I'd like to share how I bless my family with whole chickens, priced at my Walmart for $1.54/pound. We usually choose the largest chicken. The higher price per pound compared to what else is available is due to the absence of hormones and steroids in this brand.
How to Prepare and Save:
1. In roasting pan, place whole chicken, rinsed or not depending on your preference. I disinfect the sink and handles right after rinsing and I don't use my dishcloth in the process. Sprinkle the top of the chicken with garlic pepper and lemon pepper. Add liver to roasting pan if desired, or discard with neck. Roast with veggies if desired.
2. Roast at 350 degrees until the provided thermometer pops up. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes before carving. In the summer we use the crockpot on low for 7 hours, or high for 4 hours. The oven being on for 2 hours helps heat the house, so I don't mind.
3. After filling your family with the chicken, pull off the remaining meat (husband does this) and refrigerate for tomorrow's chicken noodle soup. We separate white meat from dark meat, and my husband takes the dark meat for two lunches, and we use the white meat in strips for the chicken soup.
4. Place carcass and bones in a crockpot or stockpot, and fill with water one inch over the carcass, or there about. Place older carrots and celery in with it if desired, or just peppercorns. I usually don't add anything because I spice the broth later. Simmer until morning on the lowest setting. Boiling is not desired, but that's hard to avoid with our gas stove, and with some crockpots.
Turn off heat and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Skim off fat and refrigerate broth until ready to use (within 4 to 5 days to be safe). I use my largest pitcher to hold the broth, plus an old pickle jar for the extra. Refrigeration will allow you to skim off more fat later. If you need it right away, just use it as is. It will have significantly more fat grams, but if you're in a hurry...oh well.
5. Do not discard bones! Just drain broth and fill up your stockpot or crockpot with water again, and simmer the bones for another 12 hours. Follow procedure above for broth, and use within 5 days for another type of soup. We make navy bean soup, black bean soup, etc. I do not freeze the broth, but that's just my preference. Instead, I label it with the date and use within the appropriate time. Some sites say it is good for 5 - 7 days with a tight seal and as long as you plan to bring it to a full boil before use, but use your discretion on this.
5. Place broth in stockpot that night for dinner, along with:
~ 1 tsp. garlic powder
~ 1 1/2 T. salt
~ 1 tsp. pepper
~ 2 T onion powder
~ 2 celery stalks, chopped
~ 15 baby carrots, chopped, or 2 large carrots, chopped
6. When veggies are halfway soft, add in large bag of egg noodles and set the timer as instructed on the noodle bag.
7. When timer sounds, turn off heat and add in spoon-sized strips of chicken from last night's roasted chicken.
8. Enjoy with cornbread. Use this link for cornbread and you won't be sorry. Everyone who comes here for dinner raves about this honey cornbread recipe. I use white whole wheat flour in it, or regular whole wheat flour. The wheat marries with the honey and it's heavenly. I don't use the heavy cream, but just 1 cup 2 percent milk instead.
To recap the savings, consider this return on my $13 - $14 initial investment in the chicken:
~ 1 meal for whole family the first night
~ 2 lunches for my husband
~ 1 soup meal for the whole family the 2nd night
~ 1 lunch of homemade soup for the kids and Mommy
~ Full stockpot of broth for another type of soup
That's value! Enjoy and let me know how it goes.