Eating healthy. Scratch cooking. Meal planning. They sound good-for-you and also time-consuming and possibly difficult. But I’ve discovered that roasting a whole chicken and creating various dishes out of one bird is both an easy and an economical way to plan several meals in the course of one week.
Start by cooking the chicken, and roast some vegetables to go with it. Later in the week, use the leftover chicken to branch out for a completely different flavor, with the addition of a few simple ingredients.
Simple Roast Chicken & Vegetables
- 1 whole, free-range chicken, about 5-6 pounds
- Canola oil
- Seasoning – Could be any herb or spice mix you like. I usually use Herbs de Provence or a mix of dried thyme, oregano, and savory.
- Starchy veg of your choice: I usually make sweet potatoes, but white or gold potatoes or winter squash are also yummy. You’ll want to cut these up into 2-inch pieces.
- Green veg of your choice: We like brussels sprouts or broccoli. Again cut into large pieces so they don’t cook too quickly.
Preheat the oven to 415F. Have your roasting pan and some paper or cloth towels handy. Carefully rinse the raw chicken in the kitchen sink, then hoist it into the pan and pat dry with the towels. Immediately dispose of or wash these.
Cover the chicken liberally with the oil, then sprinkle all over with the salt and seasoning. Roast for an hour, then add the vegetables to the pan and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 165F. It should take about 90 minutes total but may require a bit more time depending on the size of the bird.
When the chicken and starchy vegetables are cooked, remove the pan from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the roast vegetables from the pan.
After you’ve eaten some of the chicken and finished off the roast vegetables, you can cut up the rest of the meat to use in any of the following recipes, to create another 4 – 6 servings.
- Pack of 10 flour tortillas, store bought, or wraps of your choice.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 28 oz. can of black beans, drained
- Green vegetable of your choice. I usually sneak in spinach but you could add kale, chard, chopped snow peas, or whatever you like.
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- Salsa verde
- Shredded cheese: mild cheddar, Monterrey Jack, or queso blanco
In a large pan, sauté the onion in oil for a minute and then add the green veg. Cook until semi-tender and some of the water from the greens has boiled away. Add your cut-up chicken, beans, and chili powder and cook for another minute to heat it a little, then turn off the heat.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Assemble the enchiladas into a tray sprayed with non-stick cooking oil. Add a heaping spoon of filling and a pinch of cheese to the middle of a tortilla, then roll and place into the pan. Continue with all 10 tortillas, squishing them together to make room for all of them. Top with the remaining cheese and pour over the salsa verde. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
- 3 cups rice, cooked (I use a rice cooker)
- Green vegetables: any combination of snow peas, chopped cabbage, broccoli or whatever is in season.
- 3 Tbsp. Canola oil
- 1 Tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
- 3 Tbsp. BBQ sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar
- Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste.
- Salt or soy sauce to taste.
Sauté the green vegetables in the canola oil on a high heat for a few minutes, then add the cut up chicken and rice and toss to combine. Add the sauces and vinegar and season to taste.
- 2 cups rice, cooked
- Green vegetable of choice (broccoli, green beans, or lots of spinach)
- 14 oz. coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. Indian curry powder, or 3-4 Tbsp. curry paste
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh ginger, grated
- Salt, to taste
Sauté the green veg in oil for a 2 minutes, then add the coconut milk and curry, grate in the ginger, and add diced cooked chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes and check for seasoning. Serve over rice.
- 2 cups rice, cooked
- Green vegetable of choice
- 14 oz. coconut milk
- 3-4 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh ginger, grated
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh garlic, grated
- 1 Tbsp. Fish sauce (or soy sauce)
Sauté the green veg in oil for a 2 minutes, then add the coconut milk and curry, grate in the ginger and garlic, and add diced cooked chicken and fish sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes and check seasoning. Serve over rice.