Oh yes, it can be done. And yes, it will save you money. And yes, it will save you lots of time throughout the month! Not only are you going to end up with all this great cooked chicken, you are also going to get some very flavorful chicken stock to use for your recipes.
Some things I found out when I started doing this…
1. I tend to use less meat and more vegetables in my recipes.
2. I am less likely to pick up a high fat “quickie” food if the cooking wait time doesn’t exist.
3. I am less likely to go out to eat if I have the base of the meal already cooked.
4. I am saving money by having my stove/oven turned on only once for long cooking, rather than every day.
5. I no longer worry if I forget to take the chicken out of the freezer or put it in the slow cooker so it will be done in time for supper.
6. Homemade stock/broth is so much better and it’s basically FREE!
Here are some of the recipes I can make in about 30 minutes or less with this pre-cooked chicken:
Nachos, BBQ Chicken Sandwiches/Plate, Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken and Rice, Chicken Pot Pie, about 50 different Chicken Casseroles, Chicken Croquets, Chicken Fajitas and the list goes on…
3 Chickens*, whole & thawed (approx. 6 lbs. each)*
1 Turkey-size Oven Bag
3 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
3 med. Onions, peeled (don’t forget to plant the roots) – Optional
4-6 cloves Garlic, minced – Optional
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 stick Butter, melted
3-1/2 c. Water
Dried parsley – Optional
Measuring Cups and Spoons
1 Large Bowl
Cutting Board, clean
Freezer Containers (Ice Cube Trays, Repurposed bowls, etc.)
Freezer Bags (Vacuum Seal Bags, Freezer Boxes, etc.)
*NOTE: It is very important to keep the weight of the chickens as equal as possible to ensure proper cook times. For this demonstration, I am going to cook only one chicken (for my family’s supper).
Move the top rack to the center position in your oven. Preheat the oven to 350.
Open chickens and remove any extra parts from the two cavities (head and bottom areas). Set aside or discard if not using. Rinse chickens well, inside and out. DO NOT wash with soap.
Place on a towel (plate, pan, etc.) and pat chickens dry.
Put one onion inside each large cavity. Tie together, or re-strap, the chicken legs (in nylon-type clip).
Add flour to oven bag; shake well. Place the turkey bag in the roasting pan. Place chickens in bag side-by-side, loosely.
In a large, microwavable measuring cup, combine garlic, salt, pepper, butter, water, and parsley. Mix well and often – large spices will settle on bottom.
Pour mixture over chickens – ending with some of chunk spices visible on top of chickens. This will allow for a mild penetration of the flavors into the breast meat.
Seal the bag and make slits as directed according to bag manufacturer. Place in oven and cook 1-1/2 to 2 hours, turning every 30 minutes to ensure even cooking heat distribution. Internal temperature of chickens should be 165 degrees.
Remove from oven. Carefully cut top of bag open and let sit for 15-30 minutes without disturbing.
While waiting for chicken to cool a bit, set up the large bowl, the stock pot and the cutting board.
Carefully remove one chicken from the bag, letting drain well over bag, and place on the cutting board. The chicken will still be quite hot. Chop, pull, and cut meat as desired and place in the bowl. Place all skin, bones, and scraps in the stockpot. Continue this step until all chickens have been processed.
Add 2-3 large spoons full of chicken juices (from bag in roasting pan) to chicken in bowl. Mix well and let cool completely. Mix chicken and juices again. Place desired amount in freezer bags/containers and freeze. Be sure to identify and date the contents using a permanent marker or freezer pen.
Add remaining juices (from roasting bag) to stockpot. Discard roasting bag. Add 6 cups of water to pot and boil until liquid reduces by about half. Let cool completely. Strain the liquid through a clean towel (or cheese cloth) and a mesh colander into a large bowl to remove all solids. Discard the solids. Pour stock into freezer containers. Be sure to identify and date the contents using a permanent marker or freezer pen. Freeze stock until needed.