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1 Chicken - 4 Meals How to Stretch a Pastured Your Pastured Chicken

April 25, 2019 0 Comments

If this picture of battery raised chicken doesn’t sit right with you.
If the idea of eating an animal who never lived life the way God intended grosses you out ...
Maybe you should try eating chickens that have had a good life and were raised on pasture? Chickens who have been roaming in fresh grass and eating bugs and worms.
Pasture-raised broilers, allowed to access a natural diet, are richer in beta carotene, retinol and omega-3 fatty acids than their factory-farmed, cheaper counterparts. These birds are of better quality and can go a long, long way in the kitchen.
There, now don't these guys look much happier?

Maybe the thought of using a whole bird is a little intimidating. Most of the chickens you see now days don’t come in grocery store packaging like that right? But, let’s take a note from our grandparents' diet. My grandmother would rarely pay the extra money when she knew she could get more from buying the whole bird.
She knew that she could feed her whole family 3-4 meals off one bird. The value of time saved prepping and cooking is an added bonus. With a little forethought and creativity, you can stretch your own whole bird out throughout the week. By stretching your whole bird out it makes it much easier to choose a bird you can feel good about eating AND it can actually have flavor. 
Check out some of my favorite recipes I use throughout the week using the first recipe to cook my bird. This saves you time during the rest of the week by having pre-cooked chicken. 

Meal #1 Roast Chicken

Enjoy your family on Sunday and keep this one simple. My roast chicken is no fuss. Grab your Lard/butter, fresh herbs, lemon, and garlic and get to work on that bird.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 375. Place your bird on a dutch oven or roasting pan with the lid OFF. Leaving a lid on will lend itself to mushy skin.
  • Put your fresh herbs, lemon, and garlic in the cavity. Rub the skin with room temp lard or butter.
  • Experiment here with the flavor outcome you’d like. Sprinkle with just S&P or if you want to get fancy “Herbs de Provence”.
  • Put 1-2 cups of chicken stock or water in the pan and surround with veggies.
Cook until the internal temp is 165 at the deepest part of the breast.
I like to let the leg be the judge. If I can break it loose easily…it’s done.
The gravy at the bottom of the pan is just as good as butter. Be sure not to skip the skin here too! I call that chicken bacon.

(Don't judge my skin in this picture. I was trying to roast with the dutch oven lid ON. Turns out it doesn't get as crispy that way....Lesson learned. BUT the winter squash was delicious below it roasted in the chicken gravy then smashed was divine)

Meal #2 Chicken Salad
The next day, strip your chicken of the rest of the meat and hang onto the bones, skin, and cartilage. Throw that in your slow cooker or stock pot to make your broth you’ll use for the other recipes.

2 Cups of chopped chicken meat will be able to make at least 3 - 4 lunches worth of sandwiches.

Try Mixing in these with your chicken to make a fresh and crunchy sandwich:

  • Fresh Apples
  • Celery
  • Raisins or Grapes
  • Onions (green or sweet)
  • Walnuts

Meal #3 Chicken Pie

Or something that calls for me to pre-cook around a pound of chicken (time saver: chicken is already cooked! BOOM Winning! Keep in mind that the cooked chicken will weigh less than uncooked. So 1 1/2 lb (about 2 breasts) of raw chicken will get you around 2 cups of cooked chicken.

  • About 1 cup of pre-cooked and shredded Cottonwood Farm Chicken
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • 1 diced onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Thyme
  • Cream of Chicken Soup (more on making your own healthy version to come)
  • 4 tablespoons pastured butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • S & P to taste
  • 2 pie crusts, preferably homemade (with LARD)


Preheat oven to 375. In large saute pan, saute diced veggies in butter, put in garlic last. Add cream of chicken, heavy cream, a dash of thyme, and salt and pepper. Stir and let simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.  Put one crust in the pie pan. Add mixture. Place second crust on top and crimp the two together at the edges. Cook 20 - 30 minutes. For a crispier crust lightly brush crust with beaten egg 10 ish minutes before ready to come out. 

Meal #4 Chicken Soups

Soups - around 1 pound of chicken + broth from the last chicken

This is one of my favorite soups to make. Brian cannot get enough of the chicken and wild rice soup from Panera. So, I figured out how to merge my leftover cooked chicken with one of his favorite foods. AND it's easy!

Panera Copycat Chicken & Wild Rice Soup


  • 1- 1 1/2 cups shredded roast Cottonwood Farm chicken

  • salt & pepper to season

  • 3 carrots, diced

  • 1 1/2 cups celery, diced

  • 1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

  • 1 cup wild rice

  • 6 cups of bone broth or stock

  • 1 cup thinly sliced baby Bella mushrooms (optional, but not really)

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (or arrowroot)

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • salt to taste

To a crock pot, first add cooked chicken. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, wild rice and chicken broth.
Cook on HIGH for 2 - 2.5 hours.
Heat a small saucepan to medium high heat. Add butter to the pan. Let the butter melt and start to bubble, whisking the entire time to ensure it doesn’t burn. Once the mixture is a light brown color pour the milk in and add corn starch. Whisking the entire time until milk is incorporated and there are no lumps. Let milk mixture simmer for 2 minutes until thick.
Pour milk mixture into the crock pot and stir. Next, add mushrooms and stir. Let cook an additional 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Adapted from Joyful Healthy Eats

Meal #5 Bone Broth

Bone Broth - I usually get around a gallon when I make it in my instant pot, more if using the crockpot.

Click HERE to grab our FREE Bone Broth Making Guide 

This feeds my husband and I a good 6 meals. That’s 12 meals in total! That’s less than $2/ meal! It’s a simple way to save time and stretch out the investment you have in your bird.

With a little planning, you can easily stretch your chicken meat.  



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