I think one of the best weapons in your frugal arsenal is making the most of everything you have. With every new use, the initial price goes down. Granted the uses get smaller as more of the item is utilized, but you're still getting more bang for your buck.
Here's a good example. A week ago I came across three organic whole chickens, marked down at my local grocery store. They were marked down to $1,74 lb because they were nearing their expiration date. Now that's about twice what I would normally pay for a whole chicken, but in my range when it came to buying organic. I can't afford to buy organic very often, so when the opportunity arises, I try. I bought all three and took them home. Once home, I immediately removed them from their packaging and put them all in a crock pot to cook. By using the crock pot, I didn't have to add additional water. I was very please to see there was not a lot of additional juices added to these birds like when you by the standard birds. I was also pleased to see the gizzards and organs were included.
***Dh fishes and the gizzards and organs make great bait for him. These were immediately frozen for him to use when fishing time comes around. It will keep him from having to buy bait separately.
Anyhoo, The chickens cooked, cooled and then I deboned them, putting about 8-12 oz in each freezer bag.
I then took all of the bones, 2 large carrots, the tops and bottom off of the celery in one package (including the leaves), the tops and bottoms of two large onions (skin included).I reserved the rest of the onions in the fridge for later use in other recipes, and the rest of the celery was chopped and frozen. BTW, it goes without saying that I washed the veggies first! I put all of this in the larger crock pot along with 1 tsp salt, 2 Tbs of vinegar, and water to cover all. I turned the crock pot on low and it cooked for about a day to a day and a half. I checked it periodically to make sure it wasn't boiling, or to see if the bones had softened. The vinegar draws the minerals out of the bones and puts it into the stock. Once the bones are soft, you can take up the stock. Once the stock was finished, I strained out the veggies and other scraps. The broth was allowed to cool and then frozen. Once somewhat frozen, I removed the stock and removed the fat from the top. I then reheated the stock to thaw it out and then divided it into 2 cup (pints) portions.
***I ended up with 7 pints of stock in my freezer.
Not done yet, I took the fat I scrapped off the stock, and added it to my doggies "cookies" as she knows them. I used the fat instead of the oil called for in the recipe. You can find the recipe in my "recipe" page. Oh. plu she got the leftover veggies from the broth. A very happy dog.
*** The recipe made 16 large "cookies for her". She was pretty comical. She had no idea what I was making, I think, but as I started making them, she came out and laid on the kitchen floor watching my every move, until they were done.
Mona waiting for "cookie" dough.
So to sum up, from three whole birds I got
3 fishing trips
6-7 bags of chicken
7 pints of all natural, unfooled around with broth
16 large doggie treats.
Well worth the time and cost of three initial birds.