I never cooked up a whole chicken myself until recently.
“Hi, I’m Jolyn.”
“I’m 38-years-old, and I just cooked my first whole chicken.”
This is dedicated to all of you 37 and younger. Please, don’t wait as long as I did to prepare something so fundamental to healthy, frugal meals.
And if you’re older than I am and you’ve still never cooked up a whole chicken? Well, then, God bless you. You need me, don’t you?
Really, I should say you need The Happy Housewife. Her site’s where I read up on my original instructions for slow cooking up a whole chicken. She’s one of my favorite frugal bloggers ever, bless her little homeschooling mom of seven fellow Dave Ramsey fan and military spouse heart. What an amazing motivator.
Anyhoo. If you’ve kind of thought it’d be a good idea to cook up a whole chicken but you’ve never gotten around to actually doing it, I’m here to tell you it’s worth trying. Because, really. You can’t beat the price. Subtracting 50 cents for a coupon I had brought the price of this one to $3.90. And I used it in three different meals! (Plus a big teenage snack.) (I’ll explain tomorrow.)
First, I stuck the chicken in the crockpot and dumped on some seasonings.
(Don’t forget to take out the packet of… stuff from the inner cavity.) (I don’t want to even think about what all that is; I just threw mine out.) (Any ideas on what to do with it? I mean, it’s stuck in there for a reason, right? Somebody must use it for something…)
I didn’t measure; just threw on some poultry seasoning I had on hand which contained thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg.
I also minced up a couple of cloves of garlic. Every household needs a garlic press. The more meals I cook from scratch, the fewer meals I meet that couldn’t stand to have a little garlic thrown in them somewhere.
Cover and cook on low overnight, or for at least eight hours. You don’t need to add any water or anything. Enjoy waking up to a kitchen that smells like a yummy organic (and faintly garlicky) restaurant.
Of course, you can serve the chicken and eat it as is, like those rotisserie chickens you buy at the store. (Only, it’s not rotisserie.) I opted to tear all the meat off the bones to use later in different dishes. I just let the chicken set in the crockpot to cool first so I didn’t burn my fingers.
Don’t just throw away the bones and skin that you discard. Put them back into the crockpot along with the juices the chicken cooked in and add five cups of water. Set the crockpot back to low and cook overnight again. Or all day. Whichever works. Now your house is really going to smell good.
Strain out the bones and and other stuff and you’ve got some chicken stock made from scratch. I followed Happy’s lead and poured mine into some empty (32 oz.) yogurt containers.
You can use it right away, or freeze it. These went right into a new (to me) recipe I wanted to try. I used the meat for three two time-tested meals, and one caveman snack. I’ll share the details on those tomorrow.
What’s your favorite way to prepare a whole chicken?
Please, those of you who didn’t wait until you were 38 to prepare your first whole chicken! Share your tips, favorite seasonings, etc, in the comments below. I and your fellow readers will thank you.
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