Don’t be afraid to use all of your chicken. When I say “all”, I mean ALL! I went all out today and tried to find as many uses as possible for my chicken purchases today.

I purchased seven whole chickens for $.49/lb. That’s a lot of chicken! And a great deal too. But I didn’t want to waste the chicken or freezer space. I knew the best thing I could do would be to cut it all up into quarters, then package it all for freezing.

Cutting up a whole chicken is not one of the skills my mother taught me so I fired up Google and found a great video demo. It’s not exactly as easy as this guy makes it look, but pretty close. I happened to have a pair of poultry shears (don’t ask) so I was set and ready to go.

After cutting up the chicken, I put all the white meat into freezer bags and all the dark meat into freezer bags. I’ll use the dark meat for home made chicken and noodles because it has a stronger, richer flavor. I’ll probably save the white meat for my daughter’s birthday and have a cook-out.

stockAll that was left over was the back and neck. I started a deep pot of water and turned the heat to med-high. Added onions cut in half, a little salt and then tossed in the carcasses. I let this simmer for a few hours to make stock. Most stocks are made using various root vegetables – carrots, fennel, celery, onions, garlic, etc. I only had onions. But feel free to get creative and use whatever you have on hand. I tossed some Craisins into the last batch I made!

When you feel like your stock is done – in this case when the backs were falling apart – turn off the heat and let it cool. I let mine cool for a few hours, then use a skimmer to pull out all the floating bits. Because it’s cooler, the idea is that the pieces I’m pulling out will also catch some of the solidified fat. Skim off as much fat as you want, then throw it in the freezer for soups or rice base in the future.

I also roasted a few of the backs before using them to make a stock. Using raw bones creates a “white” stock. Using baked bones creates a “brown” stock. Are the flavors different? Supposedly. My palate isn’t sensitive enough to tell the difference.

So I’ve used just about all of the chickens…. except…. the livers. Ew. Go ahead, you can say it. How the heck did she use the livers??

chicken liverI called up my brother and asked him if he needed some fishing bait! I stuffed those chicken livers into some small containers and tossed them in the freezer for the next time I see him. We used to use chicken livers as catfish bait all the time when I was a kid on my grandparent’s farm.

And yes, I’m showing you a photo of chicken livers!

Don’t fear the chicken. You can use it so many ways!