One Chicken, Ate Thrice: The Art of Batching

As much as I love bustling away in my kitchen, I think the REAL love is the final feast that brings the tribe together, to the table, excited and hungry.

Which is why I wanted to share something that isn't hours of food prep to consume your evening or rest-time on weekends. More importantly, I have an easy, efficient, economical and feel good solution to cooking once (almost) and eating many times more.  

This medley of chicken dishes is from one whole chicken, and the conceptual workflow is the product of something I've been imagining for sometime.

Roast chicken and veg is simple, cheap and somewhat forgiving meal that can literally be turned inside out to produce multiple rich and super nutritious meals from the by-product of leftover chewed on wings, carcass and jelly from a chicken roast.

I’m about to step you through how to feed at least 4 grown ups (with leftovers), that flow into a gut nourishing bone broth, followed by a healing chicken and veg soup.

STEP #1 HUSTLE UP A JUICY CHICKEN ROAST

Chicken Roast with Herbs

Chicken roasts are an one of the easiest feasts to whip up when you can't be bothered to reaally...cook. And, I find, producing mid week roasts does wonders to your goddess in the kitchen ego (I’m talkin’ bout pulling out crackling, golden mounds from the oven with your charred mittens).

Does a roast seem like too much effort? Or more of a Sunday when-you-have-more-time meal?

Here’s how I make it effortless.

I pick up a whole or butterflied chicken from the meat man at Bondi Farmers Market about every second weekend. Mid-week, even on my busiest evenings, is the best time to get my roast on, as it takes just 15 mins to prepare. The chicken roast is my set and forget solution before I start a 6pm coaching call. Dinner’s ready and smelling delicious as soon as I’m done (around an hour in the oven).

The flow begins:

  1. Place whole chicken in large oven tray. With a paper towel, pat skin down to dry.

  2. Shove whole garlic cloves, lemon wedges (#1 tip to ensure deliciously, juicy meat!), and thyme or herbs alike inside the chicken cavity.

  3. Roughly chop red onion, sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, whole garlic and any other root veg and scatter around the chicken.

  4. Finally, squeeze the juice out of a few chunky lemon wedges over the chicken (yep, more lemon juice!), followed by a few splashes of olive oil, salt, pepper and dried herbs, roughly massaging over chicken and veggies to achieve even seasoning and juicy flavour!

Chicken Roast

Pin to your fridge to inspire this flow

One Chicken Cooked Thrice Cookflow

STEP #2 MAKE CHICKEN BROTH

Making bone broth is simple, cheap and packed with mountains of nutrients from the skin and bones, vegetables and herbs extracted through the slow cooking process.  

I’m taking you through the minimal ingredient, set and forget style (of 15 hours!) of preparation that doesn’t miss a flavour beat.

Broth

How to introduce bone broth

I love to pull out this wobbly, gelatinous mess from the fridge, heat and pour into a mug and sip when I get home while preparing dinner. Alternatively, you can sip on in the afternoon for a heartier cuppa than herbal tea.

A stockpile of broth is a multi-functional ingredient for the fridge and freezer. It packs out casseroles, bolognese, pasta or any other dish that needs liquid (tomato or creamy bases).

TOP TIP: Make sure you save all the bones, wings and carcass pieces from your chicken roast remains. You will need these for your broth, which you can put straight into the slow cooker as part of the dinner clean up process :)

Vegetable Preparation

Health Space, my practice clinic, serves hot broth all year round. I’ve snagged their 5 ingredient recipe to share with you (adapting slightly to use your chicken bones #nowaste):

HEALTH SPACE CHICKEN BONE BROTH

Ingredients

1 chicken carcasses (from your roast)

1/2 onion

1/2 bulb garlic, casing peeled

1 carrot

1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method

  1. Roughly chop onion, carrot and garlic put in slow cooker

  2. Add chicken carcass, wings, chicken jelly etc

  3. Fill up slow cooker insert with filtered water

  4. Add apple cider vinegar

  5. Turn on low heat for 12-15 hours

  6. Strain veg and chicken bones with a sieve into large bowl (throw away). Cover and allow to cool then place bowl in fridge to cool completely. Remove from fridge, crack the fat layer on top and throw this away (or you can use for frying instead of oil or butter)

  7. Pour the cooled broth into a litre glass jars


Pin to your fridge to inspire this flow

One Chicken, Cooked Thrice Cookflow

STEP #3 MAKE SOUP

I love this point in the workflow when most of the work is done. I usually reach this point during the back end of the week, when the fridge is looking sparse and needs a tidy up.

Soup, another forgiving meal, allows you to exercise some creativity with leftovers (although soup staples help a lot!).

Soup basics include:

  • Broth (of course)

  • Garlic, onion and leftover veg (leftover from your roast is perfect)

  • Fresh herbs (I love coriander and chilli to top my soup with freshness)

Soup can be as simple as heating broth over a pan, adding leftover pre cooked veggies then whizzing all together with a stick blender for a more creamy base like this Simple Carrot Soup. Here’s your chance to get rid of those final leftover pieces from the roast the other night!

Add rice noodles or anything else you feel will compliment what’s leftover from the fridge. Your broth is the ultimate meal-morphing ingredient enabling you to make dishes like my Ginger Chicken Congee with Asian Greens.

Ginger Chicken Congee with Asian Greens

THE COOK ONCE EAT THRICE MANTRA

The cook once, eat many times mantra could seem like a vague prescription for cooking but it can be as practical as filling your oven FULL of veggies.

I also work on a build-on-what-you-have-in-the-fridge philosophy. I use my time in the kitchen, even when it is limited, to connect and feel what my body needs, adapting to factors of time, seasonality, and energy levels:

For something fresh and crisp: Toss leafy greens with leftovers, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and some fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts) for a light and vibrant meal.

For a heartier, more grounding meal: simmer pre-cooked veg and leftover meat with broth and tomatoes in a pan to make a casserole.

Meal prep gives me a creative outlet and feels great when I’m able to pack away extras to forge a whole new dish next meal time. For more inspiration, read my post on How To Meal Plan Like a Pro

FITTING IT ALL IN

If you get as far as the broth and don’t get to make another dish, then you’ve done well. I find once you take the first step of tossing veg and chicken into the oven, the rest just flows easily enough. If I can just get started turning the raw chicken into a feast then the rest of the work just flows and falls into one another.

The workflow becomes easier with practice.

Pin to the fridge to inspire this flow

One Chicken, Cooked Thrice Cookflow

Want more tips like this one? My Real Food Guide gives you ingredients lists to inspire you to stock new ingredients and play with some of my tried and true cooking workflows to make your kitchen space a happy one.