I used to buy the individually frozen breasts from Costco for all our chicken needs. About once a year I’d buy a fresh drumstick pack from Costco to make fried chicken for camping trips. I personally don’t like to fry chicken at home, so whenever we want fried chicken I just go to Albertson’s and pick it up! Except that is getting pretty expensive because we need at least a 12-piece to feed us all! Hungry kids!
Last year Jim and I decided to start buying whole chickens and work together to cut them up to freeze for later use. Saves $$. And it gives Jim and I something to do together- sort of like a date night- ha!
Fred Meyer has their Foster Farms chickens on sale for $0.69 per pound right now. A pretty good price for Foster Farms, so we try to stock up on them when they are marked down like that. I picked up three on Sunday, and another three last night. If you are going to cut up one chicken, why not three, or six?
The kids were thoroughly grossed out, but to have good quality meaty pieces of chicken is so worth the hassle.
Here’s my tips:
After the chicken is cut up, I rinse each piece, partially dry it, then put it on a cookie sheet- a tiny bit of space between each piece. The tray goes into the freezer so that each piece is “individually frozen”. (NOTE: if you are stacking the chicken (too many to fit on one tray) use parchement paper between the layers- NOT wax paper!)
Sometimes I bag a complete chicken- all eight pieces. But usually I just make a bag of legs, a bag of wings, a bag of breasts and a bag of thighs. Easy enough.
I use a lot of chicken broth when I cook- so next I take the necks and carcass and simmer them to make a broth. Sometimes I finish it off by picking out all the bones and saving the meat pieces to make it into chicken noodle soup. Storing homemade broth is easy: freeze it in ice-cube trays so that as a recipe calls for broth, you have pre-measured cubes ready to go!
Boiling six carcasses didn’t appeal to me, plus I didn’t have a pot big enough! So we only simmered one carcass along with the necks. The remaining five carcasses I baked in the oven and picked the biggest pieces of meat off to make a casserole for dinner tomorrow night.
Once you start doing this and see how much money you save, it’s hard to buy canned chicken broth and individually frozen pieces of chicken from the grocer. It’s well over double (or triple!) the price!
Minimal waste… saved dollars… time with my husband. Priceless!