Stretching Food And Money During The Pandemic

Most of us have never experienced anything like what is going on in the world right now. Many of us have less money coming in, which means all new budgeting plans. Then, you walk into your favorite local grocery store and the meat aisle is nearly empty, with limits on the quantity of an item you can buy. Feeling a source of panic is normal, but it can also inspire a feeling of creativity!

Using one item in multiple ways

So you are standing in the meat section with a single pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs trying to think of all the seasoning you need and hope you or your family isn’t bored of chicken by the end of the week. Well, that single pack of chicken can make several vastly different meals! Three meals that can be made with a single pack include chicken noodle soup, chicken pot pie, and seasoned chicken thighs. You can also sub one of these out for things like a pasta dish or chicken and rice, but my week included the three mentioned above.

Chicken Noodle Soup

My Grandmother makes the best chicken noodle soup, but the unusual part to it she strains out all the veggie and chicken that she used to make the broth, and only put noodles in the soup. Where some may see that as wasteful, you can also see it as stretching the chicken and vegetables to last a little longer. I only used 4 of the 6 thighs to make the soup. You can also use less than that if you desire. If you want to use less and have more full flavor add a chicken bullion cube to your broth.

Find your favorite chicken broth recipe. I used this one with some modifications to my own taste such as leaving out leeks and just seasoning heavily with what I had on hand. Once the broth is done strain all the veggies and chicken from the liquid, cook the noodles and keep them separate. The reason for this is because you may want to use a cup of your homemade broth in your pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie

Once you have eaten your soup for a day or two, you can use the leftover chicken and vegetables to make a pot pie. You may want to add a few more veggies to your pot pie than your soup called for – like frozen peas, frozen corn, and potatoes! I used this recipe to make my pot pie that also includes a homemade crust for those who can’t find pie dough. I also saved a cup of my chicken broth to us in the pot pie, because I was really trying to stretch my items as far as I could.

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

By the end of the week I had 2 chicken thighs left that weren’t used to make soup, so I decided to cook them in my air fryer. However, any of your favorite recipes using the oven, stove, or grill would be great! I served mine up with a frozen vegetable and grain pack I had on hand. The air fryer recipe I used was this one.

Grocery List

If you want to make these exact recipes this is the recommended grocery list:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (flexible for bone in, skin on, or chicken breast)
  • Yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Salt – sea salt recommended
  • Black pepper
  • Noodles – egg noodles recommended
  • Other optional vegetables: leek
  • Optional spices: bay left, parsley, allspice berries, turmeric, chicken bullion cube
  • Frozen peas
  • 1 Russet potato
  • Optional – frozen corn, fresh mushrooms
  • Butter – unsalted preferred
  • Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Milk
  • Pie dough (or eggs (which can be used for breakfast as well) and white vinegar to make your own)
  • Olive oil
  • Soy sauce (you can also use those leftover packets you have from asian food delivery)
  • Maple Syrup
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Frozen veggie and/or grain side like this

The list might look long, but some of these items you may already have at home or you can change the recipes to fit more of what you have on hand! There you have it, a week’s worth of meals to feed one or two people using a single package of protein as the base!

If you have any questions or want to see more food photos, follow me on Instagram: @lawandorderingallthefood

Explore More Food

Simple Share Buttons