One Chicken = Five Meals

written by

Rachel Palma

posted on

January 22, 2023

Even as a farmer with freezers full of our amazing pastured meats and access to the freshest vegetables from our veggie growing farmer friends, I STILL struggle with planning and preparing delicious meals for our family.

Sometimes it's due to a lack of creativity. Other times a lack of planning. And most of the time a lack of energy ;)

But when I do take the time to meal plan at the beginning of the week, I find myself asking "why don't I do this all the time??"

We eat better and I spend way less time stressing and last minute cooking.

I wanted to share a meal planning idea with you of how to take a whole chicken, cut it up at the beginning of the week, and have all the pieces you need to make FIVE wonderfully wholesome and delicious meals for the week.

The ideas I'm sharing today would be for a larger chicken, 6+ pounds, and would ideally serve a family of 4.

Depending on your family's size and ages, you can scale up or down. If you have a smaller family, you can do a smaller chicken. If a bigger family, you could do two large chickens and double everything.

We shared a video on our YouTube page a while back of how to cut up a whole chicken. Though daunting to some, it is a worthy skill to learn and once you've done it a few times you'll realize how simple and worthwile it is.

You can thaw a chicken by Sunday, cut it up, stick the pieces in the fridge for that week's meals, make your broth with the carcass, and set yourself up for success in the kitchen that week.

Here's how I would typically divide a large chicken for multiple meals:

  • 2 lbs of boneless breast and tenders = 2 MEALS
  • 2 drumsticks, 2 wing flats, 2 drumettes = 1 MEAL
  • 2 large thighs = 1 MEAL
  • 1 carcass = 1 MEAL

When you make broth with the carcass, you can pick off the "leftover" meat and set it aside in the fridge to use for your meal later in the week. Then of course strain your broth and set that aside in the fridge for it's meal.

1 Chicken = 5 Meals (All gluten free, by the way!)

Meal #1: Chicken Burrito Skillet (1lb of boneless chicken)

Meal #2: Mediterranean Chicken Bowls (1lb of boneless chicken)

Meal #3: Caramelized Baked Chicken Legs/Wings (drumsticks and wings)

Meal #4: Coconut Curry Chicken Thighs (2 thighs)

Notes: This recipe technically calls for 6-8 thighs, however 2 thighs from a large chicken will suffice. This would go well served over rice or mashed white or sweet potatoes!

Meal #5: Chicken Butternut Chili (carcass = broth and picked chicken)

Notes: This recipe calls for 1 cup of cooked chicken breast, but I suggest using the picked chicken you get off of the carcass after making broth. You should have close to what this recipe calls for! **Freezes well

I'd love to hear about your ideas of how to stretch a whole chicken and some of your favorite chicken dishes!

Happy planning and cooking,


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