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Stretch a whole chicken with these recipes

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Knowing how to make chicken stretch is a great way to get a little more from your food budget. I love working to reduce food waste, save money on food shopping, meal plan and also enjoy the feeling that comes from being organised and knowing that we’re getting the most for our money.

Never has it been more important to stretch out money than now! The cost of living is rising at a scary rate, and while we’re doing ok, I want to ensure that we’re getting the most from our money.

Supermarket reduction time is one of my favourite times to purchase a whole chicken. During seasonal times, such as Easter, Christmas and in the colder weather, there are often whole chickens reduced by 50% – 75%. Amazing! When I see one I will buy it and pop it in the freezer to use when I’ve got a little more time.

These are some of my favourite meals to make from one chicken, and just a selection of ideas to help you make something different with your roast chicken leftovers.

A whole chicken that has been roasted and has a herb dressing and two bay leaves on it which are coated in olive oil

I love making multiple meals from one chicken!

For me I feel that when you want to enjoy a frugal whole chicken it should last at least 3 meals for our family of 4.

We’ve got two daughters, neither of whom are eating a large quantity of meat, so you may want to cut this down a little if you’re feeding older children or people with bigger appetites.

First of all we will always enjoy a delicious roast dinner! I love to make a slow cooker whole chicken, because it is so simple.

I use the leftover juices to make a chicken version of my beef gravy.

Lots of trimmings are served alongside our roast dinner including air fryer roast potatoes (or air fryer frozen roast potatoes), air fryer parsnips, air fryer baby carrots, air fryer carrots and parsnips, air fryer stuffing balls and air fryer frozen Yorkshire puddings.

I love my Russell Hobbs slow cooker! It's great for saving money & cooking delicious meals. #slowcooker #frugaleats #recipes #easydinners #cheapeats #roastchicken

After we have enjoyed a delicious family roast chicken meal I’ll set about using the rest of the roast chicken to stretch as far as possible.

One of my favourite budget stretching chicken recipes has to be an easy chicken pie. You can pack it full with delicious vegetables and if you make my shortcrust pastry it is SUPER cheap too!

You don’t need a lot of chicken breast and pie is great served with air fryer mashed potatoes or air fryer wedges and lots of vegetables on the side too.

Step by step cooking of the slow cooker chicken and prawn paella

Save even more money!

If you’re on a super low budget then my slow cooker chicken and mushroom pie is a great way to make another meal using a tinned mushrooms.

Another tasty pie recipe that is great for using a little chicken, and a lot of healthy veggies is my chicken and spinach filo pie.

You can use frozen filo pastry and will only need a few sheets too. Pies are a really tasty way to use up some of the thigh meat, as is a slow cooker chicken curry.

A white bowl of root vegetable mash with a brushed steel spoon, a pat of butter on the top and a pink waffle tea towel in the background.

Fancy something a little different?

We love to make fajitas as another great option to use up a minimal amount of chicken, and lots of vegetables, but still have a hearty meal.

Often we have had the fajita mix on homemade pizzas for lunch or in homemade tortilla wraps or on top of air fryer tortilla chips.

Air fryer chicken fajitas are super simple to make and I love to use the leftovers for chicken fajita pasta. Making air fryer chicken recipes is one of my favourite ways to use up any leftover chicken breast as it is so fast. These air fryer chicken tenders are delicious too.

Another great way to use up little bits of chicken is for air fryer breaded chicken breast, air fryer jerk chicken or air fryer Nando’s chicken. You can use any cut really, even smaller bits of chicken, which is great if you’ve got some leftover chicken.

I also on occasion cook air fryer cajun chicken, and turn this into cajun chicken pasta, and air fryer peri peri chicken which I turn into peri peri chicken pasta or air fryer BBQ chicken breasts. All of these are really simple to make with leftovers from an air fryer whole chicken too, and great for hearty warm lunches.

Air fryer potato recipes - air fryer cheese fries, air fryer diced potatoes, air fryer hasselback potatoes, air fryer frozen potato wedges, air fryer loaded fries and air fryer baked potatoes

What about a homemade Chinese night?

I find that Chinese style Fakeaway dishes are a great way to use up leftover chicken. Chicken stock is delicious as part of a chicken noodle soup and small amounts of chicken are perfect for chicken fried rice, in chicken chow mien or even for battered sweet and sour chicken Peking style! Salt and pepper chicken is always a winner in our home!

The best part about recreating your favourite Chinese dishes at home is not only is it faster, and a little healthier, than the takeaway, but the meals can be bulked out with rice, noodles and vegetables.

Ingredients, cooked filling and finished slow cooker chicken nachos dish with text overlay that says super easy and delicious slow cooker chicken nachos

Some of my other recipes to use up a whole chicken:

Slow cooker chicken tikka masala, slow cooker whole chicken, chicken pie and slow cooker chicken & prawn paella recipes

I also love to make air fryer chicken nachos too!

I hope you’ve found this interesting maybe you’ll enjoy watching my Instagram stories where I share lots of meals!

If you enjoyed this post I’d love it if you could pin it on Pinterest!

Roast chicken with sage leaves and text overlay that says what to do with roast chicken leftovers

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Tuesday 16th of January 2018

Yeah probably not plausible with hungry teens. Maybe if you cooked a turkey? Haha x


Tuesday 16th of January 2018

Thank you! x


Tuesday 16th of January 2018

Six people from one chicken is a great result I think! x

Emily Leary

Monday 15th of January 2018

Great tips to make a chicken stretch further - and I love that name. So memorable!


Tuesday 16th of January 2018

Thanks so much! x


Sunday 14th of January 2018

I’d never heard of a rubber roast dinner before so this was very interesting to read. Great to know you can get that many meals out of them!


Tuesday 16th of January 2018

You can stretch it pretty far with a bit of effort and preparation!

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