how to make a chicken stretch

The following is a tip from Tammi about how to make a roast chicken stretch into many meals!  Enjoy!

We have a family of seven. Five boys, my husband and myself. My guys sure know how to pack the food away and now that the 2 oldest are extremely close to becoming teenagers, we are finding that the food bills are going through the roof. Our favorite way to save $ is to purchase a roast chicken from the deli. (I believe we pay $7.99 at Costco?)

The first night we have sliced chicken with a salad and a veggie with a ‘artisan’ type bread while my boys fight over who gets the drumsticks and wings.

Day 2 – strip off as much chicken as possible off of the bones and shred it. We do a couple of different meals with this.  Sometimes chicken quesadillas with some chopped onion and peppers, cheese and salsa. It depends on what veggies we have available in the fridge that day. Sometimes we do chicken Caesar wraps with tortillas, romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, croutons and shredded chicken and chopped tomatoes. After wrapping, we throw them in a hot cast iron pan to sear them and give them that ‘restaurant’ wrap feel and taste.

Day 3 – throw the bones and leftover chicken bits and pieces in a large stock pot along with veggie scraps that I have been saving in the freezer to make chicken broth. Boil for a few hours and add water as needed. By the time you are finished, you will have a lovely chicken broth. Drain the stock through a colander and discard the bones and veggies – but make sure to strip off any more chicken that you can find. Take the remaining stock and split it in half. First we make chicken spaghetti with one half of the stock. (my kids FAVORITE meal!)  Here’s how to make chicken spaghetti:

  1. Put half of the stock back in the stock pot and add a few cups of water.
  2. Add a few handfuls of spaghetti to the stock and boil for about 10-15 minutes. What is nice about this casserole is that you do not have to drain the spaghetti and you get a wonderful chicken flavor that soaks right into the pasta.
  3. Add 2 cans of cream of mushroom (or any cream soup you happen to have around), some chopped onion, peppers and shredded cheese on top.
  4. Bake in a preheated 400’C oven with the lid on for 25 minutes or so and then 10 minutes with the lid off and the broiler on.

I guess the trick to this is to not make the chicken the star of the meal, just a side-kick. It’s cost effective, it saves loads of time and it’s easy. Love our deli chicken meal stretcher!