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7 Ways to Stretch One Chicken Breast to Feed a Family

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Do you have to stretch one chicken breast to feed many? These seven easy recipe ideas will help you to stretch a little bit of meat and save money.

How to stretch one chicken breast

Meat is one of the more expensive items on the shopping list, so meat stretcher recipes save money while appeasing the meat lovers of the family.

On the other hand, stretching meat and eating less means that you can buy better quality. Free-range chicken or organic chicken costs more than regular chicken, but when it is the accompaniment rather than the main attraction of the dish, it becomes more affordable. 

If you have a big family or teenage boys, you may need more than a single chicken breast, but the idea is the same – take a small amount of meat and stretch it to feed many.

How to Stretch One Chicken Breast

The key to stretching a little bit of meat to feed many is to pick recipes where the chicken can be bulked up with lots of vegetables and some grains or starches.

Pasta dishes are a great example, but they are not the only option! Here are 7 (plus a few extra) ideas for stretching one chicken breast.

1. Chicken Pie

one breast chicken pie

Chicken pie (or individual pastries) are cooked chicken and any available vegetables bound in a basic white sauce and then wrapped in pastry.

For a dairy-free version, use pureed cauliflower instead of milk in the white sauce, it tastes delicious (no one will even know if you don’t tell them) and it boosts the vegetable quota. Or use a sauce made with stock instead.

2. Chicken Pizzas

Pizzas are always a favourite way to stretch ingredients. Keep a few pita bread rounds and some homemade pizza sauce in the freezer for a quick and easy meal when you don’t feel like cooking. 

Pizzas are a great way to use up leftover roast chicken as well. 

3. Chicken Pasta

Add chicken to mac and cheese or pasta carbonara for a quick, easy and frugal meal. Our favourite is this chicken and pea pasta.

And not quite a pasta, but deserves an honourable mention because it is frugal (and a gluten-free alternative to pasta), is the risotto, like this chicken and asparagus risotto.

4. Chicken stir fry

chicken and cashew stir fry

Stir fry is my favourite way to stretch any kind of meat – throw in a lot of vegetables, drizzle with a homemade sauce and serve with a starch: rice or noodles.

5. Chicken mornay

old fashioned tuna casserole
Old fashioned tuna casserole

Chicken mornay is essentially chicken in white sauce (again, sub in cauliflower puree for a dairy-free alternative). To serve a mornay as a complete, one-pot meal, add in some vegetables and rice or pasta, like this tuna mornay.

Alternatively, fry up some mushrooms to add to your chicken mornay and wrap it in some crepes for chicken and mushroom crepes.

6. Chicken curry

Moroccan style chicken with chickpeas

I’m a lover of curries. The trick to serving curry to young children is to tone down or eliminate the chilli. Here’s a super easy chicken curry from one of my favourite recipe blogs, Recipe Tin Eats. 

Other saucy chicken and rice dishes include this creamy chicken dish and this Moroccan inspired chicken dish.

7. Chicken quiche

Similar to a pie, quiche or frittata use eggs to bind the ingredients rather than a sauce. Serve with a side salad for a light summer meal, or some homemade chips for a more filling fare.  

And a Bonus: Chicken Burritos

Leftover chicken and bean burrito

Burritos are a great way to use stretch a tiny bit of chicken. Because they also include beans, a burrito can be super filling, even with a tiny bit of chicken. 

Here’s my version of chicken and bean burritos

Sustainable eating guides suggest that if we’re going to eat meat, to eat less and use it as an accompaniment, rather than the main attraction of a dish.

These chicken-stretching recipes do just that, appeasing the meat-lovers in the family while saving money and eating more in a sustainable way.

What’s your favourite way to stretch chicken?

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9 Comments

  1. That’s a great list Melissa. I love these sorts of recipes, because as you say, you appease the ‘meat lovers’ in the family, but effectively can duplicate the idea of Meatless Monday, just by having less meat every day! Which is better of the hip pocket and the environment, and arguably for your health too.

    I recently discovered that if you go to the organic butcher at our local markets at the end of the day on Sunday, virtually everything is half price (the markets being closed Monday & Tuesday). So you can get organic chicken breasts for about $7 or $8 per kilo! Pretty awesome. of course, the range at that point is limited, so you take your chances, but that works for me.

  2. I make wraps sometimes with tortillas ,but I have a crepe maker (what I thought was a useless gift from my daughter-but boy was I wrong!) I make sweet and savoury pancakes and use them for crepes-wraps-canneloni and even instead of pasta in lasagne-as well as dessert. Surprising what you can do with a little flour. I have also tried rice,spelt and semolina with varying results.It is terrific for making piklets too,because of the low sides it is easy to turn them. You can get crepe frypans too.

    But getting back to the the wraps most of the other ingredients onions,lettuce,tomato and even sometimes beetroot all come from my own garden.I’d make the cheese if i could.
    I even make my own barbecue,tomato and chilli sauce

  3. We have a load of chicken (only) in our freezer and im beyond bored on cooking the same meal every day since I can’t leave the house to stock up because of the lockdown. Tonight I might try the pie