It took a while (ok years) to adjust from cooking, as a hobby (making battenburg cake, homemade cheese with my husband, perfecting my croissant dough) to cooking for sustenance (read speedier-to-cook-meals-the-whole-family-can-eat).
Once I fully embraced this new normal, I started seeking opportunities to make it more enjoyable, delicious, mostly nutritious and yes, time-efficient.
Early on, I wrote a post about how I handle weekly meal planning because the ‘how do you cook everyday’ question is one I’m asked often.
I’d like to share one of my menu all-stars, the humble chicken. I know, I know…it’s not fancy (although it can be). It’s typically viewed as ‘too much time’. True for a weeknight, however, the productivity gained from cooking just one chicken is pretty amazing.
Let’s do the chicken math shall we?
One chicken (whether roasted or slow cooked) = 15 to 20 minutes of hands-on prep time and roughly $15 (for a whole organic grocery-store chicken).
With the 2 or 3 left-over inspired meals it makes for my family (more if you count the stock) and cost per serving ($5 – $7.50 per main dish protein…for a family of four), it’s pretty awesome.
I’ve come to enjoy chicken and getting better at dreaming up chickeny-good-spin off recipes. Think of a chicken as an investment to save you time and money later in the week. If you’re really not into cooking a whole chicken, you can also do any of the below recipes with a rotisserie bird from the grocery store.
Quick Recap. Why Chicken?
- Tends to work with a variety of food likes/dislikes & particularities (ahem pickyisms)
- One chicken = 2 to 3 or more meals plus 10 – 12 cups of chicken stock. Saving precious time.
- It’s readily available, regardless of where you do your food shopping
- It pairs well with a wide range of side-dishes
How To Make Your Chicken
- Roast it (total time 1 hour to 1 hour and fifteen minutes) OR Put it in the slowcooker (total time 4 hours and 15 minutes to 4 hours and 30 minutes).
- Possible grain sides – Cous Cous (10 minutes), Barley (38 minutes) or the pasta/rolls/bread of your choice.
- Possible veggie sides — Warm Tomato & Asparagus Salad, Easy Roast Beets or Peas & Baby Spinach.
Leftovers For Your Chicken
- Have 15 minutes? Try the leftover chicken burrito. Or the roast chicken salad over spinach with grape tomatoes, cauliflower and zucchini.
- Have 35 minutes to 45 minutes? Try the Chicken and Dumpling Soup with Split Peas & Butternut Squash.
Let me know if you try something or have questions in the comments! To get a (mostly) weekly update with new posts from MHN or new surveys, please let me know.