This week was a lesson in efficiency and productivity. Sounds exciting right? Actually it was.

In the course of one week’s grocery hunt, I bought two whole chickens and set out to make the most of them. Whole chickens often are cheaper than the parts alone. And, with a little planning, you can make more than one meal out of them.

I asked the butcher to cut up the two chickens. That saved me time and probably a bandage or two. The leg quarters would be for supper with some fresh shiitake mushrooms I’d bought at the farmers market. The breasts went into the freezer for later. Then I made some stock and a little chicken salad with the wings and back pieces.

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Making stock sounds intimidating, but it's not. Put the chicken pieces in a stock pot and add just enough water to cover them. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and toss in the halves. Then add an onion cut into wedges and a couple cloves of garlic. Next comes seasoning — a bit of salt, black pepper, sage and celery seed.

Bring the pot to a simmer. For these small pieces, let it cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the meat reaches 165 F at its thickest part. After straining the broth, I removed what meat I could from the bones and made a small serving of chicken salad.

In just one afternoon in the kitchen I had used every bit of those chickens to make three dishes — and stocked up on stock. I don’t always succeed in the efficiency department when it comes to grocery shopping, so I consider this productive trip a big win.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.