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How To turn one chicken into three meals

Updated: Mar 22


Here we are again with the REAL LIFE tips and tricks on a beauty blog! BUT, this is something that I honestly feel could help people and make food stretch as long as possible during a time where its hard to find much of anything in stores. I came up with this process a few years back when we were struggling as a family to make ends meet and I had to be as thrifty as possible in meal planning because we were on a VERY limited income. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where my Grandma LOVED to cook and was an expert at making meals that not only fed a lot of people on a budget but that could also be re-purposed and used for other meals later in the week. These meals were also DELICIOUS and healthy(ish). I was inspired by her ability to make leftovers seem like a new and fresh meal and not, well, like leftovers. Insert the idea of taking a whole chicken and turning it into four meals for a family of 4. Now, if you have bigger kids or a larger family, you may have to do two chickens at a time to have enough meat left over, just double these recipes if you need to.


One thing I will preface is the disclaimer that I am not a food blogger, nor a professional food photographer like some of these wonderful blogs I see out there. My pictures may be ratchet but the food is 100! Haha. Oh and I wont write a personal essay about my entire life experiences and how chicken has impacted it prior to the recipes actually being posted. If you've ever been to a food blog, you know exactly what I mean. On that note, here they all are.



Instant Pot Roast Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Whole Chicken (thawed)

  • 32 oz Swanson Chicken Broth (or other brand you like)

  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion Chopped

  • 2-3 Stalks Celery Chopped

  • 2-3 large Carrots Peeled and Chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic

  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

  • Onion & Garlic Powder to Taste

  • Cumin Powder to Taste

  • EVOO or Butter (to sear chicken breast & saute onion)


Instructions:

  1. Start by prepping all your veggies and put in bowls, set aside.

  2. Turn on Instant Pot to manual saute setting and add enough oil or butter to coat the bottom of the pan so the chicken won't stick.

  3. Remove chicken from bag, take out innards if needed and pat outside of chicken dry with a paper towel.

  4. Season breast side up of chicken with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and cumin to taste. Use more than you think you need because the spices will add a crust.

  5. When the oil is up to temp in the instant pot, carefully place the whole chicken in breast side down and let it sear for about 5 minutes. While it is cooking, season the back side of the chicken to taste.

  6. After the front is seared, use tongs to carefully flip the chicken over and sear the back side for about 5 minutes.

  7. Remove the chicken and place on top of the wire rack insert and set aside momentarily.

  8. The bottom of the pot should still have plenty of oil and now will have some wonderful seasoning too! Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes until they are coated and softened slightly. Don't over brown or they will turn to mush in the pot.

  9. Then add the chicken back in (breast side up) using the wire rack and place on top of the onions & garlic.

  10. Add the chopped carrot and chopped onion around the chicken.

  11. Add in the full container of chicken broth. Tip: add at the side so you don't wash off any of the yummy seasoning on the chicken.

  12. Place the lid on your Instant Pot and make sure it is set to the "sealed" steam setting.

  13. Re-set/Turn on on the Instant Pot to the "chicken" setting and set the timer to 30 minutes.

  14. When it is done let the pressure naturally release for about 10 minutes and then release the rest. Ta-da!! A beautiful and flavorful roast chicken is ready!


Serving Suggestion: We use half of the chicken meat for this meal and scoop out about half of the veggies and serve as a side as well. For the kiddos, they love fruit and butter toast. It is simple, easy and yummy!


If you want to watch a video of me and my silly family making this recipe live on Facebook, click HERE.










After you remove the chicken and let it cool, you will want to remove all the meat possible that is left after your first meal and add store it either in the fridge or freezer depending on when you'd like to use it. Both of the remaining recipes you can use the chicken in but depending on your family size, if you need to make multiple pizzas you may want to save all the chicken meat left for the crusts. For our soup, I usually just add extra lentils if it needs more protein and then use all the chicken for pizzas since it is a favorite of my kids (and adults)


For the remaining broth, if you want to make soup soon, pour the entire contents of the broth and vegetables that are left into a container to store and use for the lentil and rice soup below. Another option is to strain the broth into a large mason jar (usually the 24 oz jars are perfect). A few tips, 1, make sure the broth is cooled and use a strainer on top when pouring or ladling in the broth in. 2, leave at least an inch of space at the top of the jar, especially for freezing because the liquid will expand. The stock should be this lovely amber color and is packed with flavor!



Lentil & Rice Soup

Ingredients:


  • Leftover Chicken stock and veggies (from roast chicken) OR 1 Jar Chicken Stock thawed (from roasted chicken).

  • 1 Cup Each Rice & Lentils

  • Additional Veggies as needed

  • 1 Cup Shredded Chicken (use part of the remainder from the roasted chicken)

  • EVOO

  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Instructions:

  1. Use a dutch oven pot to get that nice slow cooked soup vibe, add EVOO to the pot and let it come to temperature.

  2. Gently saute and season any additional vegetables you would like to add to your soup (ex: onion, carrots, celery, potatoes).

  3. In a separate pot, cook rice & lentils together in enough water to steam them together (takes about 20 mins).

  4. Once rice and lentils are cooked, drain any excess water and add to dutch oven pot with veggies.

  5. Add in entire contents of chicken broth container, add any additional water and season as needed if more liquid is needed.

  6. Add in shredded chicken.

  7. Simmer until all vegetables are al dente and soup is heated through.


Serving Suggestion: Enjoy with fresh baked bread or toast and a good glass of wine!



Chicken Crust Pizza


My husband found this recipe on Pinterest and it is a huge hit for us! This is especially perfect if you have picky kiddos that it is a challenge to get protein into but they love pizza. Super easy recipe and parenting win! if your family doesn't do cow cheese, you can sub for Manchego or if needed any non-dairy cheese similar to Parmesan. Your cooking time and dough consistency may vary based on different cheeses but it will still be just as tasty. Our favorite non-dairy cheese is Daiya. Watch our Facebook live demo of how to make this crust HERE.

Ingredients:


  • 2 Cups diced chicken

  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)

  • 2 large Eggs

  • Optional herb crust: add basil, oregano, etc to taste

  • Pizza toppings of choice (our kids love cheese, salami and black olives)


Instructions:


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Line a pizza baking pan with parchment paper.

  2. Stir together the shredded chicken, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and sea salt. (we use a food processor on the pulse setting)

  3. Whisk the eggs lightly in a bowl, then add into the food processor. Mix well into the other ingredients. The "dough" should be thick but sticky.

  4. Spread the chicken crust pizza "dough" onto the parchment paper on the pizza pan, as thinly as possible (about 1/4 in thick). Put a little EVOO on hands if needed when spreading the crust to prevent it from sticking to your hands.

  5. Bake for 15-20mins, until firm and golden on the edges.

  6. Remove from the oven and let the crust rest for 10 minutes, which helps "seal" it before adding toppings.

  7. Add sauce and toppings. Return to the oven for another 10-15mins, until the cheese is melted. If desired, place under a broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese more.

  8. Remove from the oven, let cool a bit before slicing and enjoy!


Serving Suggestion: For this we usually add a side of fruit and steamed veggies, or just enjoy the pizza alone, because we all know pizza is life! Bon Appetite!



We hope you and your family are staying healthy and that these recipes help you as it has helped us through the years.


Sending all our love,


The Nguyen's


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