How I Got Three Meals Plus Extras from a $5 Chicken

As many of you know, I am doing a pantry challenge at the same time we have taken my two year old off all dairy to test for a dairy intolerance.  She got almost all of her protein from dairy, so we are looking to find alternatives.  While she won’t eat chicken or turkey off the bone, she loves them on the bone, particularly the drumsticks. 

Last week I saw a nearly 8 pound whole chicken marked down to $4.96.  I also needed chicken broth that week, so I opted instead to buy the whole chicken and make my own broth.  This chicken stretched much further than I thought it ever would!

On the night we cooked it, my daughter enjoyed her drumstick, and we all had chicken along with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies.  My husband cut off nice white meat slices for his lunch and my son’s.  They each had two lunches from this.

We enjoyed Bean Soup with Chicken and Veggies for one meal, and there was enough leftover that I put one meal size serving in the freezer to eat in a few weeks.  There are also enough leftovers in the refrigerator to make a meal for two of us.

Next, we enjoyed a meal of Slow Cooker African Stew.  There was one portion leftover that I ate for lunch the next day.

Finally, we made homemade chicken stock.  It made four ice cube trays full!  I have been using this yummy chicken stock in the soup recipes I have been making this week.  I can’t believe how much tastier this is than the canned variety.

I have never cooked a whole chicken before, but now that I have, I am going to try to always buy whole chicken when it is .79 a pound or less.  Who knew it would stretch this far?  This was a frugal change that was easy to make.

I shared this post at Life as Mom.


  1. .79 cents/lb is my buy price for whole chickens. I stock up at that price. I also make stock and it really stretches your dollar further when you get such a great deal on the whole roasters.

  2. Please send directions on how to make the stock…I’m lost! I too would love to switch to whole chickens instead of the skinless chicken breasts…I know how to roast one…is the stock much harder to make?! Plus this would help with my pantry challenge in the future!!!

    • Click on the link where it says “homemade chicken stock.” Zibi guest posted a while back, and her recipe makes delicious stock! Let me know if you have trouble with the link.

  3. I love cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot. Just place it in there and put your seasonings of choice on top and let it go all day. Yummy! We had that last night for dinner and we will be having tacos with the leftovers, as well as chicken sandwiches for lunches.

  4. great post and I’ll have to try the homemade chicken stock! Here’s a great recipe to try for rotisserie chicken made in your toaster oven (or regular oven), done in 1 hour! I’m a bit more generous with the spices and do try to rub some under the skin too, as my family discards it.

  5. Rachel – when you do it in the crock do you put water in with it and do you make the stock out of that also. I am assuming you put it in ice cube trays and freeze it. I can’t wait to try this when they go on sale. My downfall is that we don’t really like the dark meat. Any ideas what to do with that so it will mask that we are eating the dark meat?

    • We used a mix of light and dark meat in our soups, and I couldn’t notice a difference (I don’t like the dark meat too much either).

    • I do not put water in it. The chicken makes it’s own juices! I was skeptical the first time I made it this way but it does not need any water. I do make stock out of the juices as welll and freeze it using ice cube trays.

      As far as the dark meat, I HATE dark meat as well, but I use it when I make the chicken tacos or chicken enchiladas and no one can tell the difference. I find that by mixing it with the taco seasoning or the enchilada sauce that my family can’t tell they are eating dark meat.

  6. I did the same thing the other day. I roasted the chicken. First meal was Chicken, mash potatoes with veg, pan dripping gravy. Second with all the bones I made crockpot chicken stock. I used the stock to make Lentil Soup and chicken noodle soup (used a little of dark & white meat), then with left over chicken I made a chicken pasta casserole with with a can of cream of mushroom soup and cheese on top. All from one chicken. I ended freezing 2 or 3 containers of 2 cup stock as well.

  7. I cooked a chicken this week as well and made a new chicken soup recipe the last day that my family LOVED!

    I’ve never seen an 8-pound chicken, though! The biggest ones I’ve seen are just under 5 lbs, and most are closer to 4. That is a huge chicken!

  8. What an awesome deal, and what a way to stretch that chicken! Your enthusiasm and creativity are inspiring. =)

  9. What a big chicken and great ideas. I love reading every ones comments.
    I have a great recipe for chicken veggie soup on my blog that I use left over chicken in and just a simple chicken stew of chicken pieces, gravy and a little frozen mix vegies. heat up and serve over mash potatoes. oh my it is good.
    I will have to try the chicken in the crock pot soon. I usually buy a rotesserie chicken fully cooked and that is I am sure more expensive.

    • The rotisserie chickens are more expensive, but you can’t beat the convenience! Picking one of those up on a busy night is MUCH cheaper than take out. Thanks for the chicken stew suggestion.

  10. We also make a dish with leftover chicken with pasta (we like skroodle noodles), a can of cream of chicken/mushroom soup, frozen peas (that we cook the last few minutes with the pasta) and velveeta cheese (we bake for 10-15 mins after it is all mixed together). Yum.

    I am totally trying this crock pot thing with a whole chicken instead of buying them premade. Great idea! Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. I love that you got so many uses out of the one chicken. We have done this for years. I don’t think we have bought chicken broth in 5 years. We like to use the dark meat for chicken pot pie.

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