How to cook a Roast Chicken and Ten Ways to Use the Leftovers!

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Today, let’s talk about one strategy that can save you time in the kitchen without making you sacrifice a healthful, home cooked meal: The Roast Chicken. Roast chicken is my key to a better week. After I roast a chicken, I get about two cups of leftover chopped chicken, plus – I get a bonus because I use the bones to make homemade broth!

When I roast a chicken over the weekend, the leftovers from the roast are used in lunches and dinners for the week. This cuts my weekday cooking time, and also gives me ample opportunity to get more creative with my meals. For example, this week, I used leftover chicken in a casserole and in a chicken salad. Leftovers from this one roast chicken covered our lunches for the week and most of our dinners!

Here are ten ways to use leftover roast chicken:

1. Chicken casserole (I make mine with pesto, chicken stock, brown rice, frozen chopped broccoli and frozen artichokes)
2. Chicken enchiladas
3. Chicken salad (I make a no-mayo lemon poppyseed chicken salad or a Mediterranean Chicken Salad)
4. Chicken soup
5. Tortilla soup
6. Chicken stir fry
7. Chicken chili
8. Baked ziti with chicken
9. Chicken and dumplings
10. Pizza with chicken and pesto

Now, some of you may not want to roast a chicken, and instead opt to get a rotisserie chicken. While I think that is ok to do in a pinch, rotisserie chicken can come with a lot of extra sodium. Instead, I keep it simple. Prepping a roast chicken doesn’t take too much time, and you can do other things around the house while you wait for your chicken to roast.

Here’s how to cook a roast chicken:

1. Choose an organic chicken from the grocery (Why organic? see why by visiting my post about sustainable food).
2. Clean your sink and surrounding countertops using green cleaners.
3. Cut a small orange into quarters and place it next to the sink.
4. Fill a ramekin with a teaspoon each of black pepper, dried thyme and rosemary and place the mix next to the sink.
5. Put a roasting pan next to the sink too, and set your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
6. Open the roast chicken packaging in the sink and let all the juices run down the drain.
7. Run water over and through your chicken. If there are giblets (these are the organs packed in the chicken cavity), take those out. I usually throw them away, but some people use it to make sauce or gravy.
8. Place your rinsed chicken on a roasting pan.
9. Fill the chicken cavity with slices of orange (lemon works well too!).
10. Sprinkle herbs on and in your chicken until the top, sides, and bottom of your chicken are covered.
11. Place your chicken in the preheated oven
12. Clean your sink and counter tops while the chicken is cooking.
13. After your chicken has cooked for an appropriate time (about 90 minutes – you can see when the chicken’s juices are running clear), use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken has an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees fahrenheit. To do this, check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. (see chicken from farm to table for more information about food safety and chicken)
14. Let your chicken rest for 10 minutes, carve, and then enjoy!

On this blog, I want to present creative ideas to make you more productive. And, one way to do that is to offer you strategies that will give you more time. If you want to eat healthfully on a budget, most of the time you have to cook at home. But, this takes up so much time! By roasting a chicken on the weekend, you can use the leftovers in many different ways to make delicious, healthful meals that won’t stretch your budget.

So tell us: How do you use leftover roast chicken?

Let me know by commenting on this post!

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