Worth It Wednesday….Cheap Chicken

by Merissa on December 1, 2010

in Uncategorized

Chicken breast is expensive. In fact it's on my do-not-buy-because-we-can-not-afford list right now. Even on sale it still runs around 1.99 a pound which I think is expensive for chicken. So instead of buying chicken breast for meals I buy the "cheap chicken". Cheaper cuts like thighs, drumstick, and even whole chickens are much less expensive. My buying price for whole chickens is anything less than .79 a pound and I will usually buy other cuts of chicken for under .99 a pound. When I can find it for cheap I buy a bunch and just stick it right in the freezer when I get home.

Maybe I'm lazy but I don't like having to go through all the work of finding a way to cook the chicken and then cutting it up. So instead here's what I do:


I take the chicken out of the freezer. I thaw it just enough to be able to break it apart in a few pieces.


Then I stick it in the crockpot. I cover it all the way with water and turn the crockpot on high. I let it cook in the crockpot most of the day until the chicken isn't red on the inside anymore.


Then I remove the chicken from the crockpot. I take the skin off and give it as a treat to the kitties.(They love it!) Then using a fork I clean all the chicken off the bones.


Some of the chicken I put in a tupperware and stick in the fridge, or I use it for supper, or I stick it in a a freezer bag and save it for later.


But I take some of the meat and put it back in the crockpot in the chicken broth. I add a bag full of noodles.(Any kind of egg noodles or something similar will work) and let it cook for about another 10 minutes.


After the noodles are cooked we will either eat the soup for supper or I put it in freezer bags in individual serving sizes and stick them in the freezer for my lunches!

It's so easy because I can just stick it in the crockpot and not think about it all day, then I get at least 2 meals back out of the chicken. When you use chicken in this form it's juicy and fresh more so than if you would cook it in boiling water or in the oven. So you can buy the cheap chicken without feeling like you are missing out. Plus it's easy for a busy life!

For reference on how much this makes and costs....I made 6 bags of soup lunches, one supper with the chicken, and put away another bag of chicken for another supper all for about 4.50(chicken + noodles) That's not bad for 8 meals!

Do you buy "cheap chicken" or do you splurge for chicken breasts? Do you have a special way to cook it?

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11:15 pm

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Valerie December 2, 2010 at 4:27 am

I like to throw the 'cheap chicken' in the crockpot with some bbq sauce. Or sometimes a type of arroz con pollo with rice and goya seasoning (and water). I separate the chicken into single dinner servings before I freeze so I don't thaw too much.

But I do also splurge for the breasts, we all love to have cutlets – breaded, parmesan, or francaise a few times a month =)


2 Anonymous December 2, 2010 at 4:45 am

I agree chicken breast is very expensive. I like cooking chicken this way, it is not that much work. But i notice when i freeze cooked chicken it's not as good in salads, i can use it more for casseroles. do you think this is because I left it in the freezer too long?


3 Merissa December 2, 2010 at 4:50 am

Valerie: I forgot that we do splurge when chicken breasts go for 3.99 a bag at Family Thrift. But that's once in a blue moon….

Anon: It might be. Mine's never lasted long enough for me to test that theory:)


4 Valerie December 2, 2010 at 5:56 am

By itself, cooked chicken should be kept less than a month. However, if you keep it in a sauce or broth it will last longer. Maybe you can freeze it in the broth and just drain it when you want to use it.


5 katherine.greve December 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm

We buy farm-fresh whole chickens, so they're not all that cheap. We do make them stretch really far by making broth from the frame and freezing a lot of the meat to use in casseroles/pastas/soups the following few weeks. We also don't eat a lot of meat, so it works out okay. All in all we are still probably spending less than when I bought the chicken breasts from the store because it stretches to so many more meals. One chicken is enough for dinner the night we cook it, then thaw for BBQ chicken pizza, 2 casseroles, chicken fried rice, and chicken noodle soup.


6 Patty March 8, 2011 at 8:53 pm


I am new to your blog and have been looking around. When I came upon this post about chicken and the noodles you use it made me wonder if you have ever tried making homemade noodles. They are very easy and so inexpensive. Here is my recipe:

1 cup flour
1 egg
A sprinkle of salt

Begin by adding salt to your flour. Make a well and add egg and a little bit of milk. Mix well with a fork; adding milk as needed to form a soft dough ball. Roll thin on a floured surface and cut into strips. Add to boiling broth and cook about 5 to 10 minutes.

I have been making homemade noodles for more than 20 years. Once you begin making your own noodles you will no longer want store noodles.


7 mxgal March 26, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Patty, thanks for the noodle recipe. I will try it.

Anon: i agree with Valerie. i keep all cooked chicken in a broth or sauce to protect the texture.

Merissa: I tried this idea of cooking the whole chicken & found I didn’t like searching for all those little chicken bones, so here’s what i do. I only buy chicken breast with ribs attached when they go on sale at $0.99 / lb. I buy 1-2 family packs. i then spend a little time to cut off the breasts from the ribs before freezing in freezer paper followed by ziplock freezer bags. the freezer paper allows me to ward off freezer burn and have a surface to write on — to mark the contents. i freeze in qtys to equal one meal, so nothing will spoil. If I need shredded chicken, I cook on the stovetop in a small amount of water – about 1/4 cup. First boil water, then drop in chicken, cook covered for 18 minutes, then shred or chop for use in casseroles. Yes your version is cheaper, but i like to butcher the bones so they all come off in a quick slab, vs. picking them out one by one. since i work, this tip really saves me time. I did save my bones today so i can make chicken stock tomorrow in the crockpot, so i may just make soup after straining the bones. thanks for the tips!


8 Susan Mudd November 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I love your site and am fairly new to it. I keep finding so many interesting things. We recently had to butcher our hens as they were not laying much. We did try to keep the ones that seemed to still be laying. After we butchered, we canned the meat. It was time consuming, as all canning can be, but it was not difficult. The canne chicken is great for casseroles and other baked dishes. We have also warmed it in a skillet and then put BBQ sauce on it. It is tender and does not taste old. I also had a lot of broth left over that we also canned.


9 Merissa November 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I plan on canning some chicken this year. Really looking forward to easy meals!


10 Beth March 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm

We’ve been getting 3 meals plus broth from each chicken lately. They were our first home-grown chickens and they were either smoked or baked. I like your crockpot method – it’s been a while since I’ve made chicken that way.

If you have an Albertson near you they usually have a sale of 2 for 1 Sanders chicken products (each month as far as I can tell).


11 Debra August 28, 2013 at 7:41 am

I just tried frozen chicken thighs in a crock pot. I put in 8 thighs (.99cents per lb.). After about 6 hours, took them out, cooled, stripped off meat, put bones back in pot, cooked another hour. Had enough chicken meat to make 14 burritos (mixed with fresh tomatoes and cheese) which I put in the freezer. I poured the stuff in the cookpot through a collander into a bowl. I then put the broth in the freezer for future soup. I plan on doing it again next week! Thanks for the great (easy) idea.


12 Jan October 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your page. It’s nice to know there are others out there that use “cheap chicken” and are also too lazy to thaw their meat! I like to buy the random chicken packs. There are basically 2 big breasts, thighs, legs, Who knows what else but for 5$ I get at least 4 meals out of it for a family of 5. I splurge sometimes when cutlets are on sale but it’s only when I’m in the mood for a special meal. I also use the chicken to make a simple chicken pot pie which is made with 2 cans of cream of chicken, bag of frozen veggies and can of biscuits. SO easy!
After reading the comments, I will make your soup and perhaps try to make my own noodles. Thanks for all the info and as I said I’m thrilled to know I’m not alone!


13 Merissa October 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Welcome Jan!


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