Monday, February 23, 2009

Chicken, Chicken and More Chicken

A great way to save money and eat healthy is to roast a chicken and use the leftovers for other meals. Sounds boring, I know, but it's not, if you do it right.

For example, today I roasted a chicken. I'll admit, I did not buy this chicken on sale. It was in my freezer and it cost about $8.00. But when you do find them on sale, you can get them for as low as $4.00 and when you consider that you're going to make several meals out of one chicken, you're saving big bucks. Here's how:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Remove the innards from your chicken. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat it dry with paper towels.

3. Rub olive oil all over the exerior of the chicken and salt and pepper both the skin and the cavity.

4. Now you need to flavor it. The best way to do this is from the inside out. So I went out to my garden and grabbed a lemon and some rosemary. Then I cut up an onion, smashed some garlic and mixed it all together in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. It looked like this:
I do realize that not everyone has rosemary and lemons in their yards. And that's totally cool because the good thing is, you can flavor your chicken with anything you want. If you don't have a lemon, use an orange or a lime. Or skip the citrus. Simply stuff it with garlic and /or onions and your favorite herb. And any herb will do. Time, Oregano, Sage, Parsley. Whatever - they're all scrumptous.

5. Next, stuff the chicken with whatever you've got going on. Put it in a baking dish, sprinkle some more of the herb of your choice on top and pop it in the oven.
6. Now you have to do a little math. A good rule is to roast chicken about 15 minutes for every pound. Since I had a 5lb bird today, I roasted it for about an hour and 15 minutes. To make sure it was done, I jiggled a leg. If the leg jiggles loosely, take it out. If the leg resists jiggling, keep it in a little longer.

NOTE: Before you put the chicken in the oven, jiggle a leg so you know how it feels when it's not cooked. That way you'll be able to identify what you're not looking for.

7. I set my timer for 45 minutes. When it went off, I tossed some veggies in the pan. I had brussel sprouts, onions and carrots in the fridge, so that's what went in. Again, you can use whatever you have. Got mushrooms? Turnips? Parsnips? Potatoes? Whatever. Toss 'em in.

8. When it's ready, pull the chicken out and let it sit for about 10 minutes to redistribute the juices. (I know you know the whole juice reditribution trick by now, I'm just sticking to the rules.)

It should look like this:

Since I was eating by myself, I cut off the wings and a thigh and drumstick and ate them with the veggies. Then I carved the rest of the chicken (two breasts, a drumstick and thigh) put the leftovers in tupperware and stored them in refrigerator.

I will use some of the chicken in one of my favorite salads tomorrow and post the details here. I've already enjoyed one meal for $8. Can't wait to make it two!

So while we're talking chicken, what are some of your favorite chicken dishes? Are there any you'd like to learn how to make?



  1. The skin on that chicken looks so crispy and delicious! Just curious, do you have a gas oven or an electric? We have a gas oven and it doesn't brown foods very well.

  2. I LOVE the skin! I usually eat it all at once!

    I have a gas oven. I wonder why yours doesn't brown foods very well? Sometimes if you roast at a higher temperature, foods will brown more easily. For example, traditional recipes call for roasting a chicken at 350 degrees. I roasted this one at 400 because it gets a little crispier on the outside.

    I'd test your oven to make sure the temperature gauge is accurate. You can get an oven thermometer at most stores that carry cookware.

  3. Yeah, I also find that 350 degrees is not hot enough for roasting chicken. Next time I'll try it at 400. Thanks!