How 1 Chicken Can Make 8 Meals (For Less than $17)

Erin Chase
by Erin Chase
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How 1 Chicken Can Make 8 Meals (For Less than $17)

One of the easiest ways to save big money on your weekly grocery budget is to roast a chicken. Follow these 3 recipes, and you can make 8 meals with just 1 bird! Not only is chicken reasonably priced year-round, but a single roasting chicken can also provide you and your family with several nutritious meals, saving you lots of time in addition to money.

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Here’s a tasty start to your week! This meal serves two people with ample vegetables on the side. I like to serve the legs and wings on the first night and chop the rest of the bird for the other recipes. You could also split a chicken breast between the two servings instead. The roasted vegetables alongside this sensible portion of chicken will be very filling.

Dinner #1: Simple Roasted Herbed Chicken with Root Vegetables

Serves: 2
Ingredients
1 (5–6 pound) chicken ($6.40 whole, $1.60 for 1/4 portion used in this meal)
5 sprigs fresh thyme ($0.50)
5 sprigs fresh rosemary ($0.50)
5 sprigs fresh marjoram ($0.50)
5 sprigs fresh sage ($0.50)
3 garlic cloves ($0.25)
1/2 lemon ($0.25)
Salt and pepper, to taste ($0.05)
3/4 pound fingerling potatoes ($1.25)
3 medium (about 1/2 pound) carrots ($0.50)
2 tablespoons olive oil ($0.05)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 425°F.
  • Remove the chicken from the packaging, clean off any leftover feathers, and remove the giblets from the cavity before rinsing and patting dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Place the chicken into a roasting pan or large frying pan suitable for oven use.
  • Stuff the chicken with two sprigs of each herb, whole garlic cloves and lemon. Truss the chicken with cotton kitchen twine by tying the wings and legs to stay close to the body. This will keep the meat from drying out.
  • Salt and pepper the outside skin to your liking.
  • Roast the chicken at 425°F for 70 minutes. Place a thermometer probe into the chicken thigh without touching the bone. The chicken is fully cooked and ready to be removed from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Remove the chicken, and allow it to rest before carving.
  • While the chicken is resting, wash the potatoes and carrots and cut into 2-inch pieces. I like to cut the potatoes in half lengthwise.
  • Place the potatoes and carrots into a medium bowl.
  • Remove the herb leaves from the stems. Discard the stems, and chop the leaves roughly.
  • Add the herbs and oil to the vegetables, and toss to coat.
  • Move the vegetables to a jelly roll pan, and place it in the 425°F oven. Bake the vegetables for 15 minutes, and turn them. Then bake for 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender and light golden brown.
  • Remove, and serve with the carved roasted chicken.
  • Chop or shred the rest of the meat, and store in the refrigerator for the rest of the recipes.
  • Keep the bones in the refrigerator or freezer if you plan to use them for homemade chicken stock.

This meal costs $5.95 and serves two adults ($2.98 per serving).

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Lunch the second day may just be my favorite part. This chicken salad is fruity and delicious, with a touch of sweet crunch from the pecans. This time of year, I like to use Honeycrisp apples, but another great one would be Granny Smith because of the tart crunch it brings to the dish. The Greek yogurt in this recipe (instead of mayo) boosts the protein and holds everything together beautifully!

Tip: I like to use the white meat for this recipe if you have any left over. The apples, grapes, and yogurt will keep it from being too dry.

Dinner #2: High-Protein Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Serves: 2
Adapted from MyFitnessPal’s Original Recipes High Protein Chicken Salad

Ingredients
3/4 cup (about 1/4 of the original roasted chicken) cooked chicken breast, shredded or chopped($1.60)
2 tablespoons red onion, diced ($0.10)
3 tablespoons apple, diced ($0.25)
3 tablespoons (around 1 ounce) pecans, chopped ($0.40)
2 tablespoons (about 5) grapes, quartered or halved ($0.15)
3 tablespoons plain 2% fat Greek yogurt ($0.15)
Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon ($0.25)
Salt and pepper, to taste ($0.05)
4 slices 100% whole-grain bread ($0.50)
2 medium leafy green lettuce leaves ($0.15)

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine chicken, red onion, apple, pecans, grapes, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
  • Portion out the chicken salad between the two sandwiches. Serve with a lettuce leaf and 2 slices of 100% whole=grain bread per serving.

This meal costs $3.60 and serves two adults ($1.80 per serving).

Chicken Chili-2

Get ready for the fastest chili ever. This chili is not lacking at all in flavor even though it takes around 30 minutes from start to finish. Of course, the roasted chicken makes this possible to save a ton of time. If you’re on the go, you could combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Super simple weeknight meal!

This recipe is perfect for all the leftover dark meat. The dark meat is tender and carries so much flavor. It will make your chili perfectly savory and delicious!

Dinner #3: Chicken Chili

Serves: 4
Adapted from 5 Dollar Dinners’ Chicken Enchilada Chili

Ingredients
1 teaspoon beef bouillon base ($0.15)
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste ($0.79)
3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning ($0.10)
1 tablespoon chili powder ($0.05)
1 (15-ounce) can red beans, drained ($0.69)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained ($0.69)
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies ($1.00)
1 1/2 cups shredded roasted chicken ($3.20)
1/2 (12-ounce) bag frozen peppers and onions ($0.50)

Directions

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the beef bouillon and the tomato paste, plus 1 cup water. Stir well to dissolve the bouillon.
  • Stir in the homemade taco seasoning and chili powder. Add the red beans, black beans and canned tomatoes with green chilies. Stir through, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken. Let simmer 15 minutes.

This meal costs $7.17 and serves four adults ($1.80 per serving).

The total cost for all 3 nutritious meals comes to $16.72. How’s that for eating well on a budget?

Of course, there is one more way to make this chicken go even further. Make chicken stock from the bones! Simply add onions, celery and salt to taste to the bones in a slow cooker. Cover everything with water, and simmer on low for 18–24 hours. This will produce a delicious, hearty chicken stock that you can use in soups and recipes that call for broth.

About the Author

Erin Chase
Erin Chase

Erin Chase is the founder of 5DollarDinners.com, The $5 Meal Plan & the popular Grocery Budget Makeover video course, and author of the $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook series. When not whipping up delicious, frugal meals in the kitchen, she can be found out of a run, chasing her boys around the neighborhood, or taking escape from the summer heat in the pool.  She lives with her husband, 4 boys and 1 furry boy in San Antonio, TX.

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