Planning Chicken Dishes
A couple years ago I did a post on cutting a whole chicken into pieces. This can save money and take very little time and effort. And, if you go to a butcher or a good grocery store for meat, often they will do this for you at no additional charge.
But, what if you only want the breast meat? What if you are only making chicken wings? Buying chicken wings on their own can get pricey, as well as buying only chicken breasts, or only chicken thighs. This is where a little planning, and you freezer come in handy. Here’s an example of how I recently made this tiny dilemma into a perfect chicken plan.
A few weeks ago we had friends over for chicken tacos. Often for chicken tacos we like using the breast meat. Cut it into bite sized cubes, marinate the cubes, then grill or sauté them. We knew 4 chicken breasts would be a good amount, and ensure a bit of leftovers for the next day. We bought 2 whole chickens and cut each into 8 pieces. We used the 4 breasts for tacos.
The next night for dinner we used the 4 legs and 4 thighs for stewed chicken with olives and pine nuts. Legs and thighs work really well for this dish. You could also freeze the legs and thighs in a freezer bag and use them within the next few months for a stewed chicken dish. Just defrost them in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours before using.
We froze the wings and made sweet and smoky chicken wings a couple weeks later. You could also save the wings along with the chicken backs to make stock.
If you know you are going to make chicken wings I recommend cutting the wings into the correct pieces before freezing. This makes preparing the chicken wings later a breeze, and allows you to store the tips for stock. When you cut the chicken into 8 pieces – 2 breasts, 2 legs, 2 thighs, and 2 wings take the wings a bit further. Cut the tips off the wings and freeze them with the chicken backs for stock. Remove any excess skin from the back and wing tips before freezing. Now, cut each chicken wing into two pieces at the joint. Freeze the chicken wing pieces if you are not planning to make the chicken wings in the next day or two. Often we collect the wings over a few months to get a good amount for a whole meal or party.