a recipe as inspiration to follow loosely, but that’s about it. You will never catch me measuring spices. I’m just not that precise. Your meal ideas for the chicken sound wonderful too!!

  17. Comment by Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions — February 19, 2015 @ 7:03 AM

    This used to be part of our regular routine. Then my husband complained about washing the crock pot or the roasting pan (I cook, he cleans up) and I stopped doing it because I didnt want to hear him complain! But I miss it — I love making stock from kitchen scraps (red pepper cores, onion skins, celery top, etc.).
    Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions recently posted…We Saved $110 per Month With This Easy SwitchMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Oohh! I like the idea of using all of the extra pieces for stick that you’d otherwise toss. Guess I should start holding on to those… Maybe freeze as we go and throw in the next batch.

    And it’s the little things to keep a happy marriage…

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