One Small Food Bank Chicken=Three Meals

12/11/2014  By donR

Chicken Thighs

Three meals from one chicken is possible when it complements the side dishes. Read more…

The Ferndale Food Bank is slated to receive small whole chickens this month. Most would consider this to be barely enough for one family meal. But, if you follow the FMP core principles, you most likely  have ideas about carving one whole chicken into three chicken-based meals for a family of four.

Using parts of one chicken for several meals is easier when you agree to 4 principles:

  • Protein is needed to build body cells and regulate body functions.  But, if you eat more than the body needs, the extra is converted to sugar and easily stored as fat.
  • Americans usually eat more protein than they need. A protein portion is about the size of a pack of playing cards and three or four portions per day is plenty for most adults.
  • Beans and rice make a complete protein. Substitute these in place of expensive meat once in a while to increase fiber intake and decrease your craving for protein.
  • Cut the chicken apart and repackage it before cooking or serving it. Chances are pretty good that the whole chicken will be eaten if you set it on the dinner table.

WHY cut back on protein consumption?       

Reducing the amount of animal protein  in meals is a way to lower food costs and eat healthier . The USDA recommends that half of our plate be filled with above ground veggies, root veggies and fruit. The remainder of the meal is whole grains, lean protein and limited fat and dairy. 

If this idea is new to your family, here are some suggestions that may help to bring about change:

  • Begin by making small, gradual changes in your meal plan.
  • Start your meal with soup and salad.
  • Bring plates to the table like a restaurant with controlled portion sizes.
  • Sit down to eat with family, engage in conversation and savor the food.
  • Add beans to your meal to replace some of the expensive proteins.
  • Limit sugary drinks and fatty foods because they stimulate your craving for more food.
  • Drink lots of water.

If you try all these suggestions and your family still craves more protein, we suggest you talk this over with your doctor to determine how much protein is right for your family members.

What to do with your chicken.

The roasted whole bird looks so delicious, golden brown, large and oozing with juices. It can be stuffed with a moist dressing. After picking off the cooked meat, the carcass can be simmered to make gravy or broth and parts used as planned-overs in a few recipes..

strips are tasty, low in  fat, and simple to prepare.

Chicken breasts cut into strips,breaded and baked  are tasty, low in fat, and simple to prepare.

Parts of an uncooked cut-up bird can be sorted so they cook evenly in a crock-pot, oven, roaster or  electric fry pan or braised in a one-skillet meal. The lean white breast meat cooks best in a moist environment (braised.) The darker meat can be cooked over fast/hot heat because chicken is usually tender and moist. The carcass can be stripped of the  raw meat then  simmered to make a rich tasting soup stock.  Pieces can be cooked or packaged and refrigerated to be used later in thousands of different recipes.

 For this post, we chose to cut it up and sort the pieces for 3 meals: The recipes will be the topic of the next three posts.

Meal #1. Oven-Baked Chicken Strips. (recipe will be shown later.with suggested sides: roasted veggies, coleslaw, and baked apples.

Meal #2  Slow Cooked BBQ Legs n Thighs,   (suggested sides: baked beans, sauteed mushrooms & broccoli, peach cottage cheese)

Meal #3  Chicken ala King with peas,   (suggested sides: rice, green salad, fruit smoothies)