Thursday, May 17, 2012

My 5 Meal Chicken

I've been teaching myself to cook a chicken and it's broth that stretch to at least five meals (4 dinners and 1 frozen lunch) in the crock pot. I use specific veggies, but there is a tremendous amount of excellent information about making broth and it's benefit's over at Nourished Kitchen! I make my broth with the veggies I have on hand all the time; garlic, celery, onions, bay leaf, and carrots.
First of all I want to show you a group of pictures of the meals I have made with this crock pot chicken broth and then tell you how I make the broth.

  1. My Mother-in-law's King Ranch Chicken, which makes enough for lunch leftovers or I freeze the smaller one for another time. Even the smaller one is enough for dinner if we add a salad to it. This recipe uses a 1/3 of the chicken and a couple of cups of broth.
  2. I make this Minute Minstrone from Food Network's How to Boil Water. Their recipe calls for canned broth, but I make my own and don't have to buy that. I double their recipe (except the salt, which is great for one pot but when doubled is just too salty). Then serve half and I refrigerator can the rest for lunches through the week.
  3. I absolutely LOVE this pot pie recipe Kristin, my friend from church created. That's another post! Awesome!! I use 1/3 of the chicken and a touch of broth to make two pies.
  4. My Grandma Davis's Chicken Noodle Soup. My mom has made this from the time I was a child. It's been passed down from my great grandma and possibly beyond. It's excellent!! Yet another post that I'll make time for soon, I hope. This uses 1/3 of the chicken and at least 1/2 of the broth.
  5. Five is just the freezer casserole of the number 1 King Ranch Chicken.
I say this is 5, but really I get lunch leftovers from nearly all of it's really a 5 dinner meal chicken with more for lunches. So here goes how I make this super easy Crock pot broth.

What you will need before making broth:

A Large Crock Pot
Canning Jars or sanitized pickle jars like Clausen or Vlassic (I threw out so much broth the first time I made this because it went bad in the fridge before I could use it all. Now I 'refrigerator can' the broth in canning jars (I'll explain) so that it will stay in the fridge much much longer).
Cutting Board and Veggy Knife
Dish-draining Seive (I haven't found anything that fits as perfect over jars and catches e.ver.y.thing! They are super cheap.)
Laddle and Tongs to dip the broth and get the chicken out with.

1 or 2 Onions, cut in 1/4ths
2 or3 Celery stalks, cut to fit crock
6-10 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
3 large carrots, halved
Fresh Ground Pepper
1 bay leaf, optional
Super Large Roasting Chicken

To Start, night before:
  • Cut all veggies and throw into empty crock
  • Grind desired amount of fresh pepper on top of veggies
  • Open Chicken over veggies to catch all the juices and make sure there's no bag inside chicken
  • Fill crock pot with cold water and turn on low setting (Nurished Kitchen's blog has information as to why to start with cold water and why to cook it slowly). If you have an older crock, you may want it on medium. You want it to cook very slowly, but stay hot enough to kill bacteria. Mine on low, simmers.
  • Leave it to cook over night and sanitize your jars.
About my "Refrigerator Canning":

I am not a canner and never have been! I want to say that to start so that you will not just take my word for it without researching.

I use any jar that still has a pop-down lid, like my old pickle jars, and wash them in steaming hot water. After they're sanitized, don't touch the inside of lids as your fingers can carry bacteria. I also use a new drain seive that is stored with my jars. It would never perform double duty--yuck. It gets sanitized, too.

  • Place your drain seive atop the jar, and start early the day after starting the broth. Ladle broth through seive into jar up to about 2 millimeters from spill-over.
  • Immediately put lid on and tighten well. (Watch out, it's HOT!). Set aside on counter until cooled enough to handle.
  • Fill Crock back up to top and keep on low.
  • Repeat every couple of hours, only filling up to two jars at a time.
  • Mid day, gently remove entire chicken and set aside to cool until you can easily handle it. Leave broth on. (Do NOT discard carcuss!)
  • Once the chicken has cooled, divide meat evenly into 3 zip-lock bags and freeze all but one until ready to use them. You can use one bag for tonight's supper in an easy casserole or pot pie!
  • Replace remaining bones ect. back into crock, and take note of how full the water is now.
  • Continue to ladle only one to two jars of broth every couple of hours until evening. Then ladle remainder into jars and tightly close.
  • After cooling, check each one to see if the lid still pops or if it has sealed down. Most of them will have sealed and you can go ahead and store them in your fridge. Any that haven't sealed need to be used within a couple of days.
Why I don't store them in my pantry:
Meats should be pressure canned to prevent botulism. I'm not experienced in canning and not willing to take the chance. I keep them in the fridge and use them within 3 months. I always check for a seal when I'm about to use them and also use my nose to make sure it still smells fresh. The steam from immediate transfer from pot to jar and quickly sealing is enough to cause a vacuum and it's freshly cooked, so it's safe enough for me and my family--and I'm a little on the paranoid side.

This is what it looks like when opened after being stored in the fridge. I have to poke through the gelled top layer for it to pour out.

So, that's how I make a chicken stetch to use in 5 or more meals! This makes 3 baggies of chicken that can be used in cassaroles, chicken pot pies, soups, etc. and about 6 quarts of broth to make two soups and to suppliment recipes calling for a can or two of broth.

Linked Up at this wonderful blog:
Cornerstone Confessions
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Now, I want you to have many choices of things you can make using the chicken or the broth, or both. I'm starting a link-up below that is INVITE ONLY!!! All of these links will be recipes with the following rules;

  1. A different recipe for home-made broth, or
  2. A soup that uses chicken broth as it's base, or
  3. A recipe that uses up to two cups of shredded or diced chicken, or
  4. In some way educates about canning broth, making a better broth, or otherwise benefitial in relation to making a chicken stretch.
If you have a recipe or information that you think would fit well here or know of one, please leave me a comment below with a link and I will take a look.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I don't know if there's anything in this world that tastes as good as home-made broth.

  2. Yum! Im glad you invited me! I use chicken a lot, and always save shredded chicken and broth. These tips are awesome! Thanks again


    1. You're welcome! Thank you so much for linking up. If you have more recipes that match the criteria, feel free to add them also. -Tabitha


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