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OAMC - Chicken Plan

Article by: Kim Tilley
Dated: May 28, 2006

OAMC - Chicken PlanHere is the first plan I wrote, out of necessity! I couldn't figure out how to deal with so many different parts of the chickens I was doing unless I had everything written down and the recipes gathered together. This plan is constantly being revised as I find better ways to do things and more recipes. Stay tuned for a turkey plan, which will be even easier than chicken!

My "chicken plan": (I broke it down to 6 at a time)

Out of 18 whole chickens, I used:
6 whole roasted chickens: Roast Sticky Chicken, 2 Rosemary Lemon Chicken

With the 12 other chickens:
cut breasts for Chicken Strips, Fajitas, and Forbidden City Chicken
cut legs and thighs for Simmering Chinese Chicken
cut wings for Teriyaki Chicken wings and Hot wings
save backs for All Purpose Chicken
save breastbones (after deboning breasts) for chicken soup
save giblets for who knows what!

My Strategy - When dealing with meats that have different parts, you need to think about how you will use each to get the maximum amount of food for your dollar. Here is how I handled chicken (the same approach can be used for turkey and many of these recipes will work for turkey)

First, I marinated 4 Roast Sticky chickens and put them back in the fridge, stuck two Rosemary Lemon Chickens with potatoes and green beans in the oven for three hours. Then I prepared all of the other marinades and mixes in advance (the recipes follow) before cutting up chicken. My five year old enjoyed helping with this part. I saved the messy stuff - the cutting until after my kids were asleep and dh was home and could answer the phone. I prepared the work space the best I could, making sure all of the knives were really sharp, had lots of Ziploc bags and bowls on hand, and my "chicken plan" in front of me and turned up the rock 'n roll! Yeah!

I put 6 chickens at a time in my sink, then opened all the wrappers and used an "assembly-line approach." I washed the first one, scooped out the giblets into a nearby bowl, cut the wings off and put in a wing bowl, cut the whole legs off (easier that way) and put in the leg bowl, and then cut off the back. I put the backs in a bowl, and the breasts in another. With 12 chickens, this didn't take but a half hour. On my second "cutting" I took all of the legs and cut between the drum and thigh and put them back in packages of 8 to a Ziploc, counted wings and put them in two Ziplocs, and put the chicken backs in Ziplocs. I also put giblets in Ziplocs. The giblets and backs went right to the freezer. At this point I felt like falling over, but the smell of a bargain (and all of those chickens!) kept me going.

I poured the marinades for "Simmering Chinese Chicken," "Teriyaki Wings" and "Hot Wings," then froze all of them. By this time, I was late for chat! Oh no! So I cleaned eveything up, reserving the chicken breasts for the next night. I disinfected everything too, which took a while!

The next night, I suited up to do battle again! Donning my rubber gloves and sharpening my knives, I prepared for the biggest pain, deboning all of the chicken breasts! I cut them from the bone on the first pass then cut them all into strips. I put the breast bones into a soup pot with water, some garlic powder, onion powder and seasoning salt. The broth was excellent and I got about two cups of additional white meat! I prepared the Oven Fried Chicken Strips and Fajitas, saving the rest of the strips for the next night.

The next night was pretty easy. I prepared all of the Deep Fried Chicken Strips and some chicken noodle soup which I need today because we are all sick! It took three or four days, but I found that if you do one motion repeatedly, you get really good at it and kick some serious chicken butt! I felt like "Jackie Chan" in the kitchen! I just followed the butcher cuts I see in the store. By mass producing, I saved money and time (I used rubber gloves to save my hands too!)

Here are the meals I got out of my 18 chickens:
4 Roasted Sticky Chickens with potatoes
2 Rosemary Lemon Chickens with potatoes and green beans
2 Simmering Chinese Chicken
4 bags of chicken legs/thighs for Shake and Bake chicken
1 Teriyaki Wings
1 Hot Wings
2 Forbidden City Chicken
2 Fajitas
1 gallon bag of Oven Fried Chicken strips (cooked)
2 gallon bags of Deep Fried Chicken Strips (raw)
2 gallon bags of chicken backs for All purpose Chicken
1 gallon bag of giblets (ideas wanted!)
1 big pot of chicken Noodle Soup (from breast bones)
more stock and soup from leftover whole roasted chickens after they are eaten

I only spent about 36 bucks! This is a really economical way to do chicken, and I think with practice, it won't be so daunting (remember, we all had a first oamc! THAT seemed daunting too!) Do you think I am crazy yet? I am just preparing for gardening season, when I will want to be outdoors rather than cooking.

Here's how I would've handled 18 more if I had the room:
freeze 6 whole

cut up 6 and freeze by type of piece: breasts, legs/thighs, wings, etc.

cut up the rest and freeze each as cut up chicken packs (each having two wings, drums, thighs and breasts)

The only reason I did them in sixes was because that was the store limit and a good size to work with. Nothing strange going on here, folks! No satanic chickens here! I kept going back for the chicken and people started to recognize me. They kept saying "Back again?" I thought about going undercover but the baby and the five year old would give me away. Oh well, I guess I'll have to save the "Mission Impossible" theme for the next adventure! Here are the recipes:

Roast Sticky Chicken (from busycooks)
4 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 large roasting chicken - as big as you can find
1 cup chopped onion

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine all the spices. Remove giblets from chicken, clean the cavity well and pat dry with paper towels.

Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, both inside and out, making sure it is evenly distributed and down deep into the skin. Place in a resealable plastic bag, seal and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to roast chicken, stuff cavity with onions, and place in a shallow baking pan. Roast, uncovered, at 250 degrees for 5 hours (yes, 250 degrees for 5 hours).

After the first hour, baste chicken occasionally (every half hour or so) with pan juices. The pan juices will start to caramelize on the bottom of pan and the chicken will turn golden brown. If the chicken contains a pop-up thermometer, ignore it. Let chicken rest about 10 minutes before carving.

Notes: This recipe is a great way to roast a large chicken for planned leftovers. It is reminiscent of those rotisserie-style chickens that are so popular now, and it is very easy to make. The meat comes out very moist and flavorful, so it is as good leftover as freshly cooked. Please try it and you will never roast chicken any other way. You need to start this the night before serving.

Update: This one freezes well; take care because the chicken does start to fall apart, especially the legs and wings. It still tastes fantastic! I froze these in Ziplocs, next time I may freeze in a box type container so it doesn't fall apart. The leftovers were great as soup and chicken salad.

Rosemary Lemon Chicken (Good!)
1 5-6 pound roasting chicken
2 large lemons
1 bunch fresh rosemary (or use dried leaves)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds small red potatoes
2 packages 9 oz frozen green beans, thawed and drained (I use fresh, sometimes canned)

Prep time: start 3 hours before you want to serve this.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove giblets and neck from chicken, reserve for something else. Rinse chicken, drain and pat dry. Working with chicken breast side up, fold wings toward neck, then fold up and under back of chicken so they stay in place.

Cut lemon in half, squeeze enough juice from one half of lemon to make one tablespoon, cut remaining lemons into large chunks (I have used reconstituted lemon juice and substituted limes for the chunks of lemon with no problem)

Place lemon chunks and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried) inside body cavity of chicken. With string, tie legs and tail together. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of meat between breast and thigh (I don't do this) being careful not to touch thermometer to bone. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack just large enough to hold chicken in large open roasting pan (I just put it in a bigger, metal roasting pan! Metal seems to work better than glass, more juices)

In a cup, mix 2 tbsp frsh minced rosemary (or 2 tsp dried), 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. With a pastry brush, brush chicken with mixture.

Cut each potato in half. Place potatoes around rack in roasting pan, drizzle with the 1 tbsp lemon juice and 3 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with 3/4 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper. Toss to coat well.

Roast chicken in 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting chicken and potatoes with pan drippings occasionally. When chicken turns golden, cover loosely with a tent of foil.

Add green beans to roasting pan, toss with potatoes. Roast 1 hour longer, basting chicken and veggies occasionally with pan drippings, or until meat thermometer reaches 175 to 180 degrees (I find the times to be pretty reliable; add 15 more minutes if you want to be extra sure). Remove foil during last of roasting and brush chicken again with pan drippings for attractive sheen (this chicken is GORGEOUS!)

To serve, place chicken on large platter, remove string. Arrange potatoes and green beans around chicken. Garnish with rosemary before serving. Makes about 8 servings. 465 calories per serving. From Good Housekeeping Magazine, Sept 1988.

Notes: This chicken is beautiful, easy, and also easy to cook in quantity. If you are going to make one for a special dinner, why not make a bunch? I have not frozen and then thawed this one yet, but I'm guessing it will still be good. Don't know how the potaoes will turn out - we'll see!

Update: they were fine!

Simmering CHinese Chicken - (from the Online CookBook, by Dawn Wise)
1 (4 lb) chicken, cut apart (I used thighs and drums)
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. catsup
1/4 cup sherry, apple juice or orange juice
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, sliced
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Place the chicken in a 1 gallon freezer bag. In a bowl mix together the oil, water, soy sauce, sugar, catsup, sherry or juice, red peppers, garlic and onions.

Add the sauce to the chicken and seal the bag. Freeze.

To prepare, thaw the chicken overnight in the refrigerator. Place the chicken in a 3 qt. casserole and cover. Microwave on high for 5 minutes then, for 15 minutes on medium high.

Turn the chicken pieces and return to the microwave for 15 to 20 minutes on medium high. Remove the chicken to a platter.

Blend the cornstarch and the water and add to the remaining sauce. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until thick. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the chicken and serve the sauce on the side. Serve with hot cooked rice and steamed broccoli.

Note: This dish may be baked at 350°F for 1 hour, stirring once.

Kim's note: the marinade smelled INCREDIBLE when I made it, I think this one will be a winner.

Update: This was excellent! We decided that next time we make it we would debone the chicken and then throw it in. The marinade would be awesome in stir fries too. I cooked the chicken on a bed of uncooked rice in the oven and covered with foil for an hour. It was wonderful, the rice absorbed the sauce, which was too spicy for the kids but great for me and dh. Mmmmmmm

Teriyaki Chicken Wings - (also from the Online CookBook by Dawn Wise)
1 bag of frozen chicken wings (I did 12 wings from my chickens)
1 cup of soy sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. ginger

Divide chicken wings between 2 or 3 one-gallon bags. In a 4 cup measuring cup assemble remaining ingredients and stir.

Divide teriyaki sauce between the 2 or 3 bags of chicken wings, and Freeze.

To prepare chicken wings, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Place wings in a large baking pan along with teriyaki sauce.

Heat oven to 400° and bake for 30 minutes turning once. Serve with rice and steamed broccoli.

NOTE: I add the chicken wings from the chickens which I have cut up to this dish.

Homemade Shake and Bake - (from the Tightwad Gazette)
4 cups flour
4 cups ground crackers (I get a box of saltines at Aldi's for 39 cents) or cracker meal
4 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
3 tbsp paprika
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix well and store indefinitely in the refrigerator in a covered container (I use an old ice cream bucket or coffee can). You can change the spices according to what you like, ie. Italian seasonings, Cajun, Mexican, Asian, etc.

To cook: Dip meat in any liquid (egg, buttermilk, milk, salad dressing) then in the shake and bake. Put on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 for boneless chicken or fish strips, an hour for chicken pieces with bones (i.e., drums and thighs, as long as possible for bone-in breasts).

Update: The oven fried chicken strips froze very well. We cooked ours first and then froze so we could microwave them. They were not as crunchy, but still delicious. They could also be frozen without cooking and then baked after freezing.

Kim's Hot Wings
chicken wings
mild pepper sauce like red devil (not tabasco unless diluted!)

Put raw wings in bags, put a few tsp of pepper sauce in and freeze.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (?). This was an improvised recipe! Don't know how it will turn out, you may want to dilute the pepper sauce with ketchup or barbecue sauce.

Forbidden City Chicken - This one was given to me by my mom recently; I have never tried it but she says it is easy and delicious. It is from a cookbook featuring the best of Junior League cookbooks. Mom is a romance writer and has little time for making dinner, but is a great cook when she finds time, so if she says it is good, I know it is good! (Will let you know how it turns out!)
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 small broiler chickens, split (I use 2 whole boneless skinless breasts)
sesame seeds

Arrange chicken halves skin side up in one layer in a baking pan. In a bowl, mix together everything but the sesame seeds. Spread the mixture over the chicken and chill for one hour (I froze it at this point. Remember, if you are freezing this raw, you must use FRESH chicken, not frozen, defrosted chicken!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the chicken and bake uncovered for one hour until chicken is golden (I would say less time for chicken breasts, may have to cover loosely to avoid drying out. This sounds like it would be good grilled too!)

Update: We tried this and liked it very much, but the sauce is a bit strong if you let it marinate too long. You can reduce the sauce, dilute or freeze it separately and marinate for 5-10 minutes right before cooking.

FAJITAS - (also from the Online CookBook by Dawn Wise)
5 tbsp. oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 lb boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips or 1 lb flank steak, cut diagonally across the grain, into thin strips
1 large red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 onion, sliced thin or 1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

In a bowl, mix together 2 tbsp. oil, lime juice, cumin and cayenne. Add the meat and stir to coat. Place the meat with the marinade in a freezer bag.

Slice all the peppers, onions and mince the garlic and place in a large freezer bag. Freeze both bags.

To prepare, thaw the marinated meat and the vegetables.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil until very hot. Add the meat, with the marinade and stir-fry over high heat until the meat is cooked, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp. oil to the skillet and heat until very hot. Add the peppers, onion and garlic and stir-fry till tender crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return the meat to the skillet and heat through. Serve with warm tortillas and assorted extras.

Kim's note: I get a multicolored bell pepper 4 pack at Aldi for 1.19. I get several at a time, chop them and freeze each according to color, that way, I always have enough colorful peppers at a very cheap price!

Update: These were excellent! I will use a little less lime juice next time and less bell peppers.

Skewered Chicken: Here is another great recipe from my mom. I didn't have enough chicken to make this one, but it is so easy, it hardly seems worth the effort to fix ahead and freeze. This could be a "Quick and Easy" entree, when you want something fresh!
1 pound or more boneless skinless chicken breasts
soy sauce
bamboo/wooden skewers

Cut chicken into long strips and marinate for 15 minutes in soy sauce.

Put chicken strips on skewers, piercing in several places so they will stay on well (like sewing it on!)

Grill it! Great with grilled veggies and corn on the cob, or with an oriental style dinner, great for summertime!

Kim's Oven Fried Chicken Strips
Shake and Bake (homemade recipe above)
boneless skinless chicken, cut into strips

Soak cut up chicken in buttermilk for 15 minutes or longer (can be overnight if you like).

Dip each strip into shake and bake, coating well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Freeze on a cookie sheet, then put into Ziploc when frozen.

To serve, use directly from freezer. You can microwave these (not crispy but good) or reheat in an oven. Very convenient! Note: you can freeze these before cooking as long as you are using chicken that has not been frozen before.

Kim's Deep Fried Chicken Strips - This is not a low fat recipe! We do this one for special occasions. If you still want the taste and less fat (or want to stretch these farther), put them in a salad like the restaurants do! MMMM
1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into strips/pieces
1 cup of buttermilk
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tsp pepper
other seasonings of your choice
oil for deep frying

Soak chicken in buttermilk for 15 minutes or longer (use watered-down sour cream if you don't have buttermilk - just water down to buttermilk consistency).

Mix together flour, salt pepper and seasonings of your choice (I add red pepper for spicy ones)

Dip soaked chicken in flour mixture, coating well. (To freeze, put on cookie sheet and place in freezer. When frozen, put into Ziploc.)

Deep fry in hot oil until golden. The best chicken strips we've ever had, and the cheapest too! (messy though!)

Update: This recipe has become a favorite in our house. I now only do the fried chicken strips this way. It is far less messy and they come out great. The secret is to get the oil REALLY hot. We make extras for fried chicken salad, which is sliced up chicken strips on a bed of lettuces and tomatoes, topped with some insanity sauce (shown below). It's a lot like Steak and Shake's fried chicken salad.

Kim's Insanity Sauce - I serve this with my chicken strips. I also use it in place of mayo in chicken or tuna salad, and as a dip for chips or sauce for pitas and burritos.
1 cup of ranch dressing (we get the gallon size at Sam's)
one or two drops (yes, DROPS) of "Dave's Insanity Sauce," an explosively hot sauce (I found it at Kitchens store in the mall, the web site is called Dave's Gourmet)

Mix ingredients well. If the sauce is at all slightly pink, it will probably blow your mouth off! The pepper sauce is advertised as being "the hottest sauce in the world" and let me tell you, it is one of the hottest I've tried, but excellent if mixed with a lot of a "cooling" agent like sour cream, yogurt or ranch. I keep a container mixed up in the fridge at all times. It is truly wonderful and our friends love it too (we entertain a lot!)

By the way, my husband's name is Dave and I KNOW he is insane! We tease him a lot about the sauce!

Kim's ried chicken salad - I make this with leftovers of my homemade chicken strips. We eat those one night, cook extra and make the salads during the week, this is one of our favorites! Inspired by Steak and Shake, but now after a taste comparison, it is better!

Per person (big portions) you will need:
2-3 fried chicken strips
2 cups lettuce (use a combination,romaine and spinach are good, don't use iceberg, yuck!)
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
additional salad topping: shredded carrot, alfalfa sprouts, sliced onion, steamed veggies, whatever you like
insanity sauce for the dressing

Assemble by putting lettuces on plate, followed by tomatoes and optional other toppings. Top with cut up fried chicken strips (I cut them pretty small- bite size) and top with dressing. Yummy!

All Purpose Chicken & Broth (crockpot) from the Busy cooks website
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
1 large Chicken, 5 lbs or more
1/2 c chicken broth or water

Place sliced vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot. Sit cleaned chicken on top, neck up. If you wish you may season with herbs, pepper, etc, but this is not necessary. Pour broth over, cover and cook on low 8 or 9 hours.

Remove chicken from pot and let cool until easy to handle. Meanwhile, strain stock and defat. This stock is double strength, so mix with equal parts water for use. Remove chicken from bones and cut into pieces sized appropriately for your recipe.

Yield: about 4 - 6 cups of chicken and 3+ cups double strength chicken stock.

Notes: This is not really a main dish, but a painless way to obtain cooked chicken for salads, casseroles, etc. An added bonus is the several cups of double strength chicken broth. Juicy, tender, flavorful chicken and a very rich broth for very little of your time.

Kim's note: I have been using chicken backs for this recipe, seems fine. Why not get every penny out of those birds?!

Well, I hope I haven't bored you all to tears or scared you off! Happy cooking!

About the Author
Kim Tilley, a tightwad at heart, is a wife, a mother of three active boys and the founding editor of Frugal by force and later by choice, Kim cut her income by 60% to stay at home with her children and discovered that anyone can live better for less. Her work has appeared in print publications such as The Tightwad Gazette. In her free time, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something from nothing!
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