I’m a picky eater, always have been. I’ve expanded my palette over the last couple years by eating more of the foods I used to not care for. One of those is chicken–I’ve never been a huge fan of chicken in any form. I didn’t even eat chicken nuggets as a kid. The best way to fix that is to eat more chicken, and I do eat more chicken now than, say, 5 years ago.
This past week was a chicken week in our house. I decided to roast my very first whole chicken, and you know what… it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be! I bought a fresh, almost-5-pound whole chicken from the store Monday and roasted it that night. I cleaned it up, slathered it in butter, sprinkled it generously with salt, and roasted it in the oven for a little over an hour. It came out tender and very juicy; I even carved it myself!
The instructions I used said to cover it while it cooked, but I used a cast iron Dutch oven instead of a standard roasting pan, so the chicken didn’t get brown and the skin wasn’t crispy. Next time, I’ll take the lid off for the second half of the cooking time and see if that does it.
I served the chicken with smashed new red potatoes (thicker than mashed potatoes), canned sweet peas, and fresh cooked carrots. (It’s hard to get a picture with the phone above your head!)
I only ate half of a breast (I’m still working on liking chicken!), and Nate ate the meat from both wings and one of the legs, which left one and a half breasts and one leg leftover. I also saved the juices in the bottom of the pot after roasting the chicken. I strained it and refrigerated it.
The next night, I chopped the half-breast that was leftover, heated it, and served it over a bed of Romaine lettuce with chopped tomato and Caesar dressing for a chicken Caesar salad. I bought croutons, but forgot to put them on the salad that night! I also forgot to take a picture of our beautiful salads. I don’t know where my mind was Tuesday…
For supper Wednesday night, I used the leftover breast and leg meat for homemade chicken noodle soup. First, I sweated onion, carrot, and celery in butter, then added the leftover chicken pieces to heat them through. Since I had refrigerated the roasting juices from Monday night, the fat rose to the top and solidified. I was able to easily scoop that off and throw it away, and then I added the jellified juices to the veggies along with water and store-bought chicken stock. Once that boiled, I added some spices (salt, pepper, and ground thyme) and egg noodles and simmered the soup until the noodles were cooked.
The noodle to veggie/chicken ratio was way off–next time, I’d probably use half as many noodles and would choose a different noodle, as these were so large, they were difficult to eat with a spoon. But the flavor was spot on. I actually drank my broth, which is something I don’t do when I eat store-bought chicken noodle soups! And Nate seemed to enjoy it too.
Overall, it was a good experience cooking with chicken all week and finding ways to use the leftovers. We still have chicken soup to eat (it filled the 5-quart Dutch oven pot!), but that’s definitely not a bad thing. 🙂