Rubber Chicken – just how far can you make a £4.99 chicken streeeetch – 28 portions?

Mar 25, 2014 | 10 comments


Rubber Chicken – just how far can you make a £4.99 chicken streeeetch – 28 portions?

a rubber chicken for cheap family recipes

How to use a whole chicken for multiple meals

I mentioned recently that Allegra had inspired me to do a rubber chicken series. I expect most families who need to stretch the pennies have favourite rubber chicken methods and favourite ways to stretch minced beef.

There is just me and Mike to feed here, so most of my ideas will be for two people. We had it roasted last night, with some stuffing to pad it out, and in the interests of research I have bought some value stuffing.

Where to buy whole chicken

All supermarkets sell whole chickens. Buying a whole chicken and jointing it yourself is cheaper than buying ready jointed chicken pieces. The chicken I used for this series is one I bought at Aldi and it was a 1.5kg free range one, costing £4.99.

Ways to use a whole chicken

I mixed up the stuffing, which the instructions said needed 250ml of water. So I used the liquid from one of the tins of organic green beans that I got from Approved Food for extra flavour. I used half of a tin of beans at lunchtime that I’ll tell you about later. I also opened the oven and poured out a couple of tablespoons of the juice from the chicken pan and added that to the stuffing mix as well, for yet more added flavour. Then put the stuffing in tiny little piles on a baking sheet. They came out as lovely, crispy outsided little morsels.

When the chicken was cooked, I drained all the juice off before resting it. To the juice, I added a splash of wine, some mustard, a little flour, some bay leaves, a tsp red currant jelly, salt and pepper. Then simmered on the hob, whisking all the while until thickened. This makes a glorious gravy. I use all the juice and all the fat from a roast chicken. Each portion of dinner last night had a little gravy, and the rest will be used as added flavouring when making the other recipes using this chicken.

Once the chicken had cooled, I picked all the remaining meat off and weighed it. It came to 445g. There is just over half the stuffing left and I will use that in something or other.

I meant to take a picture of the meals this evening, but forgot until they had been eaten!

Cheap chicken recipes

Adjusting the recipes to accommodate 445g chicken, I think I’ll be able to stretch it to do the following:-

Roast chicken, with stuffing, 2 portions
Jacket potato using 60g meat in mustardy white sauce, with onion, 2 portions
Risotto, 90g chicken, onion, some of the stock, some of the gravy, lemon juice, peas, or maybe leek from the garden, 2 portions
Pizza, 60g chicken, roast onion and carrot, tomato sauce, maybe some stuffing, 4 portions
Pasta, white sauce, 60g chicken, peas or AP green beans, onion, maybe some stuffing, 2 portions
Tart, 70g chicken, peas, carrots, onions, couple of eggs, no cheese, maybe some stuffing, 4 portions
Pie, 100g chicken, some of the gravy, onion, maybe some sweetcorn or mushrooms, maybe some stuffing, 4 portions
Fritters using the tiny bits of chicken scavanged from the simmered stock carcass, onion, cabbage, maybe some stuffing, 2 portions
make stock with the skin and bones etc, make soup with the stock, 6 portions

this comes out at a total of 28 portions, which I think is pretty good!

I’ll probably do the pizza for today

Edit:- I forgot to add the weight of the chicken scavenged from the simmered carcass. This was 100g, so the yield was actually 545g, plus the amount eaten as the roast chicken dinner. I’m not going to adjust all the prices for each recipe, too  tedious

What do you think? Can it be stretched further than that? What other ways would you use? Have you got a favourite way?

28 portions from 1 medium chicken



  1. Lesley

    Nicola – that sounds very good indeed, I’ll def be trying those!

  2. Nicola

    I use some shredded cooked chicken in a quesadilla. 2 tortillas with some homemade taco sauce (or ketchup) with some grated cheese and the shredded chicken. Dry fry in trying pan until tortillas are crispy and cheese melted (frozen grated bits of leftover cheese work well)

  3. Lesley

    That would be nice wouldn’t it, maybe one day!

  4. New England Flybaby

    Wow. You are SO creative; I wish I could be a member of your U3A group & meet with you regularly. Bit too far to commute, though…

  5. Lesley

    That sounds very yummy, lots of good flavour in there

  6. Helen

    Hi Lesley, heard you on the radio today and have gone straight to your site. Love some of the recipes – chickpeas are favourites in our house too.
    Chicken curry with left over from roast – using any tiny bits of chicken, stock from the bones, onions, celery, curry spices, and pad with chickpeas, parsnips, new potato and add any leftover veg from roast at the end. Even if you don’t have chicken meat left over, the stock and veg makes a really tasty curry.

  7. Lesley

    Do you have any favourite recipes for those you could share? They sound good

  8. Shell

    It’s really obvious, but you don’t need much chicken to make a chicken fruity curry as it’s mostly about the sauce for me anyway, I also like chicken in a honey and mustard sauce, with carrots and peas like a chicken tonight, with pasta or rice.

  9. Lesley

    love the sandwich filling/toast topper idea

    leftovers get renamed in our house to some other recipe – it was meant to be like that!

  10. Angela Almond

    I make the stock in my slow cooker. After the meal, when chicken is cooled, one of us will strip off as much meat as possible, then the stock gets made overnight.
    I’ve used all your excellent suggestions in the past. Here’s another couple of ideas .. [1] .I sometimes blitz the tiny leftovers with a blob of mayo to make a sandwich filling or toast topper [2] a Fridge Scrape Casserole, using all leftover veg from fridge, plus any remaining chicken bits – usually padded out with carbs in the form of dumplings or cobbler topping. If there is any casserole left, that either goes with a jacket spud for a light lunch, or gets diluted with more stock, and blitzed for a chicken&veg broth.
    If there’s not quite enough meat left for a 2-person meal, I sometimes stretch it with a spare rasher of bacon, or slice of chorizo.[Aldi do a good, inexpensive one]

    My kids had so many ‘leftovers’ meals as they grew up, I dont think they could remember what the original meal was!

    blessings xx

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