The $5 Costco Chicken: 5 Dinners for 5 Bucks. Here's How To Do It.
Start with a rotisserie chicken and heed our words
As a guy who lives alone, I don't have much use for Costco. Twelve-packs of Kleenex would last me for years and entire racks of ribs are frowned upon as a single serving size. After a visit last week, though, I finally found a reason to buy a Costco membership: the $5 rotisserie chicken.
Just so we're straight on this, my chicken was an impulse purchase. I didn't hit the Big Box with the intention of scoring some cheap poultry. In fact, the trip only came about when my buddy Aaron convinced me to join him with the promise of splitting a pack of paper towels. Ah, the joys of adulthood.
While we were on our way to the paper goods area, we had to pass through the grocery section, and there's no way I can skip the chance to ogle some bulk packages of meats and cheeses. As I tried to rationalize buying a six-pound tub of fresh mozzarella (Me: "I'll make a lasagna and some pizzas and..."), I came across the rotisserie chickens. Initially, I thought they were $5 a pound. Then I looked closer. It wasn't per pound. It was per chicken. That's five bucks for three pounds of fully-cooked bird. So I bought one.
I'm not kidding when I say that the $5 rotisserie chicken could be the answer to our nation's hunger problems. I got four meals out of that bird. FOUR MEALS. For only five dollars. Honestly, I could have even had one more, but there's only so much fowl one man can take in a week. Here's how I broke it down:
Day 1: Just The Bird
When you pick up your five-buck clucker, it's hot and ready to go. Grab a knife, cut off a breast, and go to town. Shame on you if you just made an Angelina Jolie joke in your head. Save the more flavorful/fattier dark meat for your reheating purposes later on in the week. Stop here and you just had dinner for $5. Not bad!
Day 2: Stir-Fry
You've entered the reheating stage. Microwaves are going to dry out the meat, so your best bet is either throwing the bird into the oven (instructions come on the package) or cooking it on the stove. I'm partial to the stove because you can make a super-healthy meal by stir-frying your chicken with whatever veggies you have laying around. Throw in some rice (or quinoa or couscous or whatever) and you've now successfully brought your cost down to $2.50 per meal.
Day 3: Tacos
On the third day, God said "Let there be tacos." Okay, so maybe God didn't say that, but somebody surely has. Tacos are a perfect destination for two-day-old rotisserie chicken because you can braise it for hours and the pollo turns out beautifully tender and flavorful. Grab some tortillas and cervezas and enjoy the fact that your per-meal cost is only $1.67.
Day 4: Chicken Salad
This is where the real stretching comes in. You may be sick of chicken by Day 4. That's entirely fair. You could call it a day, or... you could bird-up and make some damn fine chicken salad. Feeling fancy? Throw in some currants and almonds. Feeling Thai? Dress that ish in sambal. There are roughly sixty-four billion ways to make your own version of chicken salad and the only limits are your own creativity. Congratulations, by the way. You've now paid $1.25 for each of your last four dinners. Is this 1955?
That's how I turned my chicken into four meals, but wait! There's more!
Day 5: Soup
No. More. Chicken. You just can't. It's too much. You need something else in your life and that's totally okay. That doesn't mean you can't plan for the future, though. You've got a chicken carcass and you've got a pot. That means you can make homemade chicken stock. The amazing thing? You can freeze the results and that chicken stock can turn into at least three more dinners (if you don't mind eating soup for dinner). Now you're paying pennies for each meal. Incredible.
Just don't waste all of your savings on that foam surfboard you saw on the way to your next chicken.
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