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Worth Reading: Stretching a Chicken and Sharing from Our Abundance

::Make and Takes has a great guest post up here on how to stretch one chicken into two delicious meals. However, reading it makes me somewhat feel like a rather lazy person as I never buy whole chickens. I know that this flies in the face of every frugal law, but after a few tries, I quickly found I'd much rather spend a little bit more money and buy chicken breasts then have to deal with de-boning a whole chicken, or worse, struggling over cutting up an entire frozen bird (Please tell me I'm not the only one with this philosophy!)

::Looking for some ideas to bless others with all the wonderful deals and freebies you're able to snag by shopping sales and using coupons? You'll love this inspiring post from Angie. If you have the time and energy at this season of your life, picking up extra freebies with coupons is a wonderful way to give to others on a limited budget.

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  • christi says:

    You’re not alone – I only buy boneless, skinless chicken breast, but only when it’s on sale!

  • Tia says:

    You definitely are not the only one Crystal. I am with you on the chicken…boneless it must be! I too sometimes feel bad but I save so many other ways that I think I can allow myself this little luxury!

  • Amy says:

    I agree! I decided awhile ago, that I also, would never again buy a whole chicken. My grocery splurge is definately boneless skinless chicken breasts. Sorry Grandma, I just can’t do it!

  • Tyree says:

    I’m the same way. I actually think per pound of usable meat you get more bang for you buck with a good boneless skinless deal. I tried the other way and seemed to get a lot less meat for a lot more work. From time to time I will buy just leg quarter and thighs when they go supper cheap and just boil them skin on and then skin and debone after cooling in the fridge, this was something I did more while in college and on a tighter budget, but it works good for making homemade cream of chicken soup (so easy and worth it for several good recipes.) Any who you aren’t alone. $1.88 a pound for boneless skinless is the way to go!

  • ronda says:

    I completely agree with you on that one. The last time I bought a whole chicken to save money it sat in my freezer forever before I finally gave it to my mom. Chicken breasts all the way… although occassionally I buy the bone in chicken breast for some recipes. They are much easier to debone!

  • Sabrina says:

    I agree. I always stock up when there’s a good sale on boneless skinless, as you get more for your money because you’re not paying for bone!

  • Jen says:

    I don’t buy whole chickens either. For me it is not the hassle of cutting it up so much as it is the extra time it keeps me from my girls. With 3 running around the house, I do not have time to work with a whole chicken!!

  • Shelly says:

    Hmmm….I guess I’m the lone dissenter, lol! My mom taught me how to cut up a whole chicken ages ago. It’s really not hard at all. However, I almost never cut mine up. Roast chicken is one of the easiest things in the world – it’s what I make when I’m not in the mood to cook!

  • Pauline says:

    I buy chicken breast individually bagged by tyson (hubby doesn’t like white meat) I usually cook for 1 so this is perfect i pay like $7 for 6 to 7 breasts and I use one per meal so in my mind $1 for meat for a meal is a good deal!

  • Margaret says:

    Unless I am roasting a chicken I only buy the boneless, skinless. I do not like messing with raw chicken

  • Angela says:

    Check out my post on making homemade chicken stock–in a crockpot. It’s so easy and makes such good use of the bones.

    Try it at least once, I bet you’ll like whole chickens a whole lot better. 🙂

  • Denise says:

    I also prefer breasts only, but if throw a whole chicken in the CP it practically takes care of itself b/c it falls off the bone. Great if you’re busy!

  • Honey says:

    I like whole chickens for boiling for chicken salad, and (shredded) for quesadillas and making chicken and dumplings. If you boil, the meat comes off the bone so easily. But I can understand that sometimes things are worth the extra money for the convenience factor especially when you have several little ones! My youngest are five and I just now started using whole chickens and bone-in breasts consistently. I might add for a quick, simple dinner drumsticks with a little barbeque for dipping is cheap AND easy!

  • Tara says:

    I do the same thing… it’s much easier.

  • Angela O says:

    I love to cook a whole chicken dinner– it’s a “mini Thanksgiving dinner” around here when I do. And it’s so cheap and easy (I got my recipe from Mrs. Wilt at the Sparrow’s Nest). Plus I do get that “extra” meal from the leftovers. I’d suggest you give it a try to cook it whole. But having said that, boneless, skinless breasts are definitely easy!

  • Aryn says:

    Definitely agree! I buy a whole chicken when I’m planning to roast a whole chicken. Otherwise, I buy a bag of flash frozen chicken breasts so I can pop out exactly the number I need when I need them without all the work. The time savings is worth the slightly higher cost.

  • Rae says:

    I’m similar. The only time I buy a whole chicken is if we are going to roast it w/ my parents over it. We just cut it off the bone as we are going then my dad picks the small pieces when we are done eating (yes he’s a wierdo LOL). Usually I buy chicken quarters (can get them $.19/lb on sale at the Mexican grocery here) for things where we will be eating off the bone like baked chicken or for grilling. And for anything that I need cut up, I get boneless/skinless chicken breast when it’s on sale.

  • Lisa~mojo says:

    I,too, prefer the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They are so versitile and convenient. However, here lately, I have begun to buy a whole bird every so often (Aldi sells them for $.79/lb). What my kids like best is when I roast the chicken and then shred it and make bbq chicken sandwiches. It really goes a long way. This is usually a Sunday after church dinner for us.Tasty and healthy.

    Keep up the good work.

  • n says:

    If you are a member of a wholesale club, I do recommend buying the rotisserie chickens. At our Costco, they are only $4.99 each and I easily get 2-3 meals for our family of 5 out of them, and I don’t have to cook them! Just chop and add. 🙂

  • Kellie says:

    I was strictly a boneless, skinless chicken breast person until this past year. I bought some very meaty whole chickens for 0.78/lb, and realized how easy they were to roast in the oven or the crockpot. I easily get 2-3 meals of meat out of each chicken, and several cups of chicken broth. I really don’t mind pulling the cooked meat off (doesn’t take much time at all) – the icky part for me is pulling the guts out before cooking! I still buy the breasts when there is a very good sale, but I’m no longer bothered by whole chickens like I once was.

  • Roxanne says:

    Boneless/skinless chicken breast isn’t that much more expensive considering you throw away the skin, fat, bones & cartilidge.

    I guess people who buy whole chickens make stock from the bones, which does increase the frugality of whole over b/s.

    I’ve tried whole chickens and don’t like the work. Fortunately for us, I can afford to just buy breasts!

  • karey says:

    My compromise is split breasts. Having switched to them from boneless skinless, I’ll never go back. Here’s what works for me:
    -I can usually find them on sale once a month for about .99/lb.
    -then I roast them at 375 for about an hour
    -deboning is a snap compared to a whole chicken
    -then I have precooked chicken to use as an ingredient in my meals all week long

    frugal and timesaving, for me at least

  • Mary Jo says:

    Apparently I’m the odd one out! I love buying whole chickens…around here, I can get them for as little as 59 cents per pound! My husband doesn’t care for just chicken, so I usually cook it and debone it and use it for several recipes. The last chicken I cooked, I had enough meat for three dinners, and it was under $3! The first night, we had BBQ chicken, the next night Ritzy chicken, and the night after that, chicken and brown rice. I do buy boneless skinless chicken breasts when I can get them for $1.88/lb or less. We usually have at least 1 whole chicken as well as some breasts in the freezer.

  • Lee says:

    No sorry I buy them whole all the time! I then make them in my crock pot whole! We eat it for a meal and then my hubby and I de-bone the rest (much easier after it is cooked!) to use in a casserole or soup and the broth gets strained and kept too! I get 2-3 meals depending on the size of the chicken!

  • I buy the whole chicken often when it goes down to .69lb (I can get a whole chicken to feed my family of 5 for under $3). I dont however work too hard with it. I use easy recipes like homemade chicken noodle soup, or just roast the whole thing in a crockpot. I have never skinned or butterflied a chicken, or anything complicated like that…so I find them really easy to use.

  • I generally buy boneless skinless breasts, but making a whole chicken in the slow cooker is awesome! It falls apart, and you don’t have to do any of the work. =) If I make a whole chicken like that, I use the leftover chicken meat for soups, chicken wraps, etc.

  • marcia says:

    Boneless skinless chicken breast girls unite! Save some money somewhere else

  • Tosh says:

    I agree also that chicken breasts are the way to go. I buy the boneless skinless breasts sold at Costco 10 pounds for $19.99. I don’t use dark meat anyway so for my family a whole chicken is a complete waste.

  • CJ says:

    I only eat white meat chicken so would never buy a whole chicken. Frozen chicken tenders are a big time saver for me. I usually get a 3 lb bag for around $5-6 at Aldi.

  • Sariah says:

    I’m with you. I tried the whole chicken in the crockpot thing, since you could make such great meals from it, and I find it such an annoying mess to deal with, that it takes so much time…

    And then I got a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that cost me the same as the whole chicken…and what a difference! It seemed like I had a lot more meat to work with and I didn’t spend tons of time sorting through a soggy chicken mess trying to find meat.

  • Nicole says:

    “I actually think per pound of usable meat you get more bang for you buck with a good boneless skinless deal.”

    I’ve found this to be true at the grocery stores in my area.

  • Jennifer says:

    The only time I buy a whole chicken, it’s a rotisserie one — already cooked! — from Kroger! I do get at least 2 meals out of it though, so that’s not bad for $4.99.

  • Laura says:

    I raise my own chicken. Makes the whole ones in the store seem easy 😉

  • maygan says:

    I buy whole chickens, but the thought of de-boning (or trying to cut up a frozen chicken?!) kind of grosses me out. I throw mine in the crockpot for several hours with veggies. I use the breast meat for whatever meal we’re having, cut up the other (fully cooked) parts for a casserole, and strain out the liquids for broth. It’s so easy it takes almost no extra effort on my part!

  • 4monkeymama says:

    NO! Don’t give up on the whole chicken!!! I agree that if you’re going to grill that the boneless skinless is the way to go. But if you use chicken in salads, tacos, enchiladas or casseroles, buy it whole, make chicken stock (boil it down with aromatics) with it and then pick & shred the meat. Strain liquid and let set overnight, skim fat & freeze both in recipie sized portions. It tastes much better than canned!! No extra salt or MSG! It is a process–I just did 4 birds today and it took all afternoon, but the broth and meat will last 8 or 10 weeks.

  • Jenny says:

    I don’t buy whole chickens either. I buy large packages of chicken tenderloins, divide them into half pound portions, cut them into bite size pieces and freeze them. I also buy large packages of chicken breasts, divide them four to a bag and freeze them whole. That works well for me.

  • Kristina says:

    I’m with you on this one. Boneless, skinless chicken breat is worth the extra money. My mom used to take the skin and bone off and I just can’t do it.

  • LIZ says:



  • Sonshine says:

    You are not alone on the chicken. I do get whole chickens(it usually takes two whole ones for my crew!) every once in a while but I roast/cook them whole and debone as we fix plates. When the meat is off the bones…the bones go in the trash, no recycling to make broth or soup or anything like that.

    Most of my chicken purchases(like 95%) are boneless/skinless chicken breasts because it saves me the hassles of deboning and most of my family likes white meat over dark meat. The good sales around here on b/s chicken is $1.79/lb and to me it is worth every penny going this route because we have less waste this way. 🙂

  • Add me to the list of people who just don’t want to mess with whole chickens!

  • Kansas Mom says:

    We don’t buy whole chickens very often, but starting this fall we’ll be butchering our own meat birds, so we’ll have lots more of them!

  • Lizzie says:

    You are not alone! I despise whole raw chickens and chicken skin! BLECH!

    I love roast chicken but that’s Lee’s job–so we haven’t had roast chicken for 4 1/2 yrs. Maybe the 1st thing I’ll have him do when he gets to come home is fix a bird for us;)

  • I just bought boneless today…

    But sometimes we buy the whole chickens because I hate to pay for chicken STOCK at the store (: Crock pot it skin on with spice, take the breast meat off for dinner, toss the whole carcass and juices in a pot, add a few veggies and cover with water, simmer a few hours, strain.

    If I have time I grab the leftover meat out of the pile (for soup) after straining the broth into a container. It falls right off the bone.

    meat+broth+ pearl barley+carrots +onions+ wine+seasoning= our favorite winter day soup

  • Melodie says:

    I used to feel that way, but I’ve since learned that using a crockpot to cook the chicken and collect the broth is helpful. The meat just falls off the bone. I pull the pot out and cool it in the fridge for an hour until just lukewarm, then I plunge in with my bare hands and separate the meat out. It’s a piece of cake and kinda fun to get all messy! But that’s just me. I’m not too picky about getting every bone perfectly clean. Just “good enough” is fine with me for the savings I get.

    I’d have to say your time is probably worth something there, so it’s up to you to decide which is going to save you more in the end. For us, the $$ savings is worth it. But in ten years . . . I may join you in enjoying the luxury of boneless, skinless chicken!

  • Shelly says:

    I am also with you. I have only started on this frugal journey since June, but I have always bought boneless skinless. I watch for them to go onsale, and refuse to pay more than 1.99 a pound for even the fresh ones, but I CANNOT use the whole bird either. Just the thought makes me think twice, as I know it is so much work. I am VERY careful now, thanks to all the great advice from you! 🙂

  • Amy says:

    There are corners that we cut (as frugal moms) in order to sacrifice time over $. The whole chicken thing is one of them! I always evaluate my time vs. how much I am saving.

  • Allison says:

    I agree…after attempting to wrestle the skin off a bird I decided I would just get boneless. I get the off-brand IQF chicken breast fillets and my husband raves about the way I cook them!

  • Gayle says:

    I agree as well. I once bought a whole chicken and by the time I cut it up it was pretty much unrecognizable. Plus everyone in my family prefers white meat so it seems wasteful to buy a whole chicken if it’s not all going to get eaten anyway.

  • Bethany says:

    I use boneless too for when I am cutting it up for a dish or for grilled chicken breasts. However I do also like to get the whole chickens or turkeys when they are a really great sale and its worth the little bit of work. Cutting it up fresh or frozen IS a ton of work and not worth it, but if you cook it in the crockpot like that it is no work at all. It just falls off the bone. It is very tender and flavorful. We will have 1 good meal from a chicken and then usually enough for a second meal of chicken casserole or something – I’m feeding 5. I often get turkeys when they are dirt cheap at the holidays and then cook them later and I can get about 4 or 5 meals from 1 turkey – totally worth picking the bones! Not to mention yummy soup from the broth. Try it sometime – you’d love it 🙂

  • Wendy says:

    I used to be of that “boneless/skinless only” philosophy…but as of 2008, I have changed my ways. ; ) I buy a whole steroid free/no hormones chicken…for about 6.00 and actually get 3 to 4 good meals from it. I just crock pot the chicken over night…and then with a fork, pick off the meat. I then use the broth too! I got my recipe from ….just this week we had chicken pot pie (homemade crusts too), chicken noodle soup ( I did buy the noodles), and Mexcian skillet….we even have a whole pot pie for the freezer. So, for meals that require shredded or diced chicken…don’t be afraid!It’s SUPER easy….

  • Jessica says:

    I understand but, you are missing out on all the wonderful broth, too! If you ever get a good deal on an organic or pasture raised chicken you might want to give it a try! I think you would really like it. I have not read the guest post yet. Maybe that’s what it’s about!

  • emily says:

    I’m a boneless, skinless breast chicken girl myself. HOWEVER, we have several fabulous crock pot recipes where the whole chicken is the way to go. One of my favorite recipes is simply a whole chicken, can of chicken broth, quartered onion, carrotts, celery, salt and pepper, garlic powder…cook low for 8 hours. It is so fantastic and the meat falls off the bone. I use the leftover in homemade pot pie the next night. So easy, delicious and cheap.

  • Dee Jarvis says:

    Boneless skinless chicken thighs are usually less expensive than the breast and more flavorful. I get almost physically ill cutting up a raw chicken!

  • Maura says:

    Ah, but you must never have been taught how to properly take apart a chicken. Do you have a friend who is a chef? A neighbor? A girlfriend/aunt/2nd cousin 2x removed who knows how? Have them teach you. I promise, after your learn the proper way to take apart a whole chicken, and then practice a few times ( Don’t give up if the first few times aren’t perfect! ) you’ll never buy expensive boneless again! My old neighbor is a butcher, and he had me buy 7 whole birds. He showed me the first one, then he and I did the 2nd and 3rd ones, then I did the final 4. By the last one, I was halfway decent at it. Now, I don’t even thing twice about it.

  • I agree also! We don’t care for dark meat so it’s a bit of a waste for us to get a whole chicken. Instead, I wait for bone-in chicken breasts to go on sale (regularly .99 a pound here) or for boneless breasts to go on sale (anywhere from $1.39-1.99/lb). The bone-in being the best deal. Works great for us!
    God bless,

  • Alison Armstrong says:

    I just bought 2 chickens and made about 9 meals out of it for our family of 4 and 1 on the way. I cook them in my roaster w/ onion and celery. then I take the meat off. I bag it shredded in zip lock bags about 2C/ bag. I got 5 bags of chicken out of 1 chicken. I will use it in casseroles. Then I used the other in a homemade chicken noodle soup that I also put a lot of vegetables in. It made enough for 4 meals. I could not have got near that much meat out of chicken breasts for close to the price and it is very little work. I figured one time it is about 1/2 price of chicken breasts for the amount of meat I get. I still buy chicken breasts to grill and other things. But for casseroles and soup I can’t beat it!

  • Myra says:

    I couldn’t agree more! When I was a kid, I had to help my mom debone our farm-raised whole chickens. That was enough for me! Now I buy only boneless, skinless breasts. Not the most frugal thing, but if I save in other place, then it works. That’s what it’s about anyway, right! 🙂

  • I’ll never forget when I first got married and was trying to figure out how to cut up a whole chicken so save some money~I mean, my aunt lived on a farm and she killed her chickens all the time and had no problem:) I quickly gave it up though and buy my chicken already cut up!!

  • GME says:

    I’d much rather buy boneless-skinless chicken breasts than anything else! We’ve bought a couple of whole chickens – and I hated every minute of cooking them, getting the meat off them…and…ick, I hate dark meat! We will occasionally buy leg quarters – but DH is responsible for cooking them! 🙂

  • Tonya says:

    A friend taught me to slowly cook a whole chicken at 170 for 6 hours. The chicken slides right off the bone and is super-moist. Put a little rub on before you slide it in the oven and have a very yummy base for soups. So cheap and lasts our family for several meals. Try it and never look back…except when you really only want white meat.

  • Carmen says:

    A few years ago I actually cooked a whole chicken and some chicken breasts both from Aldi just to compare the price per pound of the meat. I discovered I was saving between 10-15 cents per pound. I am a frugal person, but I have to be a good steward of my time too. Good bye whole chickens!! Carmen

  • Kris says:

    Totally agreed! I gave it a try, I know how to prepare a whole chicken (if I ever absolutely must) and I decided that it’s definately worth the splurge for the boneless, skinless cuts!

  • Ann B says:

    I have found myself buying bone in chicken lately. I still buy bonesless, skinless breasts when they are on sale, but I don’t find good deals on them very often.
    Is there a formula out there for figuring out what is the best deal- factoring in the bone and skin?
    Anyway, when I find what I feel is a good deal on chicken, I’ll buy it-legs, breast, thighs… even a whole chicken every now and then.
    I have had good luck cooking chicken in the crockpot. It is very tender and juicy and falls off the bone. Then I save the juices and skim off the fat when it cools to use as broth in other recipes. The broth freezes well too. I know you can probably get broth for less that .50/can, but if I can get it for free, I’ll take it.
    You can also boil the leftover gizzards (I know, yuk- I don’t eat them, but my husband does) and bones to make a broth too.

  • MJ says:

    I’m with you, and actually I one up that. I don’t buy whole chickens. (1) Too much work for my schedule (2) Icky, lol (3) There’s only 2 of us in the house (4) Only 1 of us actually eats meat (5) I don’t like dark meat, so it would go to waste anyways. However, not only do I buy boneless skinless, but when tenders are on sale, I go ahead and get those to save me from having to cut them up AND since I am generally the only one eating it, when it’s at a decent price, I buy the fresh ones that are individually vacuum sealed in their package, so I can freeze them without hassle when I get home. I save money in lots of places, but sometimes time is more important. Otherwise, it just ends up going bad before I have a chance to deal with it, which wastes the money anyways. (whew! that was a long one)

  • Laura in Tx says:

    If I buy a whole rotisserie chicken at the grocery store or Walmart or Sams, I pull the leftovers off the bone like your guest post, and make Tortilla Soup with it. That lasts for a couple more days. Even though I’m buying ‘prepared’ food for ease, we easily get 3 meals out of it.

  • Yes, don’t be too hard on yourself because I rarely buy a whole bird either. I figure that the amount I waste (because I am sure I don’t get all of the meat off) is worse than spending a few extra dollars for it cut up or boneless.

    I just thought of the “amount I waste” statement and think I’ll only start getting the whole bird in the winter when I can make soup with the rest without too much trouble. See, that works, huh? 🙂

  • Dana says:

    We don’t like the dark meat, or the bones, or the skin, so as long as I stay under 2.00 a lb buying b/s breasts, I feel that’s more frugal than buying cheap meat we won’t eat.

  • Kristie Speakman says:

    I went to culinary arts school & I still won’t touch a whole bird at home, someone else said it…too much work for too little meat. I buy breasts if I want breasts, wings if I want wings & legs if I want legs. Sometimes if money is really tight I will buy bone in thighs & de-bone them…but that is as close as I get.

  • I always hated doing whole chickens, too, until I learned how to throw them in a crock pot and wait until the meat falls off the bone. Talk about easy de-boning!!!

  • I like both whole chicken and boneless chicken.

    The difference in price can be huge, though. Boneless breast are usually on sale here for $1.89 lb (the lowest price).

    Whole chickens can go on sale for .59 a pound. They are on sale for that price at Albertson’s this week here in Las Vegas. I look for the chickens that are the biggest.

    If you cook the chicken right, the meat just falls off the bone when it’s done. It’s juicy and tender. I cook mine in a pyrex bowl not much larger than the chicken. I do not use a rack and I put the chicken breast down. This ensures

    This is how I make mine:

    I can actually get three meals from a chicken for my family of 7. The third meal, I boil the chicken to to make broth. Any remaining chicken pieces fall off the bone while cooking. I then use the broth and little bits of chicken to make soup.

  • Noah Heutchy says:

    I will buy whole chickens, but first I boil the whole thing to make stock. Then shred the meat to use in various dishes. Way easier than cutting up a whole chicken! Otherwise I buy frozen breasts at costco.

  • Jen says:

    I agree! I just bought chicken breasts with the bone and was really expecting a lot more meat. Seems like a better deal to just look for a great sale on boneless chicken breasts!

  • So very not the only one! I will buy whole chicken and roast is whole, then take the meat off (only what I deem to be worthwhile!) and freeze the meat… makes for great protien on a salad. But I WILL NOT buy bone in chicken breast. WAY too much hassle. =)

  • Melissa says:

    I have to join the small group of dissent – I almost never buy boneless, skinless chicken breast and I love whole chickens. That said, I’m all for spending a little more money for something that really makes a difference for you.

    What I usually do is roast a chicken with whatever spices I feel like (usually rosemary, lemon, garlic, thyme type stuff, but I’ve also used a spicy jerk rub that was awesome!) and eat the chicken for dinner one night. You can roast potatoes and carrots with chicken in the pan, which is quick, easy, and delicious. (Bonus: The whole roasted chicken looks beautiful – just make sure you have a good, sharp knife to carve with or it will be a mess!)

    Then I pick every little leftover piece of meat off the bone and put it in the freezer to use in casseroles or soup later and save the bones for stock. Works beautifully! I got several whole chickens for about 28 cents/pound at Food Lion recently with sale + guiding stars coupon – it is hard to beat 2+ chicken meals for $1.40!

    I really think the keys for enjoying cooking whole chickens are that you must have a great knife that you keep sharpened and you must not be squeamish about touching the raw chicken (and you really have to get in there to season it!) My sister is on the boneless, skinless bandwagon because she can’t stand to stick her hand underneath the skin in order to rub spices on the chicken before roasting, she can’t stand to pull the skin off of split chicken breasts, etc. It doesn’t bother me a bit, so it works for me, but to each his/her own, of course!

  • Penny Raine says:

    We usually buy the chicken leg quarters in a 10lb bag, only 59 cent a pound, I can get 5 meals for 10 folks each out of this, 🙂

    blessings, Penny Raine

  • Sarah says:

    I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve bought a whole chicken and cut it up. It is a lot of work and I would much rather just buy breasts but we have a young family like yours and I keep thinking as our family grows I’m going to have to start being more frugal with meat.

  • Krystal says:

    I think a lot of these ladies have the right idea. Don’t cut up a raw chicken. Use the crock pot and get more than one meal out of it. Even if your family can eat the whole thing it’s still an easy meal. The bone in breasts are a great deal (.89 cents at Food Lion not long ago, you just have to watch) if you buy ahead, cook the meat off and freeze. Then you have a meal in a snap for such a low cost and healthy too.

  • Tara says:

    As a working mom of 4 I DO NOT buy whole chickens. I have no time, and for not much more I get a whole lot less hassle! I’m with you Crystal! AS you are the best couponer, saver, deal getter Ever- I think you are entitled to a bit of corner cutting!

  • Michelle H. says:

    I had always been too intimidated to try cooking a whole chicken, but after I found an easy recipe for roast chicken and vegetables last year it’s now become a monthly meal. We eat our fill at dinner, and then I use the rest of the meat for another meal that week. This week it was chicken enchiladas, last month was pot pie, soup, etc. I have only recently started throwing the vegetable peelings and bones in the crockpot and making my own broth. Super easy!

    I still buy boneless/skinless for most of our chicken needs, though.

  • Vanessa Moore says:

    I usually buy the thighs when they are .79/lb take the skin off and put them in the cp…a little marinade sauce and veggies or barbecue sauce with a little water and sliced onions…I also have a great recipe for a tangy sauce…and voila! supper is done just in time for my husband when he gets home! The meat always turns out super tender and just falls off the bone. I don’t buy whole chickens anymore because it always made such a mess (inside the oven and out) but after reading some comments I may try cooking one in the cp.

  • Ang. says:

    We raise and butcher our own chickens. I freeze the birds whole because I haven’t yet taught myself how to cut them into pieces. (its on my list to do!) I can usually get 3 or 4 meals out of our birds by picking the bones clean after I have stewed them. If you stew your chicken, you will also have your own homemade broth. I usually freeze the meat in 2 cup portions and the broth in 1 cup portions. This makes it easy to use in casseroles. Of course, if I cook the bird whole for a meal, I pick the carcass clean and freeze the leftover chicken. Yummy stuff! Oh, and our chickens dwarf the store bought ones. Don’t expect to get 8 cups of meat off of one of them.

  • Jessica says:

    Whole chickens are *not* hard, believe me! 🙂 I work outside the home fulltime, breastfeed my 2.5 year old DD, garden,, etc etc!!

    I put Mr. Chicken into the crock pot. The WHOLE bird. I add 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup italian salad dressing. Put the lid on and cook him for 4-5 hours on high or 6-7 on low. All done!

    Then if I have room, I boil the bones for broth. If not, I skip it. We think that crock potted whole chickens taste better especially the second time around in planned leftovers.

    But hey, you know what your level of comfort is. If chicken breasts are easier for you (and I get these when there’s a good price on them), your mental health is worth it.

  • miralys says:

    I always buy a whole chicken. I put it in the crockpot in the morning, and by evening it is ready to go. Simmering all day makes the meat literally fall off the bones and makes it soooo easy to harvest the meat. I set some aside for dinner that night and package the rest to use later.

  • Lana says:

    Whole chickens regularly go on sale in my area for 49 cents a pound! I’d be crazy to pass them up. Do you really try to cut them up when they are frozen? Thaw them on a plate in the refrigerator for 2 days and they are ready to go.

  • Jennifer says:

    Ok, here is my 2 cents:

    I just want to start out by saying, you do so much work to bring down the grocery bill and save your family money already. I think you are doing an awesome job Crystal! So don’t feel pressured at all to buy whole chickens. If boneless skinless chicken breasts are what works for your family, go for it.

    That being said, I roast whole chickens primarily to use the cooked meat in casseroles, and to use the carcass to make stock. That is where I feel I really get my moneys worth. I use the roast chicken recipe from tammy’s recipes, and cook it until it is between 185 and 200 degress farenheight. I have also sucessfully used this recipe in the crock pot. Then I pull all the meat off the bones (it comes off very easily) and chop it up and freeze it. I put the bones in my crockpot with some chopped carrots, onions, and celery, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper and cover it with water. Then I turn my crockpot on low and let it simmer all day. You can also let the stock simmer on the stove, I just like that I can leave the house and not worry about it at all in the crock pot.

    I have also done the same thing when bone-in split chicken breasts go on sale. That is much easier to debone, and the all white meat is great for chicken salad.

    Again, this is just what I do. I hope you or someone else gets something they can use out of this comment.

  • trisha says:

    I tried to cut up a chicken ONCE. I do buy whole chickens to boil and use that meat to have cooked, cut up chicken in the freezer for various meals and also the chicken broth. Sometimes I’ll roast a whole chicken or if I think that far ahead stick it in a crockpot but it’s usually boiled.

  • Heather says:

    Forget about the money!

    A whole chicken, salted and peppered and tossed in the oven, is one of the easiest dinners you can do – and delicious. I love the crispy skin. Paying for rotisserie chicken at the store is pricey, when it’s sooo easy to do it yourself. Add more spices/herbs if you have time. I also am grossed out by raw chicken, but putting a whole chicken in the oven really is not too gross. Healthy, cheap, and “Sunday dinner”ish.

    But if I’m making a casserole or some other dish with chicken, then boneless, skinless breasts are the easiest, quickest choice. Also cheap when bought on sale.

    So use both options, people!

  • Gwen says:

    I do both, but I buy the whole chicken for two meals. Usually, a $4 chicken will be roasted with potatos chopped up (fresh rosemary and a little olive oil and garlic and pepper in the oven at the same time wih an apple crisp for desert. The left over chicken usually falls off the bone at that time and my boyfriend and I either take it to work for lunch or we have chicken on a plate at night. We just heat up the chicken, make some potato soup with brocoli and add some green beans and we’re good. All in all, I get about six meals from the chicken, potatos are on sale usually for $2 for 5 pounds and we’re at about $9 for six meals. I’d say the whole chicken is worth it.

    I buy the frozen chicken breasts for just having regular chicken night or making stir fry.

  • Liz Lay says:

    Thank you for saying that you do not buy whole chickens! I am very frugal, but I too have my limits! You made me feel a lot better about them. Thanks for all you do!

  • fairy dust says:

    Like many folks here, I use the skinless, boneless breasts when on sale, but I LOVE roast chicken, so when I see roasters on sale, I always grab at least one. And then we use the leftovers in other things the rest of the week. Such an easy meal! What I won’t do, tho, is try the cutting and deboning process on an uncooked chicken. I’ve seen it done many times, I understand the process, but I’m just not there 🙂

  • Sarah Romine says:

    Crystal, I do the exact same thing. I’ve been married four years and have yet to purchase a whole chicken (unless you count the pre-cooked rotisserie chickens from the deli – they make great quick meals!). I know it’s a splurge, but that’s why we’re all trying to save money in other ways, right? So we can live on a small budget and still have room for little splurges.

  • Lucky says:

    I am very happy to roast or stew a whole chicken and use all of the meat. However, I NEVER make my own garlic bread so I get where you’re coming from. Probably everyone has their thing that makes other people say “But it’s so easy…”!

  • Cathy says:

    I never cut up a whole chicken, but roast the whole thing and use it as a meal once, then make broth and soup or enchiladas or some other meal like that from the leftovers. The problem is, good boneless breasts are outrageously expensive around here ($13.95 per lb for free-range) and a whole chicken can be bought for about $20. We NEVER find deals on the healthy breasts around here…sure wish we did.

  • Samantha says:

    Crystal! Well now I see where you draw the line in the frugal sand ; ) I agree with most everyone above – whole chickens are a great way to get organic, free range, healthy chickens BUT I can’t stand all the handling! Ick! I finally devised a plan where I make a rub and insert a whole onion inside the chicken and do it all inside a giant ziploc so I only have to touch the chicken a little. If you ever find a deal you can’t refuse on one, please let me know and I will gladly document and share this process for you. (Complete with my icky raw chicken faces ha ha!)

  • kriswithmany says:

    When it’s not summer & super hot (like it’s been lately), I do a roast chicken every few weeks. I can’t imagine trying to cut it up & debone before cooking! We make stock and get 3-5 meals (depending on what they are) out of the 2 birds we do for our family of 8. For lots of other stuff, though, we do boneless skinless breast.

  • Andrea says:

    Did you ever try roasting a whole chicken for one night’s dinner, and then taking the leftover bones and scraps of meat and simmering them with lots of fresh vegetables (add some egg noodles too) for chicken soup the next night? I got that from an old WW2-era recipe that taught people how to make do with rationing, shortages, and so on. It really is pretty good!!

  • Missy says:

    I TRIED to do the whole chicken thing.
    As I was unwrapping it to put it in the pot, I slipped my finger under the wing, and suddenly, I wasn’t holding “chicken,” I was holding “a chicken.” I felt like I’d just picked up a dead pigeon off the road. My hubby had to finish making the chicken while I hid in the bathroom.
    Not gonna happen again!

  • Jennifer says:

    Have you tried bone-in split breasts? I use those for recipes that call for cooked, cut-up chicken. I cook them in the crock pot overnight, and they are soooooo tender they just fall right off the bone! Very little work. I actually prefer them over boneless skinless for recipes that call for cooked chicken.

    I would never cut up a whole chicken raw either! Sometimes we roast and grill whole chickens, but we serve the pieces bone-in.

  • amy says:

    IT totally grosses me out for some reason and I would rather skip the meal then eat it if I have to separate the eat from the bone.
    That said, next month a local farmer is sellingme some whole chickens to freeze soo I am gonna have to deal with it, or sugar up DH:) He will do it for me sometimes if we trade chores.

  • Cher says:

    Whole chickens turned my cooking around. They are so delicious that they are worth the extra effort! I’ve also found that I can stretch our budget with them. We have a deep freezer so when they go on sale we purchase enough to fill the freezer up. The sale price can be as good as a couple of dollars for a whole chicken that will feed our family 2 meals! Chicken is so nutritious too!

  • Rachael says:

    Someone mentioned they love cooking a whole chicken because it’s like a “mini Thanksgiving dinner.” We do the same thing in our house. My husband loves it when I roast a chicken and make stuffing (the boxed kind). He will make homemade garlic mashed potatoes, and we’ll do some other kind of veggie, and it makes for a very nice, inexpensive meal.

  • Penny says:

    I have been married for 32 years and have bought maybe 3 whole chickens. Just can’t do it. I think maybe I should because they are so much cheaper but know I would just end up throwing it out because it sat in freezer too long so actually a waste of money. I buy whole turkeys no problem but don’t have to cut those up the way you do chickens.

  • Suzanne says:

    I love buying whole chickens. I buy four at a time (we are a family of 7), and we love grilling the leg quarters, then grilling the breasts for caesar salads, pasta salads, etc. Then I throw the rest in the electric roaster and make broth. Either I or my girls go through that “stuff” and we usually have enough meat for a casserole or chicken salad for the whole family. We get at least 4 meals (for seven people) not counting the broth. I can hardly bear to buy chicken breasts anymore, and I depend on the broth I make.

  • Dacian Keaton says:

    OH!! You HAVE to try the Indredible 30 Minute chicken recipe that Pampered Chef has!! It’s on You Tube. Just key word search “pampered chef chicken” and you should find it. It actually lets you cook the chicken in the microwave and it’s delicious!!!! I usually get 2-3 meals out of each chicken. We eat the breasts for dinner, then I’ll make some type of soup with the remnants. Sometimes I even have enough left over for fajitas another night. WOW!

  • Stephanie says:

    I buy whole chickens all the time. I roast them up and then pull off the meat, then use the bones to make broth. It is so easy to do and the meat is much more tender! But if I can snag chicken breasts I will 🙂

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