Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Roast Chicken Dinner Can Speed Up Your Week

One of my favorite dinners is roast chicken for many reasons. It's not only delicious and perfect for a Sunday dinner, but buying a whole chicken is budget-friendly. I bought this 3 lb organic whole chicken for $5 and it made 6 meals for the two of us, which is 83 cents per serving! I cooked the chicken with onions, celery, carrots, and turnips.

Making a roast chicken is best on the weekend because of the long (2-hr) cooking time. The advantage is that you can have a ready-made meal in the refrigerator for quick lunches or dinners. Here is how to do it.

On Sunday
  1. Roast the chicken and veggies.
  2. Carve chicken and serve for dinner. Store leftover chicken in a separate container from the vegetables. Use the bits of chicken from the carcus and set aside for your lunch the next day. You can use these bits for chicken salad sandwiches, chicken and greens salad, or in a quick soup on a weeknight.

Easy Roast Chicken and Vegetables

  • 3 lb whole chicken
  • 6 cups root vegetables you have on-hand (onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, turnips, or parsnips)
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp spanish smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbs chopped thyme, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or dried)
  • 2 tbs olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Need: meat thermometer + roasting pan


  1. If frozen, defrost chicken by filling sink with cold water. Let it sit for approximately 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Coat roasting pan with cooking spray.
  4. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place chicken on a cutting board and rub 1 tbs olive oil on the skin. Season with smoked paprika, 1 tbs fresh chopped thyme, and salt/pepper. Set aside.
  5. Chop root vegetables and slice onions. Place veggies in the roasting pan. Stir in 1 tbs olive oil with garlic, herbs and reserved thyme.
  6. Place chicken on top of the vegetable mixture.
  7. Cook in the oven for 1 hour.
  8. Turn the chicken over and stir vegetables and cook for one more hour.
  9. When you pull the chicken out of the oven, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Keep the thermometer away from the bone for accuracy. The chicken should be 170 degrees.
  10. Do not carve right away! Set aside for 10 minutes so the juices stay inside the skin.
  11. To carve, use a sharp knife and cut off the breast, thighs and wings. My advice is to follow the bone. Or if you need more advice, check out this how-to video from PBS.

More ideas to spice up the roast chicken: I've tried many other methods that you may want to try.

  • Make a wet rub and spread under the skin on the chicken flesh.
  • Slice lemons and place under the skin to keep the meat moist.
  • Fill the body cavity with salt/pepper, chunks of onion, garlic, herb sprigs, oranges, or lemons.

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