Now that spring is (seemingly) on its way, New Year's resolutions are old news. Whether it be shedding a few pounds or cleaning out an old closet, most people forget their resolutions on the first of February. Whatever your resolution was, it's not too late to make a few lifestyle changes that will help bring about a healthy 2017. Meal planning is the best way to become a more efficient cook and will save you time, money and calories all year long.
Americans are arguably the most flagrant food wasters in the world. In a country of abundance, why scrimp and save? With a mega grocery store on every corner, we've become spoiled eaters, reliant on convenience and simplicity. There's no fun in that. Save money and get a little creative this year with the help of one of the world's most versatile ingredients - chicken.
It may come as a surprise to some shoppers that chicken isn't always sold in convenient pre-portioned pieces. Think you're getting your money's worth when you buy a pack of chicken breasts? Think again. An entire chicken is often cheaper than a package of breasts or thighs, and amounts to more food. Why buy a few pieces when you can get the whole bird for less? Learning to break down a whole chicken is intimidating, but its essential to becoming a smarter cook. This savvy money saving tool gets the most bang for your buck, without any waste. Grab a sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife and get to work.
This year, value quality and flavor over convenience and be a smarter cook. Discover 5 ways to use every piece of the chicken with the recipes below:
Wings & Drumsticks - Hot Honey Chicken Wings
For wing sauce:
3 Tbsps Soy sauce
2 Tbsps Honey
1 Tbsp Chili paste
Whisk together all three ingredients and adjust to taste.
1) Separate wings and drumsticks from the body.
2) Rub chicken with about 2 tbsps of olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place chicken on a wire rack atop a baking sheet & roast on top shelf of the oven at 375 degrees until crispy, about 45 minutes.
3) Coat chicken in the wing sauce and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, until the sauce is warm and sticky.
Thighs - Braised Chicken Thighs with Lemon & Artichoke
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1 can of artichokes
1/2 cup dry white wine
juice of 1/4 lemon
vegetable oil for cooking
1) Heat a sauté pan over medium - high heat and coat lightly with vegetable oil.
2) In a bowl combine a cup of flour, a teaspoon of salt and teaspoon of pepper. Coat the chicken in the flour mixture and place the thighs skin side down in the hot pan. Cook until brown on all sides. Remove thighs from pan and set aside.
3) Add a ½ cup of white wine to the hot pan and deglaze. Return chicken to the pan and add ½ cup of chicken broth, a can of drained artichokes, a squeeze of lemon juice and a few sprigs of thyme. Cover and simmer for 15 mins, or until chicken is cooked through.
Breasts - Sun dried Tomato and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken
In order to remove the chicken breasts from the whole bird, place the chicken on a cutting board breast side up, with the neck of the chicken facing you. Using a sharp knife, make one slice directly down the middle of the chicken, running alongside the breastbone. Continue to slice along the ribs, holding the breast in one hand and the knife in the other. Continue to slice until the breast is removed from the bone, and repeat on the other side.
2 Chicken breasts
4-5 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup whole basil leaves
1) Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2) Slice along the side of the thickest portion of the breast to make a pocket, but don’t slice all the way through.
3) Make a mixture of goat cheese and chopped sun dried tomatoes. Stuff pockets with mixture and a few basil leaves. Place the chicken breasts in a roasting pan and cover chicken with a thick slice of fresh mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 mins, until cheese is melted and golden brown.
Bones - Hearty Chicken Broth
1 Chicken Carcass
1 Onion, cubed
2 Celery stems, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
2 Bay leaves
2 Parsley stems
2 Thyme sprigs
1) Place the chicken carcass in a large stock pot and cover with cold water.
2) Add salt, pepper, fresh thyme, garlic and vegetables to water. Cover and simmer for anywhere from 1 to 2 hours or until meat falls from the bone.
3) Let chicken cool, remove all remaining meat and set aside for Chicken Salad. Strain broth through a fine sieve. Serve plain or add celery, carrots, beans, chopped spinach, cooked potatoes, rice, pasta or any combination of ingredient you might like for a veggie soup.
Remaining Meat - Tarragon Chicken Salad
1 Cup of shredded chicken
1/4 Cup chopped green grapes
1/4 Cup chopped celery
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tsp chopped tarragon
1/4 Tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1) Using the leftover meat from the chicken broth, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
2) Taste and adjust seasoning by preference. Pile on top of some crusty sourdough, or make sliders with Kings Hawaiian slider buns.
A lover of food, wine and travel, Laura is a freelance writer from NYC eating and drinking her way through the world. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, Laura is a trained chef with a degree in culinary arts and a WSET II award in wine & spirits.