Monday, 27 January 2014

How To Feed Your Family For A Week With One Chicken

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Last week I set myself a challenge - to get a weeks' worth of dinners from one roasted chicken. And I not only achieved it, but I also uncovered some delicious meals that I will definitely make again! We are a family of an adult and a teenager with very healthy appetites, and we even had some lunches and leftovers that I froze, so a single parent family with several younger children would have easily got by on the same quantities as us. Larger families could stretch the meals to their requirements, bulked out with bread or additional starchy vegetables if needed. This was a Pams size 20 frozen chicken on special for $9.99.

Day One: Roast Chicken. A simple roast meal of chicken, potatoes, frozen mixed vegetables and gravy. Normally we would have more chicken on our plates, but it just isn't necessary.

Day Two: Chicken Pie. A creamy pie filling with shredded chicken breast and peas, topped with mashed potato and a little grated cheese. Yum.

Day Three: Chicken Pizza. Homemade pizza base topped with tomato purée, shredded chicken, grated carrot and a little grated cheese. I loved the end result, but making the pizza base was fiddly. I think next time it will be easier.

Day Four: Chicken and Rice Soup. I put the carcass, with plenty of meat still on the bones, in a crockpot filled with water overnight. The next day I stripped all the meat off the bones and added rice and veggies to the meaty broth. Served with homemade bread.

Day Five: Roast Vegetable 'Soup'. I put the chicken bones back into the crockpot and got another batch of chicken stock out of them overnight. I then removed the bones and added roasted pumpkin and potato, that I had prepared earlier, to the crockpot and let it simmer all day. When I went to mash the vegetables into the stock at dinnertime it turned out much thicker than I had expected, but I ran with it. This was delicious thanks to the crispy/oily/caramelised nature of the vegetables. You could make it with raw pumpkin and potato, but it definitely wouldn't have the same depth of flavour.

Day Six: Roast Vegetable Red Curry Soup. I took half of the leftover roast vegetable/chicken broth mash and added to it a can of coconut cream and a tbsp of red curry paste. I think I could eat this soup every day of my life! Served with homemade bread.

Day Seven: Leftover Fritters. Leftover mixed veggies and gravy from Day One, mixed together with roast vegetable/chicken broth mash and egg/flour, pan fried in oil.

So there you have it! A weeks worth of dinners (and some lunches) from one humble chook. I also have some chicken pie and rice soup in the freezer for quick meals later on. This personifies Frugal '14 entirely. Why buy several different types of meat for the week when you can get by with only one, bulked out with vegetables and flour/rice staples? It also is a good reminder of how much money you can save by making everything from scratch - and it's much healthier too. If you also served porridge for breakfast, and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch the days you don't have leftovers, then you're looking at an extremely low bill at the checkout. I hope this inspires you to set a challenge for yourself and get creative in the kitchen - and save yourself $$$ on groceries at the same time!

Tip: Freeze leftover tomato purée in an ice tray.

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