Turn a Small Rotisserie Chicken into a Week of Meals

Meals for a Week

In an effort to live more frugally, I have taken it upon myself to set a monthly food budget and to try and start planning ahead for meals. Mark and I have never really been able to stick to any sort of budget before, mostly because we haven’t REALLY had to. But with our recent move to Florida from the UK and having to buy EVERYTHING all over again, including a new car and a house full of furniture, things have been a lot tighter than we’re used to.

And with another baby on the way, it is more important now than ever for us to figure out a plan for living within our means and still making nutritious choices for us and our kids.

With that in mind, I have been slaving away reading blogs and scouring Pinterest for awesome ideas on how to save money. It is truly amazing how many resources are out there for anyone who is looking for them. With crock pot cooking gaining a massive cult following, you can find ways to make and prepare a TON of meals in advance and save loads of money, too!

And since I’m rather proud of myself at the moment, I decided to share some of the things I’ve learned over the last few weeks and try and add to the resources available out there.

I read on a money saving site that buying a rotisserie chicken is cheaper than buying the same chicken raw and cooking it yourself. And lo and behold, they were right! At our local Costco, a hot and ready rotisserie chicken is only $5 while the equivalent chicken in the poultry section was over $9!  So I went ahead and bought TWO.

The first one I used for dinner that night. Why slave away over a hot stove when you’ve got a delicious and already cooked meal right there? I then sliced up the leftovers and used them for sandwiches over the next few days. Big big hit.

The second one, well that is where it gets interesting. Each chicken weighs four pounds, and I decided to see exactly what I could get out of that. The results amazed me!

Rotisserie Chicken

What worked for me should work for anyone, and I’d love to see if it rings true for you, too! The first thing I did was put the entire chicken in the fridge until I was ready for it. I actually waited until the next day before I attempted to get creative.

Also, it made the next step much easier.

I picked up the now-cold chicken and turned it over. On the bottom of the plastic dish it came in, as well as coated on the bottom of the chicken itself were LOADS of lovely fat globules. All of the juices and fat had congealed to form jelly-like lumps, and I was able to pick them all off quite easily. I threw them into a small plastic zip lock bag, and it will be GREAT for future use either as homemade chicken gravy or to add flavouring to chicken dishes. Why pay for the expensive super condensed stock when you’ve got the real thing right there?

Yummy chicken fat globules!

The next thing I did was use my hands to pick ALL of the meat off the bones. I basically threw it all into a huge bowl, white meat, dark meat, everything!

All of the skin, bones and gristle I set aside, using the lid of the plastic pot it came in.

I wound up with TEN CUPS worth of good chicken meat!

Shredded Chicken

I was then able to separate the meat into various bags. I put about two cups of the shredded chicken into each zip lock bag, which will be PLENTY for any meal I choose to make. Think of the options!  There’s Chicken Stir Fry, Shredded BBQ Chicken, Curry, Pasta with Chicken, Chicken Fajitas, and any number of casseroles! The options are endless.

Just chuck the individual serving sizes in the freezer and grab them when you need them. If you want to use less chicken per serving, that’s great. It just means you can make it last longer. Bulk it out with peppers, onions, veggies, rice, or any number of other staples. You are only limited by your imagination.

With two cups per baggie, this gave me FIVE easy meals right away, and I promise that depending on what you make, there WILL be leftovers. I used one baggie for chicken fajitas, and we ended up having enough left over for lunch AND dinner the next day!

Anyway, once you have dissected your chicken and extracted all the meat you can from it, you’ll be left with a giant carcass and lots of excess skin and gristle.

Chicken Carcass

DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY! This is your new best friend!

Get out your biggest pot and throw the carcass inside of it. Throw in the skin, too! Every little bit of chicken that is left, throw in there. Fill it with water so that it covers all the bones and such.

Then, set it on the stove to boil. Add in a couple of chopped up onions, some garlic, salt and pepper… Have some celery in the fridge? Chop it up and add it in. Carrots? Throw ’em in there. Get it boiling.

Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down a bit until it’s at a gentle simmer.

Homemade chicken stock

If you want to add your favorite spices, herbs or flavorings, go ahead, but try not to dilute the taste too much. You want it to TASTE of chicken!

Keep it simmering for as long as you can. A good few hours is ideal, although I was short on time and had to make do with about 90 minutes.

Eventually, you will see that the water has turned a sort of cloudy yellow, and the smell that emanates will make you melt. It is SO good.

Once you think it’s had enough time, use a strainer to catch all of the chicken and veggies and drain all of the liquid into a container. A jar, a large freezer bag, or even a bowl will work.

Perfect Chicken Stock

Fair warning – I stupidly put it into a ziplock bag while it was still very hot. Ziploc bags do NOT stay sealed if they are full of hot liquid. They instead explode and go all over your floor. Ahem.

Luckily I managed to still get about a quart of really good quality stock out of it. AFTER it cooled, I transferred it again into a large freezer bag and it will stay frozen until I’m ready to use it.

So there you have it. One small chicken for $5 and dinner for a week!

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About Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a 34 year old mommy blogger from Salt Lake City, UT. She is married to the man of her dreams and together they have three beautiful boys. Dexter is 5, Daniel is 3 and baby Chester is almost 2. She writes about all things motherhood related, including kid-friendly recipes and crafts, being a modern woman (with beauty and fashion posts), as well as reflections on the humorous side of life and love. She spends most of her time trying not to swear in front of her in-laws. The rest of her time is spent on Pinterest, where she tells herself that tomorrow she will get it together and learn how to make that cool woven chevron rug from rope and old t shirts.

28 comments

  1. We love making chicken tacos out of these. So good and so much easier/cheaper than buying the raw chicken and cooking, then shredding.

    Love this post!
    sj recently posted…The Good In This World That’s Worth Fighting ForMy Profile

  2. We love making chicken tacos out of these. So good and so much easier/cheaper than buying the raw chicken and cooking, then shredding.

    Love this post!
    sj recently posted…The Good In This World That’s Worth Fighting ForMy Profile

  3. I love this post, because I’ve had my share of rotisserie chicken and Costco whole sale has the best. It’s so flavorful and juicy way better than the others that I’ve tried. We take it a part and make chicken Cesar salad with the breast meat, and wraps. I can see if I can get my mom’s home made dressing, if you want it I can send that to you.
    Katie recently posted…Today’s Walmart HaulMy Profile

    • Ooh yes, we’re big fans of Caesar Salad here! It’s Mark’s favorite meal! Would love to have the recipe! 🙂

      And I agree that Costco is definitely the best. I find all of their meat really high quality, but their rotisserie is just SO good!! 🙂

  4. I love this post, because I’ve had my share of rotisserie chicken and Costco whole sale has the best. It’s so flavorful and juicy way better than the others that I’ve tried. We take it a part and make chicken Cesar salad with the breast meat, and wraps. I can see if I can get my mom’s home made dressing, if you want it I can send that to you.
    Katie recently posted…Today’s Walmart HaulMy Profile

    • Ooh yes, we’re big fans of Caesar Salad here! It’s Mark’s favorite meal! Would love to have the recipe! 🙂

      And I agree that Costco is definitely the best. I find all of their meat really high quality, but their rotisserie is just SO good!! 🙂

  5. I love this post, because I’ve had my share of rotisserie chicken and Costco whole sale has the best. It’s so flavorful and juicy way better than the others that I’ve tried. We take it a part and make chicken Cesar salad with the breast meat, and wraps. I can see if I can get my mom’s home made dressing, if you want it I can send that to you.
    Katie recently posted…Today’s Walmart HaulMy Profile

    • Ooh yes, we’re big fans of Caesar Salad here! It’s Mark’s favorite meal! Would love to have the recipe! 🙂

      And I agree that Costco is definitely the best. I find all of their meat really high quality, but their rotisserie is just SO good!! 🙂

  6. Katie, love to do this. And I’m SO glad you didn’t throw the carcass away. You did good! I even take the thanksgiving turkey carcass home from my brother and sil’s house. I refuse to let her throw it away. Always tons of meat left for turkey and dumplings. The we fill the freezer up with a TON of soup.
    Pamela Bates/Mercantile Muse recently posted…Favorite FindsMy Profile

    • That is awesome! I think so many people waste really good food because they don’t know what they’ve got! I’ll admit this was my first time ever making stock from scratch, but I’ve seen my mother do it in the past. I think we used to LIVE on Turkey Noodle Soup after Thanksgiving every year! 🙂 I’m excited for this year to get lots of use out of the leftovers! 🙂

  7. Katie, love to do this. And I’m SO glad you didn’t throw the carcass away. You did good! I even take the thanksgiving turkey carcass home from my brother and sil’s house. I refuse to let her throw it away. Always tons of meat left for turkey and dumplings. The we fill the freezer up with a TON of soup.
    Pamela Bates/Mercantile Muse recently posted…Favorite FindsMy Profile

    • That is awesome! I think so many people waste really good food because they don’t know what they’ve got! I’ll admit this was my first time ever making stock from scratch, but I’ve seen my mother do it in the past. I think we used to LIVE on Turkey Noodle Soup after Thanksgiving every year! 🙂 I’m excited for this year to get lots of use out of the leftovers! 🙂

  8. Katie, love to do this. And I’m SO glad you didn’t throw the carcass away. You did good! I even take the thanksgiving turkey carcass home from my brother and sil’s house. I refuse to let her throw it away. Always tons of meat left for turkey and dumplings. The we fill the freezer up with a TON of soup.
    Pamela Bates/Mercantile Muse recently posted…Favorite FindsMy Profile

    • That is awesome! I think so many people waste really good food because they don’t know what they’ve got! I’ll admit this was my first time ever making stock from scratch, but I’ve seen my mother do it in the past. I think we used to LIVE on Turkey Noodle Soup after Thanksgiving every year! 🙂 I’m excited for this year to get lots of use out of the leftovers! 🙂

  9. Eating all of the chicken and using its stock would be a lot of fat and cholesterol, meaning bad eating habits and not that healthy, I would only eat the less greasy parts, unless health is not your biggest worry.

  10. Eating all of the chicken and using its stock would be a lot of fat and cholesterol, meaning bad eating habits and not that healthy, I would only eat the less greasy parts, unless health is not your biggest worry.

  11. Eating all of the chicken and using its stock would be a lot of fat and cholesterol, meaning bad eating habits and not that healthy, I would only eat the less greasy parts, unless health is not your biggest worry.

  12. I love to bring home a Rotisserie Chicken when I go to Costco. With 4 big boys to feed though, I can usually only get a couple of meals out of it. But hey, that’s a good deal anyway! Great blog post!
    Lisa Holcomb recently posted…Hot Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

  13. I love to bring home a Rotisserie Chicken when I go to Costco. With 4 big boys to feed though, I can usually only get a couple of meals out of it. But hey, that’s a good deal anyway! Great blog post!
    Lisa Holcomb recently posted…Hot Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

  14. I love to bring home a Rotisserie Chicken when I go to Costco. With 4 big boys to feed though, I can usually only get a couple of meals out of it. But hey, that’s a good deal anyway! Great blog post!
    Lisa Holcomb recently posted…Hot Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

  15. Karen Hildebrandt

    Thanks for the encouragement to make the most of my chicken. I made my first stock today. It smells wonderful, you are right!
    For all the naysayers out there, omit adding salt, chill, remove the fat from the top of the container once congealed, and add some organic low sodium broth if you must.
    Since I am cooking for the whole family and need to be practical and the most of what I buy I can cut my fat and salt somewhere on my plate and make an exception.
    PS. I am a Costco employee and I KNOW how we handle these chickens from beginning to end. There are no lurking secret ingredients.

  16. I always make chicken stock out of the carcass. But I freeze it in 1 cup containers or even an ice cube tray. You know those recipes that call for 2 TBS of chicken broth? Perfect! Homemade broth is so much tastier and has less salt than the canned stuff. It really is worth the little effort to make.

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