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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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21 responses to “How 1 Chicken Can Make 8 Meals (For Less than $17)”

  1. Avatar Susan Treptow says:

    This article is misleading. There are not 8 meals here like the title would lead you to believe. Instead there are 3 meals with 8 servings total. There is a huge difference between 8 meals and 8 servings.

    • Avatar Curtis says:

      I agree with you very misleading

    • Avatar Lillie Locklear says:

      Not really, I guess you could say 8 meals because if u count the number that it feeds it aids up to eight so that is a meal for each person, but really they should have said makes 8 servings instead of meals or maybe 8 individual meals would have been a better way to put it…

  2. Avatar Justin says:

    Where can you buy 5 sprigs of marjoram? How about 2 tablespoons of red onion?

    • Avatar Dianna says:

      Fresh herbs are at Most grocery stores and get a knife and chop the onions

    • Avatar Bonnie says:

      I agree with Justin. You can’t go anywhere and buy only 4 slices of bread.. The way they’ve written this is a bit misleading. In reality, you would have to buy a whole loaf. The same with all the other ingredients in these recipes (except the chicken itself).

      It may only cost .15 for 5 grapes, but unless you happen to already have some grapes on hand you’ll be paying about $2 or more for a lb of grapes. That’s quite a difference..

    • Avatar Ajcarl says:

      Not at WHOLE FOODS but at Partial foods!

    • Avatar lynn says:

      Dumbass. She’s breaking it down from what it costs expecting you will use it for other things as well.

  3. Avatar Shuna Marr says:

    A way I get even more goodness from chicken is to keep all the bones and freeze them. Then once I have the carcasses of two or three chickens, I boil them up wIth celery, onion and carrot and a bayleaf and peppercorns in a large stockpot and make several litres of stock. Great for the basis of soups or stews. I also freeze any tiny scraps of the meat as it can go into soup too.

  4. Avatar Greg Fellin says:

    I only see three meals! Where are the rest?

  5. Avatar Brandon says:

    Some didn’t read the article very well it seems. The first paragraph stated “follow these 3 recipes for 8 meals using just 1 bird.” The first two recipes each serve 2. The last recipe serves 4. There’s your 8 meals, folks. If you have a spouse or whatever, you could each get 4. If you’re single, you can keep the 8. Very good article for those who have issues meal prepping for a few days.

  6. Avatar Your Mother says:

    I wish I could get behind the author and her spin on 8 meals for under 17 bucks. I have bought many chickens in my life and I have yet to see a chicken make it past three meals. For 4 people. If we break this article down, it’s 8 servings for under 17 bucks. That is absurdly expensive. I can serve two chickens and all the fixings for under 17 bucks and I’m not cheating by calling a serving a meal. If I followed the author’s hidden guidelines, my meals would equal 16 servings and I would still have the bone broth which turns into servings on its own. Depending on how much bone broth I make, I could call each mug or 8 oz. cup a meal. So, now my 17 dollars are making 6 quarts of collagen-rich extra servings or meals. Which is more truthful? I can boast 8 servings of chicken on the bone, plus 24 servings of broth. That makes 32 meals! WOW! If you are single, these numbers are truthful. If you are a busy house manager of four people with a $20 bill and no food in the house unless you come up with a miracle, this is not truthful. The author forfeits her right to the article title when she starts throwing around the number of servings and the ultimate number of recipes. It is sort of like a shell game here. There’s nothing wrong with saying 8 servings for under 17 bucks but any budget savvy consumer will call bull**** on this obvious spin. And I can do much more with said 17 dollars. Hit me up if you want to know.

    • Avatar Joe says:

      You are clearly too encompassed in drama and your negativity is not appreciated. Take it for what its worth. The author, whether negligent in her phrasing or not, is trying to reach out to you idiots with positive, encouraging thoughts, and all you have to say is how wrong she is for this? Get out of from under your dark clouds and enjoy some sunshine. The lady isn’t trying to SELL YOU CHICKEN!!!

      • Avatar Your Mother says:

        I’m not into drama. I’m into honest reporting and integrity in my news. If someone is going to use headlines to grab my attention, only to switch facts around and use “poetic license” to make the article speak truthfully I call bull***t. It has to be done. And so you can go police the other readers who are calling this writer out, calling her article misleading, etc. if I was told I could get my journalistic break on “my fitness pal” with a great attention grabbing recipe gig, I’d make sure everything was spot on and no one could use the words negligent (which was your word of choice) or misleading to describe my work. Wanting people to write with integrity is negative and unappreciated? Then i wear the badge willingly.

  7. Avatar Veda Brown says:

    I made the chicken chili and it is delicious! Thanks for the new winter dish, yummm!

  8. Avatar Sean says:

    As a single dad of two small ones, I enjoyed this article. I bought a whole bird for $1.09/lb, and then had ideas for how I could use the bird for 3 separate meals for me and my young kids. My daughter says she doesn’t like chicken but liked the chicken salad ( rated it a 10) and liked the Herb chicken ( rated it an 8) and we will have the chilli chicken Wednesday night. I’d like to see more articles like this where you can buy in bulk and then create a few meals from it.

  9. Avatar Allison says:

    Nice idea for an article as using a whole chicken is something I routinely use as the protein component for multiple meals. The only thing I have to take issue is rather comical – where can I get a whole chicken for $6.40?!?! I must know as I’ve NEVER seen it that cheap. Typically at Costco 2 whole chickens runs around $18 to $22 depending on weight (that’s $9 to $11 per bird). On sale at my local grocers its at best $2.49lb for a 4 lb bird that’s still well over $6.40. Perhaps CA is just more expensive….but I am definitely wishing I could get a bird for $6.40! ;-p

  10. Avatar Shirley Hannah says:

    I, too, found it misleading; I was expecting eight different meals (recipes) but thought it was too good to be true so should have known. BUT great ideas and I usually get four simple ones from the roasted chicken: 1) Service the whole roasted chicken as the main course and add sides; 2) boil the bones and skin to make chicken soup, 3) chicken sandwiches and 4) fresh salad topped with the remaining chicken. Only have two in our family so one chicken goes a long way.

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