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UglyYummies Top 5 Uses for a Whole Chicken

Using a Whole Roasted Chicken, No Waste

By UglyYummiesPublished 10 months ago 5 min read
Roasted whole chicken loosely based on a recipe from Magnolia Table

Roasting a whole chicken seems like a lost art these days. A lot of people will use all of the parts of a chicken separately but are afraid of the whole bird. I think that is partially due to feeling wasteful because they don't know how to get the most out of it. But whole chickens are a great way to get higher quality chicken on your table for a good price. Now, pasture-raised chickens are probably the highest quality you can find, but they average around $16 to $20 each, from what I've seen. The next best would be free-range/organic and that will easily cut your costs.

There will likely be a follow-up Top 5 based on taking the chicken apart and cooking each portion separately, but today, I want to focus on using a whole roasted chicken. The beauty of this list is that you can do all of these things regardless of how you roast the chicken. I've liked the recipe from Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Table as well as a couple of recipes from Fifty Shades of Chicken (if you're squeamish about sensual humor, that book is probably not for you), but just about any recipe will work. You could even do this with a rotisserie chicken from the store! Then when you're not sure what to do with the rest, look here. Sure, you could just eat the leftovers the next day, but reheated chicken can easily become dry and unappetizing. Plus, variety is always nice! Essentially, this list is for using your leftovers and the bones of your roasted chicken so nothing ends up in the trash without contributing something delicious to your table.

Don't forget to refresh your memory on my favorite cooking tips that apply to just about every meal!

Let's get cooking!

1. Chicken Salad

This is the perfect lunchtime solution to leftover roasted chicken. Probably the best part about it is that you don't have to warm it up, so you can throw it together quickly. Bonus points for an easy picnic or to-go meal!

There are a TON of recipe options for chicken salad. My personal favorites usually include a mayo base and red grapes. However, chicken salad (just like egg or tuna salad) operates around a very simple trifecta: sauce, texture, and seasoning. When you boil it down to those three components, you'll get more comfortable throwing it together with whatever you have on hand. For sauce, my top choices would be mayo, greek yogurt, hummus, or even mustard. I like to add texture with grapes, but if you prefer all savory flavors, cucumbers, pickles, or ribboned carrots all add a nice bite as well. Seasoning can be as simple as salt and pepper, but my go-to spice mix for things like this is Sazon or Adobo from Loisa.

2. Enchiladas

If you like anything wrapped in a tortilla, we can definitely be friends. Enchiladas are also great meals to make in bulk and freeze. And, trust me, if you're fixing a meal for a family in need, they're probably tired of lasagna.

Again, recipes abound for enchiladas, but this one is a favorite in our house. If you're extra like me, you'll make your own tortillas before wrapping whatever delicious stuffing you decide on. I do try to source high-quality ingredients whenever I can, but we have a dirty little secret when it comes to this meal: taco bell mild taco sauce. I don't even like it by itself, but it pairs very well with sour cream to go over warm enchiladas.

3. Chicken Pot Pie

Can you say comfort food? Chicken pot pie is such a crowd pleaser and another food that is easy to double and freeze. I usually use Joanna Gaines' recipe, but I see recipes more like loose guidelines, so it ends up being pretty different from what's on the page. I like her recipe because it fills a 9x13 pan, but it's much too thin for my taste, so I significantly cut back on the amount of liquid or use what the recipe calls for and add extra chicken and veggies to fill two pans.

As with tortillas, I like to make my own crust for this dish. A quick Google search for "easy homemade pie crust" will do the trick. You probably have all the ingredients on hand anyway!

4. Barbecue Chicken Sweet Potatoes

This one is by far the easiest meal. All you need in addition to the chicken is sweet potatoes, your favorite barbecue sauce, and cheese. That's it! Toss shredded chicken in the barbecue sauce, then scoop into a piping hot sweet potato and top with shredded cheese. My personal favorite is sharp cheddar, but pick whatever will go well with the sauce of your choice. Buffalo sauce is another great option for this dish. If you feel like it's a little too boring, add corn, black beans, and cilantro to the potato and use a sauce with a bit of a kick. Pro tip: serve these the next time you host a gameday get-together!

5. Bone Broth

No matter what you're doing with your chicken, don't throw away the bones!! Once you've taken all the meat you can from the carcass for your lunch or dinner, put it in a gallon baggie in the freezer. Reusable sous vide bags are great for this because they're very sturdy, seal tightly, and all the air can be removed. Large Stasher bags would also be a good option if you don't like to keep buying and throwing away ziplocks. I also put veggie scraps into the bags. We usually end up mostly with carrot ends and peels, scraps of onions, and maybe some garlic. If you peel your potatoes, throw that in as well. Then, when the baggie is full, or you need some chicken broth, empty the contents into a large stockpot or instant pot and cover with filtered water. Add some high-quality salt for minerals and flavor. I love to use my instant pot for this because I can set it on high for 3-4 hours and forget about it. If you're sourcing high-quality chicken, this broth will also be highly nutritious, but you can boost nutrients even more by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar and a chicken foot or two. Check out Fallon's Table meal plans or find her on Instagram for an incredible bone broth hot chocolate recipe!

So what are you waiting for? Go get that whole chicken!


About the Creator


Cooking with our minds, our hands, and our hearts to nourish bodies and souls.

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