How does your family create healthy and nutritious family meals on a budget?
Whether you are a working parent or a busy professional, making home cooked and healthy meals is a challenge. Here is one way we have found to efficiently turn one whole chicken into 3 meals or more for a family of 5.
Dust off your crockpot! This may be one of your most valuable tools as a busy professional or parent.
Day 1: Crockpot Paleo Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken
Costco has whole organic chickens that are perfect for this recipe series. But if you are too busy, often stores have rotisserie chickens already done, just look for an organic one. Here is the recipe:
Pull out your slowcooker.
Make 4 medium sized tinfoil balls (or 2 onions halved and placed flat side down), and place evenly in slowcooker to balance the chicken on.
Place your whole chicken (gizzards removed, but saved for bone broth) seasoned with sea salt and pepper (or create your own spice blend) breast down on top of foil or onion halves.
Place cover on slowcooker, and set to low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
When done, the chicken literally falls apart, so have your serving dish ready nearby to transfer to a plate.
Prepare steamed veggies and a green salad to go along with the chicken. Keep all the bones and juices from this meal to throw back into the crockpot for making the broth on Day 3. Keep any leftover chicken in a container for use in a meal tomorrow.
This recipe is modified from this recipe.
Chicken Bone Broth:
Remove the aluminum foil or halved onions leaving the juices behind. Put carcass back into crockpot with drippings, gizzards, skin and bones and cover with filtered water. You can add any other additional marrowbones or beef bones you have saved from prior meals too. Always best to use bones from organic, grass fed or free range.
Add 1 tbsp of organic apple cider vinegar (This is an important step! The vinegar helps leach calcium from the bones for them to be more readily absorbed by you in the soup!).
Cover and turn on crockpot to low for 24-48 hours. You will use this broth for soup on Day 3.
More on bone broth can be found here. I do not add vegetables because I usually add them when I make soup, but you can add onions, garlic or carrots for the last 12 hours. I find that cooking the vegetables for 48 hours give the broth a sour taste, but experiment away.
Day 2: Chicken salad for dinner or grab and go lunch (depending on how much chicken you have leftover)
Make a large bed of organic spinach, lettuce and veggies of your choice and place leftover chicken on top. Top with your favorite homemade vinaigrette or fresh squeezed lemon with a dash of olive oil.
Day 3: Chicken broth veggie soup
Strain the bone broth from crockpot to remove bones. Allow broth to cool so you can scoop off the extra fat on the top. Then throw back into a large pot with all your chopped veggies (carrots, onions, zucchini, celery, sweet potato, leeks, broccoli) and simmer until cooked. Season the soup to your liking with sea salt, pepper, basil, onion, or garlic. Again, get creative to your family’s taste. If you have leftovers, freeze for a cold day or when someone gets a cold or after a heavy work out or recovering from a sprained ankle.
Eat well. Move well. Sleep well. Thrive on.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.