Roasted Chicken, simplified

Oftentimes, moms feel like they just don’t have time to cook healthy for the family. Many “healthy” recipes are long and involved and use strange ingredients. I know. I’ve been there, done that. And I do enjoy cooking, and when/if I have the time, I like to try out those exotic new recipes. But for most weeknights, I just need something easy and simple. This Roasted Chicken is one of those meals.

For those who have never roasted a whole chicken before, the process seems intimidating. There’s that strange stuff inside of it, the question of how to cook it, and endless recipes to wade through of brining, various temperatures, herbs, rubs, marinades, etc. I’m here to say that a roasted chicken can be extremely simple, not to mention frugal and healthy too! My weeknight roasted chicken recipe only takes about 5 minutes of prep time.

I know there are various recipes that can make a roasted chicken a culinary masterpiece. And I realize there is a time and place for masterpieces in the kitchen, but for me, most days, I just want to get something healthy and easy on the table to feed my family. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure the fancier roasted chicken recipes taste better. But this roasted chicken recipe is for the moms with toddlers hanging onto their legs throwing a tantrum. Ain’t got no time for lemon juice and rosemary sprigs and sea salt brines.

This “recipe” (although I can’t really call it a recipe, it’s so simple) is a great weeknight meal. It will also likely give you leftovers for lunch or even another dinner later in the week. It only takes about 5 minutes of active prep time on your part, and then 90 minutes in the oven time. It’s similar in taste to those rotisserie chickens you can get at the grocery store, but this is much healthier because it doesn’t have the “flavoring” injected into it like the supermarket chickens do. (look at labels! “natural flavoring” = who knows what is in your chicken)

So first, you buy that big, raw, whole chicken. In my neck of the woods, these roasters are about 5 pounds, and typically about $0.95/lb, roughly $5.00 for the whole thing. If your family is smaller than mine, it’ll probably give you 2 meals worth of meat. We sometimes get 2 meals out of it depending on how hungry the children are.┬áThe leftover meat can be used for chicken tacos, or served on a salad or sandwich, or put in soup.

Ok, now for the “recipe”. Put the chicken, still wrapped in your sink. Cut the plastic off, and then get “the guts” out. Kind of gross, but cooking is not for the faint-hearted. Neither is motherhood. Or life, I suppose. So, “the guts” are just sitting inside the chicken and you simply scoop them out with your hands and into the trash. Some brands wrap them nicely in paper which makes it a tad easier, but it’s still inside the chicken. Now, use some paper towels to blot the outside of the chicken so the skin is dry. (This will give it the nice crispy skin)

Then put the chicken on the baking pan, breast side down. (this keeps the breast meat juicy and not dried out). It’ll probably look a little lonely and sad laying there. You can throw a few big sweet potatoes on the pan to keep it company and cook alongside if you want too.

Drizzle a little oil on top. If you’re feeling fancy, add some salt and pepper too. But if the toddler is still screaming at the base of your feet, you can easily skip the salt and pepper. I speak from experience.

Bake at 425 degrees F for about 90 minutes.

Voila. Done. Simple.

Serve with a couple sides or a salad. Dinner is done.

No, it won’t win any awards. But it is healthy, easy, and frugal. My kind of meal.

Be fruitful, healthy, happy. And simplify your chicken.