Saturday, 15 February 2014

Feeding the 5,000 with Three Chicken Breasts

OK, so I may be exaggerating a bit there, I don't think even I could stretch a few chicken breasts far enough to feed thousands, but I did feed two hungry adults an evening meal for four days with them so that's almost as good in my book.

I'm quite a fan of the bags of frozen Smart Price/Value/M savers chicken breasts (I chop and change my supermarket depending on which is most convenient at the time). You get 1kg for £4, give or take a penny or two and they cook really nicely.

Of course I'd rather buy a free range chicken, but I can't afford that and if the truth be known my husband cannot be trusted around chicken. He loves it. Cook a whole one and he'd devour it as soon as my back was turned, picking cold chicken off the bone until there was nothing left. So these frozen chicken breasts are ideal as I can just defrost as much as I need and there's nothing for naughty little big fingers to pinch later.

Last weekend I was starting to panic a little over food, or the lack of it. Hubby had been ill and I hadn't been able to get to do the shopping, which meant I'd ended up having to buy bits and bobs to see us through at the co-op or Spar and my pennies simply don't go as far there as they do at somewhere like Asda or Morrisons. That's when I discovered I still had three chicken breasts in the freezer that I didn't know about. (I should probably point out that my tired, old freezer makes so much ice that the polar ice caps aren't really in any danger, I can ship out replacements anytime. This means often a drawer ices up to the point it's impossible to open without hacking at it like a thing possessed so whatever is lurking in said drawer gets forgotten about for a while).

The sudden discovery of chicken was a delight, and enabled us to have a roast dinner last Sunday for the first time since Christmas. The thing with these frozen chicken breasts is it's pretty hit and miss what size they are. Sometimes the bag is full of several rather small breasts, other times you may only get four but they are so big I'm left wondering if they've actually come from an ostrich rather than a chicken. Most of the time its a mix, so I had one large, one medium and one tiny breast in my cooking arsenal.

I trimmed the medium sized breast so I had two small ones to cook for our Sunday dinner, and saved the trimmings and large breast in the fridge. The portions may have been a bit on the small side, but most of us eat too much meat anyway and by the time I'd made a mountain of roast potatoes (some taken out early to freeze), stuffing balls, roasted onions, and plenty of veg we certainly didn't notice that the meat portion was a little mean (Roast spuds are the best bit anyway).

I had made a sponge pudding too, but we were much too stuffed to even attempt that!

The next day I diced the remaining chicken and put it in the slow cooker with plenty of sliced onions, and whatever veg I'd got going over in the cupboard or fridge (several carots, a tomato, a few mushrooms and half a red pepper) along with a 36p chicken casserole mix. I'm not a big fan of mashed potato but hubby loves it and would eat it until it was coming out of his ears, so I served some of the chicken and most of the veg with a mountain of mash.

Another very filling meal. Two down, two to go.

So what to do now? I've got chicken in gravy. Add a couple of spoonful's of frozen peas and a can of sweetcorn and serve with home made potato wedges. Delicious.

Hmmm, not much left now, but there is still quite a bit of gravy, a few pieces of chicken and a little bit of veg. Soup it is then. I added chicken stock, more onion, a clove of garlic and the remains of  a bag of frozen veg that neither of us liked very much, salt and pepper to taste, and blitzed in the blender. I have to say it wasn't the most attractive colour, BUT served with home made soda bread it was very tasty and extremely filling.

So there you have it. Eight servings from three chicken breasts. And despite using just chicken, veg and potatoes for the most part, not boring at all. Each meal was very different from the last. Not bad going if I say so myself!


  1. Well don on stretching the chicken so far. I' determined not to buy any meat this month so I'm ekeing out what's in the freezer.

  2. Excellent use of your chicken and everything sounds delicious. I have 2 large chicken breasts defrostingfor tomorrow to make curry hopefully with some frozen peppers onions and mushrooms it will stretch to feed us on monday too. I also have a few bahjis found in the depths of the freezer to use up, sound like a banquet already!

    You sound very cheerful in your post tonight, I hope things are working out for you now. Take care xx

  3. Well done. I think I'm not bad at stretching food but you are brilliant at it and I do think that with plenty of veg you dont need much meat. Anne

  4. Brilliant. Hope Hubby is feeling better now. We've been trying to use up the meat we have in the freezer since Christmas and I keep finding things I didn't know we have. Had to be inventive at times as we had no money due to having to help my son in an emergency but it's amazing where the ideas come from at times.

  5. I buy the frozen chicken breasts too as it costs so much more to buy them fresh. I have never been able to eek them out to make 3 breasts do 3 different dinners so well done for that.