Getting value from your food (and for your wallet) is important. That’s why we’ve put together some ideas for how to make the most of the chicken you buy for your family—and how to make it go further at the dinner table.
How to get started: Do a little advance prep! A value package of chicken can be frozen in preferred portion sizes or cooked in bulk and added to meals during the week. There are loads of ideas for how to use up leftover chicken, too. The bottom line? Doing that bit of planning up front is a great way to get extra value from your grocery shop.
When you look at how Canada's Food Guide divides up a plate of food, the focus is on vegetables, followed by protein foods and grains, in smaller quantities. This means the protein you need doesn't have to be a huge portion, and you can get what you need from a smaller serving (and stretch the rest out over more meals!).
These suggestions are modelled on serving a family of four.
Value-size chicken breasts
With eight or nine pieces per tray, our value-size chicken breast packages can be used to make three or four dinners. Cooking chicken in bulk to add to different dishes for the week works well—and you can freeze it in portions suited to your family size for future use!
Cooking a value pack in a big batch? Consider all the ways you can use shredded chicken! Add it to big-batch recipe for mac 'n' cheese, mix it with sautéed vegetables, sauces, and beans in fajitas, use it in rice bowls and soups, to top a pizza or for stuffing your next grilled cheese sandwich. (Health Canada states that cooked chicken is safe to eat for two to three days when stored in the fridge at 4°C (40°F) or lower.)
Value-size chicken thighs
The 16 to 20 chicken thigh pieces in our value package can also be turned into three or four meals with a little know-how and planning.
Dark meat is great when roasted, braised, and stewed. It's tender and juicy and won't dry out as easily as a chicken breast. Add it to quiches, enchiladas, curries, soups, and more. Bonus tip: Proteins like pulses and legumes can bulk up a dish, while also adding their own nutritional value; mix them into recipes (like our chicken curry below) to make your meal go even further!
Value-size chicken drumsticks
The eight or nine drumsticks in our value packs can turn into four dinners for a family of four. Cut up or shred cooked chicken drumsticks to use on a platter of nachos, in pasta salad and lunch wraps, stuffed into cheesy baked crescent rolls, and more. Try adding or substituting drumstick meat into these dishes below!
Storage and freezer tips
Bought more chicken than you can use this week? No problem. Here are tips on how to store chicken pieces and cooked chicken dishes so they're ready when you are!
- Portion your value-size packages when you get them home. Divide them based on one meal's worth of chicken pieces for your family. Then, place items in airtight containers or resealable bags. If you're using a bag, try to get as much air out of it as possible to preserve freshness and prevent freezer burn.
- Label bags and containers so you know when you froze the item and when you need to use it by.
- Chicken pieces should be consumed within six months. Remember: Food that has been thawed can't be frozen a second time.
- Any frozen dishes containing cooked poultry can be kept in the freezer for up to six months.
- To prevent bacterial growth, defrost foods in the microwave or thaw in the fridge instead of on your kitchen counter. For more food storage safety tips, visit Health Canada.