Cheaper than Canned Chicken

All this from one 2.81 lb chicken.

All this from one 2.81 lb chicken.

Do you use canned chicken for your recipes much? If you have a crock pot and, ideally, a freezer, you can save some serious money.

I don’t use canned chicken much since tuna is cheaper. But I recently heard a news story about how canned tuna may have more mercury in it than previously believed. So I thought I ought to start making my mom’s Famous Tuna Casserole with chicken instead. But since I use 2 cans of tuna in the recipe and chicken costs a bit more, I worried.

So I did something instead. I bought a whole chicken at the grocery store for somewhat over $5, put it in my large (5 quart) crock pot, and by the end of the day I had this: 3 one-cup containers of chicken in broth. A standard 5 oz. can of chicken has 1/2 cup and is over $1 even on sale, so the chicken alone would have cost over $6. Plus, there were 2 quarts of broth plus an almost-half quart. I’m not sure of the price on that but I’d reckon it at $2-3 dollars for a quart at the least.

If you don’t have a crock pot and are in extreme poverty (as in people on SSI disability, like many Aspies/people with Asperger Syndrome are) try shopping at your local St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill thrift shop. Try to find a crock pot where the crock comes out of the heating-element base for washing, but if you can’t, know that I still use my mom’s old crock pot which dates back to my childhood— and I’m 55 years old!

Here is the basic recipe:

1 whole chicken (about 3 lbs)

water to cover

salt/pepper to tast

optional:

sprig of parsley, cut up

1 medium onion

1 – 2 stalks celery, cut up

Set the crock pot to ‘high’ for one hour and cook on ‘low’ for 8-12 hours. When time is up, take out the chicken and put it on a platter. Pick out the meat, which will be very tender, from the bones. Put the meat (skin included, it’s healthy and good for low-carb living) into 1 cup container good for freezer storage (I used canning jars). Leave 1/2 inch of space at the top of jar. Pour a small amount of the broth into the container. Next, strain the broth through a colander or whatever. You can discard the onion, celery and parsley if you used it, add it into some recipe, or feed it to animals. I put the broth into quart jars because the mushroom soup recipe I use calls for that amount of broth. Leave 1 inch space at the top for that size jars.

If your crock pot is the 3 quart size, you can still make the recipe. You will just have to cut up the chicken. Use your sharpest knives. You may have to do it in 2 batches, with 1/2 of the chicken in each, depending on the size of your crock pot and of your chicken.

The only inconvenience is that you will have to remember to pull your ingredients out of the freezer the day before you need to use them. Put them into the refrigerator to thaw.

So, that’s how I prepare chicken. Stay tuned to this blog, and I will give the recipe for Famous Tuna (or Chicken) Casserole , both in the original and in my de-carbed version. (I finally found a substitute for the noodles that I’m actually willing to eat!)

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