January 31, 2011

Oven Roasted Chicken... Day 1

I try to plan out a weekly menu, so that I can get all of the major grocery shopping done in one trip, make life easier during the week, and save money.  One of the most common tips out there to help with menu planning, is to make a large amount of something one day to then reuse in different ways throughout the week.  This week, I decided to try it...roast some chicken- and enjoy it 3 ways.

Day 1: Roasting Day: Oven Roasted Chicken and Sauteed Spinach with Lemon and Shallots
The recipes that I picked for later in the week require 2 cups of meat each.  I estimated, rather generously, that I would need about 9lbs. of whole chicken (for 3 dinner recipes and a few lunches).  Whole "fryer" chickens happened to be on sale for .99/lb this week at the grocery store... so, I picked up two of them and headed home.

Although I wanted to use flavors on the chicken which would be versatile, so that it would easily fit into the recipes that I chose... I also wanted to make sure that the chicken had enough flavor to stand alone both tonight, and perhaps for lunch. So, I went with my favorite flavors, and tried it out... the result: some of the best oven roasted chicken I've ever made.

Chicken Seasoning (for 2 chickens)
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp. (or so) dried oregano
6 chopped garlic cloves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Ground black pepper
Kosher salt

First, I tossed out bag of chicken-parts from the centers of the chicken, rinsed them out, and rubbed them down with some kosher salt.  Then, I mixed the butter, garlic, lemon, basil and oregano together, and rubbed the mixture under the skin of the chicken and all around the skin. Next, I stuck half of a lemon inside each chicken.  Then, (thanks to my husband Matt, who quickly looked up a how-to video, and had the patience to do so), the chickens were trussed, and into the oven.  Baked at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, (after about 20 minutes, I poured about 3cups of chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan), then at 375 degrees for another 30. After making sure the thermometer agreed that they were done (read 180 degrees), I took them out of the oven to rest.

While the chicken was resting, I sautéed some shallots in a little bit of olive oil, added most of a bag of spinach (I don't do a good job of measuring things...), stirred to wilt the spinach, then added a pinch of salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and a splash of lemon juice... delicious!!

Coming tomorrow night: Day 2: Chicken and Corn Chowder

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