I made six family-friendly meals with two whole chickens. THIS is such a money-saving method of cooking!
Full Disclosure: The two chickens I used were extra large. But so is the size of our family – extra large. There are 11 of our family at home right now (four adults and seven kids). Plus we currently have five housemates (three adults and two kids). We feed a lot of people each day (11-20 per meal). If you know me very well, you know that I love this. Feeding people is one of my favorite things to do.
Finding ways to stretch the food and creatively use what we have is also a lot of fun for me. :) Here’s how I made two whole chickens stretch into some wonderful meals for all of us.
6 Meals I Made with Two Whole Chickens
First, I thawed, then seasoned and smoked the chickens all afternoon.
Both chickens easily fit in our smoker, so I made good use of the space and the pellets to smoke both chickens at once.
We enjoyed chicken straight off of the smoker that night. SO GOOD. We ate it with these sides:
Matt is our designated chicken de-boner. He turns on an audio book, listens, and works to get all the meat off the bones for me. It’s one of my least favorite jobs but he does it happily.
We ended up with two 9×13 inch dishes full of meat after we ate all we wanted the first night!
Time for Broth
We put the bones into a pot of water to turn into broth the next day. I added several pounds of carrots and onions to make it extra nourishing. After several hours, I strained it and blended the veggies to pour back in.
The next day, I used some of the chicken to make a bunch of Chicken Cheese Melts on croissants. Half of them were just chicken and Colby jack cheese – for the kids. The other half was chicken with pepper jack cheese and ranch – for the adults who wanted a little spice. These sandwiches were perfect with Tomato Soup! And we got out canned fruit to help spread out the meal (because I was out of fresh fruit).
Note: I cut the twelve sandwiches in half for kids who needed smaller portions. This was the only way to make this meal stretch far enough for all of us.
The day after that, I used more of the chicken to make a large pan plus a small dish of Creamy Chicken Enchiladas.
The weather turned cold, so the next day we were very excited to use the broth I’d made a few days earlier and more of the chicken to make Chicken and Noodles. Wow, did that hit the spot!
Two days later, we pulled out the leftover Creamy Chicken Enchiladas to warm up for dinner.
Finally, we used the last of the chicken to make The Simplest White Chicken Chili in the crock pot.
So let’s review.
Two large chickens made these meals:
- Smoked chicken with sides (16 people)
- Chicken Cheese Melts on Croissants (13 people)
- Creamy Chicken Enchiladas (11 people)
- Chicken and Noodles (16 people)
- Creamy Chicken Enchilada leftovers (10 people)
- The Simplest White Chicken Chili (14 people)
Using whole chickens like this can really help stretch a food budget! And when you stretch the meal even further, pulling out easy side dishes like this, you can feed a lot of people these great meals! <— this is my favorite way to make a meal fill many people at once – add plenty of fruit and veggie side dishes to make the meal go as far as needed!