One of the first things that I learned how to cook when I made the switch to real food years ago was a whole chicken.
I had read about how much more superior pastured meat was compared to conventional. I made my mind up this was where I was going to start.
However! OY – organic pastured boneless skinless chicken breasts were pricey! I noticed that whole chickens were less per pound (and in most cases even less per pound than conventional boneless skinless) so I decided to make that work.
One weekend of figuring out how to cook a whole chicken, and I completely fell in love with real food.
Why? Because I could make it work on my crazy schedule. I could feel good about what I was feeding my then growing family. I didn’t want my daughter (I only had one at the time!) growing up on the same hormone infested meat I did.
SO HERE’S THE DEAL! Let’s make this work for your family!
Hop out to your farmers markets this weekend, or ask around at a health food store near you where you can find a farmer that sells pastured chickens.
After you find a good source you can get your chicken cooked up. Depending on the size of your family, the leftover meat will last you up to a week for stir frys, soups, salads, sandwiches, etc! Simple!
In the last 6 months I have moved from doing 1 whole chicken in a crockpot every week, to doing 2 whole chickens in my big oven roaster every 3-4 weeks. As my family has grown and our schedules get busier, I have been trying to find ways of cutting my kitchen time down.
I freeze up the leftover meat in bags so I can pull them out for quick stir frys, soups, or salads during the week. We could easily go through an entire chicken every single week, but in our budget right now, I make 2 chickens work per month. The meat stretches very well when you put it in soups and stir frys.
So here is how I went from not knowing a thing about cooking, to falling in love with cooking real food and feeding my family nourishing meals 😉 It doesn’t get any easier than this!
- 1 whole chicken (crockpot) or 2 whole chickens (oven roaster)
- 1-2 onions, coarsely choppd
- 4-5 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 4-5 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
- Throw all the veggies into the bottom of the crockpot or oven roaster.
- Rinse the chicken(s) inside and out, and lay breast DOWN in the crock or roaster.
- Fill the crock or roaster with water halfway up the chicken(s).
- Cook on low in the crockpot 8 hours, or at 275 degrees in the oven roaster for 8 hours.
- I don’t skin the carrots, or chop the veggies nicely – or even chop off the ends. What you see in the picture is how I put them in. I just throw them in as is. I usually buy these veggies organically so I don’t mind. And usually I am throwing the bones right back into the crock with the leftover veggies to make stock, so we don’t plan on eating them.
- It is so much easier to tear the chicken apart when it is warm. I usually tear it apart after we have dinner and just shred it with my hands into freezer bags. It goes fast.
- SAVE the bones and carcass for making chicken bone broth! The minerals you leach from the bones of pastured chickens is extremely healing to the gut, and your immune system will never be stronger than getting soups using bone broth in weekly! This is one way you can get the most bang for your buck in buying whole chickens too. You can freeze the bones if you don’t plan on making your stock right away.
- Make one day a week or every other week “chicken day” so you know you can plan on having chicken for your dinner and then shredding the leftovers for the freezer or the rest of the week.
So talk to me! Let me know how you are making this work for your family! How can I help?
This post was shared at Fat Tuesday!