Roasted chicken is a perfect choice for a busy mom. I love it because of all the dishes I can make from the leftovers. Over the course of the next week I can count on having enough slices of meat for dinner and enough meat to make a chicken salad or casserole. My family is considerably smaller these days, so I know I’ll have several meals from this one chicken including a great and flavorful carcass for chicken soup. Yes, this bird will be stretched far and wide before the week is out.
Now, mind you, if you have a house full of hungry teenagers this may only make two meals…roasted chicken and chicken soup….but if you have young children in elementary school, you could possibly get at least 3, if not all 4!
You can make this little bird crow if you plan carefully! My first meal is always sliced of roasted chicken, served with vegetables. Mashed potatoes and green beans or peas. Easy!
I try to reserve a breast, which I will chop and set aside to make either a chicken salad or casserole another day. If I decide, for example, to make a chicken and broccoli casserole, I add additional broccoli to make it go farther.
Next meal, I pick the bones clean and make chicken enchiladas or chicken fajitas… That takes very little chicken and goes a long way.
Next I take the carcass and all the drippings from the pot and make chicken soup or freeze it for later.
Meal #1 Sliced chicken ~ Meal #2 Chicken Casserole ~ Meal #3 Chicken fajitas ~ Meal #4 Chicken soup.
Do you have a clay pot? I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed mine. I never would have bought one for myself. My first one was a Christmas gift over 30 years ago!!! Since then I have acquired 2 more. I lucked up on them at estate sales. Apparently people don’t know how great they are…and I get to snag them! My very first one now belongs to my daughter. It’s still cookin’!
There are a couple of important things to know about clay pots. They need to be soaked in cold water for about 15 minutes just before baking. And they must be placed into a COLD oven. DO NOT PRE-HEAT OVEN! For roasted chicken I set oven at about 375*..after I place pot inside oven!
I season my chicken well with salt and pepper and a mixture of herbs and spices. I throw in fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage when I have them on hand. If not, I like to add a generous amount of Tuscany blend or an Herbes de Provence blend. I always add several stalks of celery, chopped garlic cloves and an onion to the pot. And bake away. Sometimes I add carrots and potatoes.
The GREAT thing about baking in a clay pot is that I don’t have to add any additional water. The meat cooks in its own juices, making for a very healthy dish. Not only that, the clay pot itself cooks like a brick oven, browning and crisping the chicken inside the clay pot!
Roasted chicken cooks in about 1 1/2 hours. I very carefully lift the top so the steam will release AWAY from my arm and check to see if it is golden brown enough to my liking. I pierce it with a fork to see if juices are running clear, to know it’s done.
With a little planning and one really nicely roasted chicken, you can make your week meals easier and delicious…and who doesn’t want that.