The Incredible Chicken: 10 Yummy Recipes to Make with Chicken!

Chickens don’t deserve to have silly, unanswerable jokes written about them; they deserve odes and sonnets! And this poetry should be composed by homemakers and chefs, for chickens are the cook’s friend. For a start, they give us one of nature’s most perfect foods, the egg. Eggs are a complete protein (containing all the amino acids) and are highly digestible. They can be cooked in dozens of ways and enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Chicken meat is also highly versatile, and can be partnered with any number of flavors. The bones can be used to make gelatin-rich, protein-boosting, disease-fighting broth that is supremely satisfying on its own, or equally pleasing as the base of a favourite soup.

Consider all these aspects along with the fact that chicken is one of the least expensive meats available. Thanks to Aldi, I can purchase one of these wonderful birds for less than $4.00. And even at a regular grocery store, they would still be cheap.

Buying and cooking whole chickens is one of my favourite budget-stretching strategies, but a few years ago I never would’ve dreamed of it. I remember watching my mom prep whole raw chickens many a time, and it was too gross for me. I vowed to never, ever buy a whole chicken. I just couldn’t stomach the thought of reaching my hand inside a chicken’s butt and pulling out its neck!

In college I thanked my lucky stars for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Best thing since sliced bread! (Oh wait, I don’t buy that any more either.) I paid about $6.00 or $7.00 dollars for a bag of frozen chicken breasts, which probably came with about 6-8 pieces. So I was paying almost $1.00 per chicken breast.

Sometime this past year I wanted to make one of my mother-in-law’s recipes, and it called for a whole chicken. I bought it, prepped it, and realised that somewhere in the past ten years my aversion to whole chickens had taken flight. I didn’t really mind dealing with the carcass after all; in fact I found it rather fascinating. We feasted on the chicken, and had lots of leftover meat for other meals. It struck me how cost effective it is to buy a whole chicken.

Now I rarely buy bags of chicken pieces. Usually I buy one chicken per month, and we have a chicken dish each week. I thaw the chicken in the refrigerator and when I’m ready to prep it, I rinse it, remove the giblets, and place it in a baking dish. Then I use my kitchen shears to snip open the skin and cut off the chicken breasts. I cut the chicken breasts in half or lengthwise and then seal them in a freezer bag for future recipes. Depending on what I want to make that month I sometimes cut off and freeze other parts of the chicken. I put the rest of the carcass in a gallon freezer bag and put everything in the freezer.

Sometime during the month I’ll thaw the chicken breasts to make chicken sandwiches or to chop up for a stirfry. The bulk of the chicken usually gets a crock-pot treatment, and the leftover cooked meat is refrozen for tacoes, fried rice, or chicken curry. Eric usually cooks the giblets, and I always save the bones for stock-making. Talk about bang for one’s buck. Well, I guess I just did. Four dollars (usually less!) and it lasts four meals.

Here’s some of our favourite things to do with chicken:

Chicken sandwich

Pound chicken breasts flat; dredge in flour, then egg, then Panko breadcrumbs. Fry in coconut oil until crispy golden. Serve on toasted buns with mayonnaise, a thin slice of fresh mozzarella, spinach, and two crucial pickles.

Chicken stock

Place all bones in a soup pot; cover with cold filtered water and 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Let sit for one hour. Bring to a boil; skim off scum. Reduce heat to low, add desired vegetable peelings or chunks and let simmer a few hours. Strain broth and refrigerate or freeze in glass jars. Use broth for soups, gravies, or to cook rice.

Cream cheese crock pot chicken

Place cooked black beans, cooked shredded chicken, and plenty of salsa in the crock pot. Cook on low for several hours, then add about 8 oz of cream cheese and heat through.

Chicken meal salad

Chop up chicken and marinate all day in the refrigerator in soy sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar, and ginger. Pan cook in butter. Serve over a spinach or lettuce salad with other toppings and a dressing of the pan drippings plus equal parts honey and Dijon mustard.

Lemon rosemary chicken

Place bone-in chicken in the crock pot; add about 1 cup of filtered water. Squeeze a fresh lemon over the chicken; dot liberally inside and out with butter. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, crushed garlic, and rosemary. Cook on low, basting a few times during the day.

Here are more recipes to make with chicken:

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Pasta Alfredo

Creamy Chicken Curry

Creamy Pulled Chicken Sandwiches in the Crock Pot

Sweet and Sour Chicken



My cookbook, Real Food for the Real Homemaker, is all about making real food from scratch! It includes 75+ recipes that are simple to make and use wholesome, familiar ingredients, and has 8 chapters on topics like food substitutions, kitchen tools, and freezer cooking. Pick up a copy HERE.


  1. You mention making chicken stock from the bones and things. I’ve been doing that several times lately, too, whether I start with a whole chicken which I intend to cook or whether I’m using one of those rotisserie chickens from a grocery or warehouse store which I’ve already used for other purposes.

    My favorite way to make stock, though, is to use the crock pot to do it. I put the bones and assorted other bits and pieces into a six-quart crockpot, then I add a chopped onion, a carrot or two and a stalk or two of celery. I can usually add at least four quarts of (filtered) water, as well as the two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. After I let it sit an hour, I turn the crock pot on low. I like to let it go for a full 24 hours if possible, since that helps to insure that more of the minerals cook out of the bones into the stock.

  2. That’s a good idea. I couldn’t leave my stove on all night, but the crockpot would solve that problem. Does your stock gel well? I’ve put in too much water before and it didn’t firm up. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I wouldn’t say it gels especially well, but it could be the quality of the chicken I was using. It also might gel better if I cooked the whole raw chicken in the water for the stock, but I like being able to use leftover bones and scraps after I’ve used most of the meat for other purposes.

  4. Hey Elsie! I came across this post via the link in your menu post for this week. I do some similar things with chicken, but that black-bean, salsa, chicken and cream cheese recipe is happening this week for sure!!

    I often buy a bag or package of chicken pieces (like leg pieces, bone-in skin-on) because they’re often cheaper than buying a whole chicken in our grocery stores (88 cents a pound versus 98 cents a pound for a whole chicken). But I do like buying the whole chicken sometimes because then we get more white meat out of it.

    I often roast the meat, without cutting off the skin, and then we’ll eat one or two leg/thighs as is for a meal. Then all the rest of the meat comes off, everything else goes in the crock-pot along with water, herbs, and sometimes some garlic, onion and celery. My stock never “gels,” it stays liquid… but it tastes great and works well for chicken soup or rice-making.

    Is chicken stock supposed to “gel”? Is the consistency like jello, or what?

    Oh. And I never use filtered water, just tap, because it’s cheaper, so maybe that’s part of it, and no vinegar. Would that make the difference, do you think?

  5. Jaimie- I’ll have to look in to buying chicken pieces again. I usually grab a whole bird from Aldi’s; I just assumed that’s the cheapest way to do chicken, since Aldi’s is usually the cheapest all around. But now I’m going to double check(:

    My chicken stock gels pretty regularly now! A little less firm than jello. Gelatin is desirable because it aids digestion and helps our bodies utilize protein. It’s budget-friendly: you can eat less meat, but get more out of it.

    I’ve found the best way to get a gelled stock is to
    1. Simmer bones for longer
    2. Supplement fresh bones with “second time around” bones
    3. Use (a little) vinegar to help draw out the minerals/gelatin

    When you buy a whole chicken, you can also toss in the neck, which lends gelatin. So do chicken feet, but my chickens usually don’t have any(: Oh, and by “filtered” water I mean water from the Brita pitcher!

  6. Lemon Rosemary

    I made this chicken last week and it was amazing! It loved that it was simple and didn’t have a lot of ingredients but there was such a great depth of flavor. I will be making this time and time again! Thanks!

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