Would you like to buy organic chicken but almost die from sticker shock when you see the price? This is my “more for your money” method. It’s true – this does take some upfront time. I generally dislike things that are total wastes of my life, but I’ve been doing this for months (that’s gotta count for something, right?).
I’m not going to get into the organic vs. regular issue because I haven’t done my research enough to have a firm stand. I HAVE watched Food Inc, and it impressed upon me that as much as is possible I should be eating organic, local produce and organic or grass-fed meat. The thing is, I really love bananas. Last time I checked, bananas don’t grow in Pennsylvania. Basically, you’ve got to do what works best for your family. Since having baby girl I’ve decided to feed her organic chicken exclusively. This is my method for doing so – a little work beforehand gives me at least two weeks of dinner options that are ready in 60 seconds.
So, as it goes with most food, the less packaging the less it costs (hence buying from the bulk bins is cheaper). Don’t pay someone to de-breast a chicken and package it up nice for you – buy the whole dang chicken. You can buy the whole organic chicken for the same price as 2 organic chicken breasts (but of course you get the thighs, backs and wings as well).
While at first I just used this method for my daughter’s dinners, I’ve since started using them for ours as well. I toss these into pastas, veggie stir-frys, stuffed peppers, etc. Are you a soup or salad kind of person? These are PERFECT to add organic protein.
Organic Chicken – Cheaper and Easier
Special Equipment: Roasting pan and rack, muffin tin. If you don’t have a roasting pan and rack, read here for a great substitute!
1 Whole Organic Chicken
Olive oil, salt and pepper
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Take out “innards” from cavity – usually wrapped in a bag – and discard.
Seriously, how gross is this picture?
3. Rub chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you are just taking the meat from inside and discarding the skin, you can technically skip this step. If you want to gobble up some tasty bites when you’re tearing it up, definitely do this step.
4. Spray roasting rack with nonstick spray and set chicken on it. Place in oven.
5. Immediately reduce oven heat to 350. Bake for about 1 hour and 25 minutes (20 minutes per lb of chicken) or until a meat thermometer registers 180 degrees.
6. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Using your hands, remove as much meat from the chicken as is possible. Chop larger pieces down to bite size chunks.
7. Take a muffin tin and place about 1 tbsp. water in the bottom of each hole. Divide meat between 12 holes, pressing down lightly.
8. Place muffin tin in freezer for 1 hour.
9. Remove meat from muffin tin (run water over the back of the tin) and place in a ziplock bag. Place bag in freezer.
10. When ready to use, place meat in a glass bowl and microwave 40 seconds. Turn clump over and microwave again for 20 seconds.
Meat will be good for 6 months.