Cooking 3 Meals from 1 Whole Chicken

Hi y’all!

Greetings from the farm! We moved to our little piece of paradise in the country back in 2016. We had been dreaming of a quiet little property, surrounded in trees and the possibility of planting a HUGE garden and having some farm animals. We found that little patch of land – a home surrounded by trees, old sheds and corrals, hay fields, and gorgeous ponds with abundant wildlife. We moved in and made the house our home. In the fall of 2017, we decided to jump into raising some livestock for our table. We ordered 25 chickens from a nearby hatchery and found 2 pigs on a Kijiji ad. Scott and I had absolutely no idea what we were doing! We managed to raise those animals without incident and put some amazing meat in our freezer.

Since then, we’ve been raising chickens in the warm months each year. We stock our freezer with whole chickens in the fall and love that we can pull out a chicken and create wholesome, farm raised meals from the bird. I am AMAZED by the versatility of cooking with a whole chicken. You can stretch one whole bird into a number of meals with a little bit of CREATIVITY!

Check out the information below to see how you can torn ONE whole chicken (4 to 6 pounds) into THREE meals for your tribe!

Day 1

Thaw your chicken in the fridge for a day or two before you get started cooking. A whole chicken can take quite a while to thaw.

On the first day, season and cook your whole chicken. You choose whatever cooking method you like or have time for … slow cooker, Instant pot, or in the oven.

Slow Cooker – high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.

Instant Pot – use your trivet in the bottom, add 1 cup water to the bottom and cook for 6 minutes per pound on high pressure, let the pressure release naturally for 20 to 25 minutes.

Oven – cook your whole chicken in a 350F oven for 15 minutes per pound.

For all methods, you can test for doneness by using a meat thermometer. The meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should read 165F or higher.

Once cooked, serve with a side dish and veggies and you’ve got your first meal!

After supper, grab that chicken carcass and pull off any remaining chicken. There will be lots of chicken left on the chicken. It is easiest to pull and cut the chicken pieces of the bones when the chicken is at room temperature, so don’t be tempted to pop the chicken in the fridge for tomorrow!

As long as you can collect about 2 cups of chicken from the bird, you should be able to use the chicken for another meal.

Now to prepare for Meal #3. Grab that chicken carcass. Toss it into a large stockpot or slow cooker, add veggies, and fill up with water. Any veggies you have can be tossed in. If you have veggies left from your supper, those would be perfect. Let the broth simmer for 24 to 36 hours to create a delicious rich broth. Strain out the carcass and veggies and save the chicken broth for an amazing chicken soup for Meal #3.

Day 2

Your #2 meal can be any number of options that utilize chicken!

Some our favorites ways to use leftover chicken:

Day 3

Grab that chicken broth and create a delicious soup for a warm, cozy meal. Some soup ideas:

  • chicken noodle soup
  • sausage tortellini soup
  • egg drop soup
  • rice lemon soup
  • coconut curry soup
  • minestrone soup

I’d love to hear how you use your whole chickens!

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