Saturday, February 14, 2009

What to do when it's raining outside and Kroger has whole chickens on sale...

It's raining, it's pouring! gardening today. :-(
Since I like to spend at least one weekend day being productive, I wrote up a menu and grocery shopping list for Hubby and I. I am a HUGE believer in menu writing. Write the menu based on the grocery store ads, go to the store with a list and try not to deviate from it. I try to get 12 or 14 entrees on every menu and that usually enables us to go to the grocery store just once a month. It saves us tons of time and who doesn't want just a little more time?! Getting off soapbox now.
While I was checking the ad for Kroger (our nearest grocery store), I noticed that they had whole chickens on sale for 69 cents a pound. I've seen better sales before, but that's a least half price of regular, so off I went! I bought 4 hens, the largest being 4.9 pounds. That's $3 a chicken! That's fantastic!
A few years ago, Hubby and I were watching Alton Brown on the food network and he did a segment in the following show about sectioning up whole chickens.

Hubby paid quite a bit more attention than I did and has "butchered" birds for us several times.
My menu called for two batches of chicken breasts (Thai Peanut Chicken and Chicken Parmesan) and I also needed chicken meat for 2 casseroles (Granny's Chicken Spaghetti and King Ranch Casserole). Also on the menu was a pork loin using my mother-in-law's FANTASTIC terriyaki glaze recipe. So, our four whole chickens were sectioned out into:
2 Foodsaver bags of 4 breasts,
2 Foodsaver bags of thighs and drumsticks (perfect for casseroles), and a Foodsaver bag of chicken wings that I figure I can hit with the Terriyaki glaze and call an appetizer.Chicken Wings! With 4 "wings" per bird, we got 16 wings! YUM!
$12 worth of chicken and 30 minutes worth of work, I had meat for 4 menus items (at least 10 meals with the casseroles) and I had a snack item to boot!
But that's not all! After Hubby was done chopping everybody up, I got to looking at those four carcasses. Awful wasteful just to throw them away... So into a stockpot with some onions, carrots and salt they went to make some homemade broth. I checked the canning book that came with my pressure canner and discovered I can actually can the chicken broth and make it shelf stable!
After simmering the chicken for 45 minutes, I strained out all the bones and veg. Since I hate waste, I pulled as much meat off the bones as I could to make a yummy chicken salad. I even gave each of the Brats a little cooked chicken liver as a treat (even Tiki!).

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