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.

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.

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.

  1. Clean the chicken and save the giblets as well as the unwanted parts like the neck and the butt. Refrigerate them.
  2. Grill or roast the chicken according to your favorite recipe. How about this Roasted Lemon Herb Whole Chicken?
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.

SUNDAY-MONDAY
Roasted Lemon Herb Whole chicken with Carrots and Onions
Roasted Lemon Herb Whole Chicken with Carrots and Onions

TUESDAY
Follow the instructions to stack up the enchiladas in a slow cooker in the morning before heading out to work. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Cook on low for 8 hours instead of on high setting for 4 hours. So by the time you get home from work, dinner is ready!

Cheesy and tasty chicken enchiladas stacked in a slow cooker. It's easy to prepare and a great way to use up leftover chicken or meat.
Slow Cooker Stacked Chicken Enchiladas

WEDNESDAY
Mom's Stir-fried Spaghetti
Mom’s Stir-fried Spaghetti

THURSDAY
Tuna Salad Quesadilla
Tuna Salad Quesadillas

FRIDAY
The kitchen is closed. Time for happy hours. 🙂

SATURDAY – SUNDAY
Weekends are great for meal planning. Take the time to think about what kind of main dish you want to make and how you can use up the leftovers in a smart and cost-effective way. Throw your ideas in the comments below. I’d love to continue experimenting the “Leftover Hacks” with you.

17 thoughts on “Meal Plan Week #5 – Leftover Hacks Experiment with A Whole Chicken”

  1. I like using a whole chicken because I’m feeding an army and the cost is less! These are great recipes even for people like me who don’t have leftovers but are starting fresh every single day lol. Great round up!

    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! Glad to hear that you find these recipes helpful. Hope your army likes them too. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Christina for your kind words! I hope those meal plans are helpful. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

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