Stretching Whole Chicken Breasts

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t fully prepared for how much our food consumption would increase as the kids got older. Obviously I knew they’d eat more, but I guess I just never really comprehended the full extent of that. It still blows me away when we finish off an entire loaf of bread, bag of chips or pound of pasta in one sitting. So I’ve had to get more creative with my stretching of foods. And honestly, there’s just certain foods I’ve had to admit can no longer be stretched.

Chicken has always been a fairly easy food to stretch. I can make a 1/2 pound of chicken feed us all when put in a casserole, a soup or combined with beans. The only time I struggle with stretching chicken is when I’m serving chicken breasts in their original form. This is especially true when I buy the large bags of frozen chicken breasts where two large breasts easily equal a pound or more.

Based on that fact and the recommended serving size of chicken being equal to a deck of cards, I could easily cut those breasts into 6 pieces and be done with it. However, particularly for my husband, that one small piece of meat just doesn’t look like enough. So what I’ve taken to doing instead is slicing the whole chicken breasts like I would a roast or a tenderloin.

This way, I serve a platter full of sliced meat and we all feel satisfied with our four or so slices of meat. We keep our portions in check and save money at the same time. It’s a great ┬ásolution that definitely works for us.

How do you stretch chicken breasts?

10 thoughts on “Stretching Whole Chicken Breasts

  1. That is a great idea! I have a husband, 3 growing boys (7, 6, 5), a growing girl (2) and a new baby boy! Eating chicken breasts whole at our house is very few and far betwen because it takes a whole 3 lb bag to feed everyone! That is just crazy! I know it is going to get even worse as these boys become teenagers! I will definitely have to try this! Thanks for the tip!

  2. That is a great idea. My husband eats huge amounts of meat, but I find when I cut it up it goes much further. Maybe its a phscological thing but it works lol. Thanks for the tip with chicken, I rarely buy chicken breats because I use so many, this is a great idea to make it stretch.

    Do you cook them whole first?

  3. During the summer we grill a lot. 2 breasts will be fine for the 3 of us since my 3 yr old does not eat much, yet. However, when we have company coming, I usually cube and marinade the meat and then grill it on skewers with veggies. I also do this with cheaper cuts of steak.

  4. That’s a great idea – my usual system is to slice them in half or thirds horizontally so they’re more like ‘thin sliced’ then I grill or make cutlets or whatever

    Pounding it out [even after I’ve ‘thin sliced’ them] is a little time consuming [but stress relieving] but it often makes each slice increase in diameter significantly [half again or more!] and it makes everyone feel like they’re getting oh so much no matter what – plus it is so much tastier to my palate when it’s thin and pounded!

  5. I found that recipes that call for chopped chicken breasts work just as well with shredded chicken. For some reason I can make a bag of frozen chicken breasts shredded go into alot more meals than if I bake them and chop them?!?!

  6. If you’re wanting to do chicken cutlets or stuffed chicken (rolled), then slice each breast in half like you would a roll. The overall length and width will be the same as the original, but you can flatten each half to make it look even larger. Bread and pan fry for cutlets or parmesan; stuff with rice or bread stuffing or another creative filling before rolling around the filling and braising or baking. That makes each breast go twice as far, which works well if you’ve been able to get them at a special price.

    Another idea, similar to yours, is to slice them BEFORE you cook them and then dip them into a marinade or a dressing of your choice (I’ve used lemon pepper and balsamic vinaigrette) before dipping in bread crumb and then pan fry for some really tasty chicken fingers. One breast fed three people the first time I did it (of course, those people were all women, so you may need to adjust for those hungry men). With the other sides on the table, this should make it seem like they’re getting far more chicken than they are.

  7. Great Idea. My husband too loves his meat, so I rarely make a piece of meat as the main dish, but this would be a great way to serve it and stretch it.

  8. I love all the comments here. I don’t have children yet but making meals go further has become important since my husband is out of work. I love this website because I can usually 1/2 the recipe and it is great for the 2 of us. I have taken to slicing whole chicken breasts in 1/2 so they are thin slices and that helps alot but I am definitely going to try the slicing idea from this post. Keep the great ideas coming!

  9. Love your site! Great recipes and great ideas!

    I have a family of five, myself, my husband and three growing boys: 16, 14 and 10 years old. We usually eat three (half) chicken breasts at a meal. I cut them in half and the extra half is for my husband’s lunch the next day. I try and serve it with potatoes, rice or noodles and a couple of vegetables and perhaps a salad. No one ever leaves the table hungry. My oldest son is 6’2″ and a big eater. Since they were small I have tried to make the meat only part of the meal and not the meal itself. It has worked and it has helped keep them healthy and my grocery bill down. ­čÖé

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