Cooking for Two: Three meals from one chicken
Stretching a chicken for several meals is nothing new. When it comes to cooking for two people it's so easy to end up with way to much food. So by planning ahead you can create different meals and end up with extras in the freezer.
This is mostly a post to show what I did and give you some ideas of what you can do if you want to do a little food prepping, save money, and stock the freezer with the extras. I hope this gives you some inspiration!
I had a chicken in the freezer that I wanted to use and decided to see if I could get at least 3 meals from it. I did and more. Chicken is so versatile, you can make so many different things with it. Here are the meals I made:
Roasted chicken, baked potatoes & gravy
Mexican chicken & veggies over rice
Not only did we eat 3 meals but I had enough to put 6 individual meals into the freezer for my hubby to take to work. This was a lot of mileage from one chicken!
I will say my chicken was large! It was a little over 5lbs.
Here is what how I did this..
The first I started by “roasting” my chicken in my Instant Pot. You can see how I do this HERE. You could also roast the chicken in the oven...
When it was done I poured the juices into a measuring cup and saved them. I used 2 cups to make gravy to go over our baked potatoes.
I put 2 servings into freezer containers. One went into the freezer and the other was sent to work with my hubby.
I had mine with a big salad (he had a salad also in his lunch)...
He ended up with one for work and one was put in the freezer..
When that was done I deboned the chicken and put the meat in a bowl and the saved the bones in another bowl to use later.
The 2nd meal was chicken and veggies over brown rice. I made this in my IP, but it could easily be made on the stove top as well.
I put the rice, some grated carrots, frozen corn, a little bit of salsa that I had left in a jar (1/4 cup approx.) and spices in the IP. I seasoned it with salt and cumin. The amounts were about equal.. ½ teaspoon per cup of rice and I was making 2 cups of rice.
I added 1 cup of chicken broth (saved from roasting the chicken) and 1 ¼ cups of water. I cooked the rice on 'manual' for 25 minutes. We like our brown rice on the softer side, if you like it firmer you can cook for less time (about 22 minutes)...
While this was cooking I chopped up some red cabbage, onions and a couple small sweet peppers. You can use what ever veggies you would like or have on hand.
I also chopped up the rest of my chicken meat. I had a generous 4 cups of meat.
I set 2 cups aside for my soup meal.
In a frying pan I sauteed my veggies in a little oil. I added salt, pepper and garlic to taste.
When the veggies were soft I added a large handful of spinach leaves and let them cook long enough to wilt.
I then added the chicken meat and 1 can of black beans that I had drained and rinsed. If you were adding your own home cooked beans this would be about 2 cups.
To serve this meal I spooned rice onto a plate and topped with the chicken/bean/veggie mix. I added some Tapatios hot sauce, because I like a little heat. I then topped it all with cheese. I added some of my pickled onions to the top my hubby's meal. I had 1 serving for me, 1 serving for him to take to work that night and 2 servings to put in the freezer.
Now I looked at what I had left from the two meals. I had the chicken bones as well as rice, chicken meat, a spoonful of chicken and bean mix, about a cup of the juices left from the first meal, a half of a baked potato, and about ½ cup of gravy left from the first meal.
Now it was time to make soup.
I put the bones in my IP, added a little salt, covered them with water and pressure cooked them for 60 minutes. You could also do this on the stove top.
When I was done I strained out the bones and added the stock back into my IP.
I chopped up a small onion, another sweet pepper, and tossed in a handful of grated carrots that I still had. I pressured cooked this for about 8 minutes to soften the carrots and onion.
I then added all of my leftovers heated the soup up. I also added about a ½ cup of frozen corn to this. I let this simmer for a bit to let the flavors combine. I tasted it and it did not need anymore salt or other spices added to it.
We enjoyed this for dinner with dinner rolls and a salad. I also had enough to put 2 containers of the soup into the freezer for future meals for hubby.
I somehow missed getting the final pictures of the soup dished up, I must have been getting tired! :)
I was thrilled to see how far I could stretch my one chicken for us and end up with good tasting, healthy meals that were budget friendly. This is my favorite combination when it comes to cooking.
Sometimes all it takes to plan out this type of thing is a few ideas and open the fridge and see what you have to work with and what you can create!