Recently, we learned that eMeals Paleo Plan writer Scott Jones has one heck of a kitchen tip. Time-saving, budget-friendly and a cook’s secret weapon? We had to know! Fortunately Scott was happy to share. Read on for Scott’s favorite way to squeeze every drop out of rotisserie chickens, and a sprinkling of our other staff tips too.
“The Best $4.99 I Spend Each Week”
I’m a longtime Costco devotee, and one of the primary reasons is their unbeatable rotisserie chickens. It has to be the best $4.99 I spend each week. Here’s why: Not only are the hefty birds juicy every time, they also provide enough meat for several meals during the week for my family of four.
To start with, the “drippings” in the bottom of the plastic container yield about 1/4 cup of the most flavorful chicken broth (though broth isn’t really the best description—it’s really more like what the French call “demi-glace,” which an intensely flavored, jelly-like base that fancy restaurants use to power-up recipes). The easiest way to capture this goodness is to pour the drippings in a small bowl, then refrigerate to allow the fat to solidify on top. Just scrape off that top layer of fat and you’re ready to go.
I use a tablespoon or two to finish everything from pasta dishes and pan sauces to soups and stews. It’s really an amazing little tool to keep in the refrigerator.
Picking off the meat while the bird is warm is key to maximizing yield. It’s tough to remove all the meat when the bird has cooled (or worse, chilled).
At this point, most folks would simply chuck the carcass and bones in the trash. Not me. I put everything in a small stockpot, then cover with water. I simmer the bones, salt and pepper for a couple of hours to extract every last ounce of flavor. I strain the stock and, as with the drippings, chill overnight, which allows me to then remove any fat.
What’s left is about 3 cups of homemade chicken broth and already-cooked chicken meat to use throughout the week. All for $4.99!
Related Article: Kitchen Tip: How to Pound Chicken (video)
4 Bonus Tips!
Jane, Co-Founder: “Instead of covering leftovers and shelving them—like stepchildren in the fridge, doomed to a life of mold and sure rejection—separate into single servings in freezer bags, label with my trusty Sharpie, and freeze for easy grab-and-go lunches.”
Heather, Customer Experience and Social Media: “My favorite kitchen tip is making quick prep of an avocado. Cut all the way around the circumference, cutting it in half vertically. Forcefully place knife in center of seed and twist to remove. Score in a crisscross pattern in each half of the avocado and simply scoop out with a spoon. Easy peasy!”
Mary, RD and Meal Plan Editor: “When I start to prep ingredients, I put a mixing bowl out on the counter for everything we cut off the ingredients like we prep (peels from carrots, tops of radishes, herb stems, fat on meat, peels & veins in shrimp). Then I don’t have to reach for the trashcan every time I need to throw something away. When I’m done, it all goes in a plastic bag (we save plastic grocery bags to recycle for things like this).”
Doug, Internet Marketing Director: “My main thing is cleaning while I cook. I hate having to clean up after a great meal, so we balance it by having one cook and the other clean.”