What we do with 10 pounds of chicken leg quarters
On occasion, a local grocery store will have a sale on chicken leg quarters. For 29 or 39 cents per pound, I can get a 10-pound bag for $3-4. Here is what I make with a 10-pound bag of chicken leg quarters! (Our family has two adults and a two-year-old.)
First, I cut apart the drumsticks and thighs.* To cut apart leg quarters, use a sharp knife and carefully cut the skin and meat around the joint. As you get closer to the bone, wiggle knife back and forth and cut the tendons and cartilage near the joint until drumstick is separated from thigh, without cutting through bone. The photo above shows a drumstick that has been cut through the cartilage.
I rinse the chicken pieces, and usually use the drumsticks for My Mom's Easy Fried Chicken. The fried drumsticks are one of Joshua's favorite meals, and there is usually enough drumsticks for 2-3 meals. (I never buy the packages of just drumsticks, because whole chickens from Aldi, or leg quarters on sale are so much cheaper.)
Here are the drumsticks... before frying, and then on our plate, ready to eat!
And here are the chicken thighs, put into my largest stock pot. I add water to cover and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, I turn down the heat and simmer until fully cooked.
I take the fully-cooked thighs from the water (now broth) and put them on a plate to cool slightly. When the thighs are cool enough to handle, I take the meat off the bones, discarding the fat, bones, and skin.
I cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Usually I save some meat out for use during the next couple of days, to make things like hot chicken sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, or cheesy chicken vermicelli.
Whatever meat I won't be able to use within 4-5 days, I package into freezer bags (or containers) in 2 to 3-cup portions. I label the bags with the date, content, and amount. Then when I need some cooked cubed chicken for a recipe, I can just thaw a package! For a list of recipes on this website that use "leftover" cooked cubed chicken, visit my leftovers page!
With the broth (from cooking the thighs) I sometimes make a large batch of cream of chicken condensed soup. I freeze my homemade cream of chicken soup in 1 to 2-cup amounts, and thaw as needed for recipes.
For more ideas about using chicken and preparing it in advance, check out my article Cooking Ahead: A Basic How-To!
*I always cut them apart unless I wish to use some for baked chicken leg quarters. For our baked leg quarters, I rinse the chicken pieces, sprinkle both sides with seasonings (garlic salt, lemon pepper, and seasoned salt) and spray lightly with cooking oil. I set the leg quarters on a wire rack or "grill" and put a cookie sheet under it to catch drips (use an old cookie sheet for this!). Bake at 375 degrees until fully cooked.