1 Roast Chicken, 3 Delicious Meals

– by Jakob Anderson, Food Writer

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Images are for illustrative purposes only and do not represent the food from these recipes

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During the week we sometimes struggle to get dinner on the table. We joust with the rising cost of food, our hectic lives and a lack of inspiration.

Enter the whole chicken.

A whole chicken, if planned correctly, can be a big-time help in the kitchen during a busy week, providing several tasty and nutritious meals. When purchased whole rather than processed into boneless skinless chicken breasts (or as I call them, “flavorless nutrition”) or various other cuts, you place yourself in total control. You also save yourself a heck of a lot of money. Now I get it, nobody wants to break down a whole chicken into its parts and if they do want to they don’t have time anyway. No need, a whole chicken can provide three solid meals with little processing of any raw meat!

Day 1: The Whole Roasted Chicken

So you have purchased your bird. (Bravo. Look at your boneless skinless friends in disgust.) Now you can take it home and roast it whole, in my opinion the best way to cook a chicken. If you have a reliable meat thermometer, a whole roasted chicken is difficult to screw up (also very hard to perfect, but I digress). All you need for a delicious product is salt, pepper and olive oil. The rest is up to you, stuff that chicken’s … bum …with anything you like; he’s already dead so he won’t mind.

Salt, pepper and olive oil are all you'll need

Salt, pepper and olive oil are all you’ll need

Roasted Chicken

1 Whole Roasted Chicken

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

Optional: lemon, orange apples, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, garlic, onion, leek, mustard

Heat oven to 350ºF. Season chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the skin. Cook chicken for about 20 minutes per pound or until the deepest part of the inner thigh reaches 165ºF on a meat thermometer. Once the bird is cooked, allow to rest for 10 minutes. Remove both breasts, reserving one for your salad tomorrow. Remove thighs and leg also, reserving the bones and any meat you do not eat. Reserve the whole chicken carcass, as you will need it for stock!

Avacodo goes well with your day 2 chicken

Avocodo goes well with your day 2 chicken

Day 2: Chicken and Sweet Potato Salad with Avocado Mayo

So now you are left with some leftover meat from the night before and a chicken carcass. Day 2 involves a hearty salad for dinner. You will also use this day to make a quick chicken stock.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Salad with Avocado Mayo

Cold chicken breast and thigh

2 sweet potatoes, baked until soft, then cooled and roughly cut into rustic chunks

1 avocado, half for dressing, half cut into large chunks

1 green onion, diced thin

1 cup baby arugula

Fresh coriander (cilantro), for garnish

 

Avocado Mayo

Half avocado

2 cloves garlic

Juice from 1 lemon

1/2 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro)

Salt and pepper to taste

For mayo, add all ingredients to blender and mix until emulsified. Place chicken, potato, avocado, green onion and arugula in a bowl. Drizzle mayo over top, and top with more fresh coriander if you would like. While you eat, enjoy the sweet aroma of your homemade stock!

Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass

2 onions

1 carrot

1 celery

2 cloves garlic

2 thyme sprigs

10 peppercorns

Olive oil

 

In large pot, sweat vegetables until translucent. Add chicken, thyme, peppercorns and enough water to cover the bones. Bring to a boil, skimming as it rises, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Strain this mixture and discard all solids. Reserve the stock for your lentil soup – dinner tomorrow.

Day 3: Red Lentil Soup

Day 3? Enter lentils.

Day 3? Enter lentils.

You have made it. You are now on the third day of that chicken (fistbump) and today’s recipe just might be the most satisfying of all three! This is a delicious, spice-heavy soup that will reward you for all your smart planning!

Lentil Soup 

1/2 cup red lentils, dry

1 can tomatoes

1L chicken stock

2 Tbsp garam masala (Indian spice mixture available in specialty stores and increasingly in regular supermarkets)

1 parsnip, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup fresh spinach

1/2 cup pickled red onion

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Sweat garlic, onions and parsnips in large pot with oil. Once they begin to stick, stir in tomatoes and garam masala. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and bring soup to boil. Add lentils, reduce to simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Stir in spinach. Top each bowl with a dollop of Greek yogurt and pickled onions.

 

Jakob Anderson is a trained cook and food enthusiast who approaches cooking as something that connects people in ways they don’t realize: “I love talking about food, eating food, thinking food, discussing food, debating food, think about debating food, fooding food? I love food.” 

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