Remember we talked about different types of meal planning in one of our previous meal plan series? If you haven’t heard about it, don’t worry. You are not missing out. We’ve organized all the series together. You can find them here and read later.
Out of the three types of meal planning, I am so pumped to see that you guys loved the idea of the Leftover Hacks. That’s why I am so excited to start this experiment and I am hoping that you will join me along the ride.
The concept of Leftover Hacks is that we make a big main dish over the weekend, with the intention of having lots of leftovers. Then we turn the leftovers into quick and yummy fresh meals during the week without spending too much time and effort. Cooking after a full day of work could often be stressful. The goal for this Leftover Hacks experiment is to reduce the stress and hassle of cooking during workdays.
With that said, let’s try it out with a whole chicken.
You know what’s great about a whole chicken? You can take advantage of every single part of it and make the most out of it. I am not going to lie. It feels good when there’s absolutely no food waste and I get every penny spent on a chicken to be worthwhile. Here’s how I squeezed the heck out of a whole chicken financially.
- Clean the chicken and save the giblets as well as the unwanted parts like the neck and the butt. Refrigerate them.
- Grill or roast the chicken according to your favorite recipe. How about this Roasted Lemon Herb Whole Chicken?
- Enjoy the whole chicken meal, then shred the leftovers. You are going to have some meat left on the bones. That’s OK. We are not going to waste it.
- With shredded chicken, you’ll have endless options to turn it into a delicious fresh meal that takes no time. I’ve tried to use the leftover roasted lemon herb whole chicken to make these slow cooker stacked enchiladas. It was amazing!
- Now that you’ve got the bones, throw them into a saucepan with the giblets and other parts of the chicken; add sliced onion, a couple slices of fresh ginger, a pinch of salt and a bay leaf; fill up the saucepan with water; bring it to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Tada! You’ve got some homemade chicken broth. You can do this in a slow cooker too. Trust me – homemade broth is ten times better than the store-bought broth that packaged in a carton.
This experiment was with a 5-pound chicken. After feeding 4 people, it still left me about 3 cups of shredded chicken. If you cook for one or two, you are gonna have a lot more leftovers than 3 cups.
Let’s include a whole chicken recipe and a leftover chicken recipe into this week’s meal plan, shall we? I am confident it’ll save you time on prep and get more bang for your bucks. Since roasting a whole chicken is going to take about 2 hours, you can do it over the weekend and enjoy it as a full meal on Monday.