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Handling the Whole Chicken Series: Meal Planning With a Whole Chicken (with over 16 Recipes!)

meal planning with a whole chicken

Welcome to the final post in our series on Handling the Whole Chicken!

In case you missed the earlier posts, you can catch them here:

  • Monday Mission: Buy a Whole Chicken. See the numbers on why buying a whole chicken from a local farmer is cheaper than buying boneless skinless chicken breast. If you’re still not convinced buying a whole chicken is for you, check out our list of 6 objections that we debunk.
  • How To Cut Up A Whole Bird {Plus Photo Tutorial!}. If you’re not sure how to get the breast meat off of a raw chicken, this post is for you. Complete with a video and photo-tutorial.
  • Two Fail-Proof Recipes to Cook a Whole Chicken. If you’re a newbie to cooking a whole chicken, start here. I share my two secret recipes to cooking whole chicken – along with a ton of tips and ways to store your cooked meat.

Hopefully by now you’re motivated to buy a whole chicken from a local farmer – or, at the very least, be willing to venture beyond boneless skinless chicken breast at the grocery store.

So let’s look at ways to use up our chicken parts. And at the end I’ll show you a sample meal plan.


If you’re still looking for more info on cooking the perfect chicken every time, check out Craftsy. Their classes are awesome because the instructors are professionals and once you buy the course, you may view it at any time (no expiration!) and can pause and repeat to make sure you catch everything. I highly recommend checking it out! ~Katie

Tips and Recipes for Chicken Breast

I’m always amazed at how delicious baked chicken breast can taste with just a few simple ingredients like salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar. Bake for 350*F until cooked through. Yummmmmmm. Delicious.

However, chicken breast also has a way of flying off the table. The meat can go super fast.

I’m ashamed to admit that my family went almost a year without eating chicken breast because I was too chicken (pardon the pun) to debone my own meat. Cut up your own chicken and your wallet will thank you!

RELATED: Air Fryer Chicken Nugget Recipe

As another money-saving measure, I always try to serve an extra vegetable when we eat chicken breast. I will also serve a salad as a starter first – just like the fancy restaurants do. Did you know you can find all the Kitchen Stewardship® side dish recipes here in one list?

gluten free breaded chicken nuggets
  • Need ideas for using your chicken breast? Check out this fabulous recipe for Chicken Nuggets – it serves great for lunch, too! There’s a gluten-free option, too!

Tips and Recipes for Cooked Chicken Meat

It may seem daunting at first to find recipes that use cooked chicken meat. I thought I always had to do something fancy with my cooked meat. Turns out my family likes it just plain.

Sometimes we serve plain meat for lunch. To make it fun for the kids we serve it in silicone muffin cups. I like the Casabella brand (found on Amazon) because their silicone is a high grade that doesn’t use harmful fillers. Another lunch idea includes serving it with pasta or rice and vegetables for a cold salad.

meal planning with a whole chicken

Or you can investigate the Kitchen Stewardship® Archives for DOZENS of amazing, delicious recipes. Here’s just a quick sample of non-soup dishes:

One of our January sponsors, Plan to Eat, is another super resource for real food recipes, where readers have added over 165,000 recipes and counting.

Search for “chicken stock” and you’ll get not only many different ways to make the chicken stock itself, plus soups of course, but also marsala, bourbon chicken, one-pot lo mein, chicken cordon blue casserole, Middle Eastern chicken pilaf, sprouted flour dumplings, even West African chicken with cauliflower rice. Dang, y’all. I could meal plan two weeks easily just by browsing! Give me a minute to wipe the drool off my keyboard… ~Katie

Want more recipes from the KS test kitchen? Check out these eBooks for even more delicious recipes!

  • Better Than A Box (My all-time favorite KS recipe is Chicken and Rice with Green Beans. The thyme seasoning in this dish is absolutely gourmet. It’s my standard go-to for company. Plus, it’s not a casserole so it pleases everyone.)
  • The Healthy Lunch Box

Tips and Recipes for Chicken Broth

Obviously, you can make soup with your broth. I like to jazz up my go-to chicken soup recipe by adding lemon and cumin for some pizzazz on occasion.

Did you know there are over 24 recipes for soup on Kitchen Stewardship®? Simply click here for quick access to the archives.

Making soup is a wonderful way to use your broth. And it also gives you opportunity to share with your neighbors.

meal planning with a whole chicken

But what if you’re a soup hater? Have no fear. As we mentioned in this post, you can use your broth to cook beans, rice, and pasta. Or include a few cups in your favorite beef chili recipe. Check out Chicken Homemade Rice-A-Roni for an example.

Just in case you need some help, here are four soup recipes from the archives:

meal planning with a whole chicken

A Quick Word About Menu Planning

Hopefully by now you’ve found some recipes you’re itching to try. But sometimes it can be hard to actually make time to try new things. That’s why I recommend making a meal plan.

Did you know there is more than one way to meal plan? Check out this post to read about 6 different styles – and figure out which one you might be.

How to choose a meal planning method

I also find it handy to make a list of recipes that I like so that when I’m planning, my brain doesn’t come up empty. This can be as low key as a simple hand-written list or as fancy as a board you keep on Pinterest.

Also, if you look in the back of Kitchen Stewardship®’s ebooks, you will find an appendix that sorts recipes by their main dish topic. This is awesome for times when you know you have chicken meat, and only want to look at chicken focused recipes. Check out this FREE, DOWNLOADABLE sample from Better Than A Box:

If you can’t see the PDF above, click HERE to print or download.

meal planning with whole chicken

Sample Menu Plan

Before I share my sample menu plan, I just want to encourage you in this: Don’t get stymied in perfectionism when it comes to meal planning. You don’t have to have a perfectly orchestrated meal plan that uses up every ounce of meat and broth in 5 days. The (chicken intense) meal plan I’m sharing is designed to use up a whole chicken and broth in one week … but you don’t have to.

There’s nothing wrong with cooking a whole chicken once a month — and taking all month to eat it (as long as you don’t let the fresh meat sit in your fridge a month!!). So give yourself some grace as you figure out how to use your meat and broth.

Now, without further ado, my sample Chicken-Focused menu plan using a whole chicken and broth:

  • Tuesday Lunch: Serve 1 cup of chicken with rice, cucumber slices, green peppers, and carrots.
  • Tuesday Dinner: Tumeric Chicken Soup (uses broth and 2 cups of chicken)
  • Wednesday Lunch: Tumeric Chicken Soup leftovers
  • Wednesday Dinner: KS Hamburger Helper (bonus: use broth instead of water)
  • Friday Lunch: Homestyle Crunchy Topped Chicken Casserole leftovers
  • Friday Dinner: Breakfast-For-Dinner Night (bonus points for making your chicken broth into gravy for Biscuits and Gravy!)

Enjoy this post? Don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series.

A New Twist on Batch Cooking

Have you tried batch cooking? It’s one of my favorite kitchen hacks to save time while cooking real food, but my take may be slightly different than the ones you’ve seen before.

Instead of making large batches of food and saving them for later, I batch together kitchen tasks and link one night’s dinner to the next. Think of it as getting a head start on your next meal. The net result is time savings AND fresh dinners every night.

The current trend in meal prep seems to be focused on taking several hours on a weekend day to chop and prep veggies, cook meats, and then assemble the leftovers into a multitude of containers.

This is great if it works for you, but my family gets sick of eating leftovers all the time and I get tired of keeping track of all the containers in the fridge! Plus, spending 3-4 hours in the kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is usually the last thing I want to do.

My Real Food Head Start 7 Day Dinner Plan provides a framework for incorporating my technique each day to save time on future meals and even start stocking your freezer if you want, while still making and serving a fresh dinner. The best part is, you use the time you are already in the kitchen – no extra prep day needed!

Meal Planning Resources

Here are the meal planning services (in no particular order) that I endorse for you to pick based on you and your family’s needs!

Try out their freebies (some even have free trials) to see what fits your personality and preferences!

So, what’s your plan for eating chicken this week? Share your menu in the comments below!
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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