I know, I know–an entire roasted chicken serves way more than two people. I get that. I have plans, though; boy, do I have plans. We’re going to roast a chicken, and use the meat in 3 meals for two throughout the week.
I’m having a hard time with dinner lately. Pre-baby, I looked forward to making dinner from scratch, every night. And while cooking is definitely my sanity, there are times lately when I need the night off. I need a break a few nights a week.
I’ve been searching the internet for make-ahead recipes, freezer meals, crockpot recipes–all those things that typical Moms love. But, if I can say it: I’m not your average Mama.
My love for cooking and making things from scratch is limitless. It is a fire in my soul, and I will not give it up for anything. Even if we eat dinner at 8:30pm after she’s in bed, it will be a damn fine dinner.
I will get my butt in the kitchen and cook from scratch as much as I wanna, even if there’s a tiny human clinging to my leg, even if I have to wear the tiny human in a wrap while also shielding her from fry oil—dammit, I will do it! Cooking makes me happy, and just because I pushed out a baby doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on it. Don’t give up on things you love, Mamas, ok? Trust me on this.
I’m writing this for myself. I’m not ordering you around. If I tell you I’m not going to let anyone steal my joy of cooking, I’m less likely to let it happen, k?
Lately, on the weekends, I’ve been making dinner recipes that make a huge batch, and then freezing half for freezer meals. It’s an excellent idea…if you are one of those people who can remember to defrost the night before. I seem to have so much optimism that I can pull of homemade dinner up until about 3:00 everyday, when I finally cave and realize it’s not going to happen. Yesterday, I pulled Mel’s Black Bean Lasagna out of the freezer at 4:30pm. Thanks to a super hot oven, we ate at 7:15.
My new approach is to make some protein, and use it in several meals throughout the week.
First up: roast chicken and a starchy side. Two people will eat what they can from the chicken, and then I will repurpose it throughout the week! I’ll be sharing recipes to use up the leftover chicken in the coming days, ok?
I love this recipe because, though it has a 75-minute bake time, it has a 5-minute prep time to get the bird in the oven. Once the bird is in the oven, I order you to sit down for 30 minutes with your feet up. Just do it, ok? You deserve it. When there’s about 30 minutes left on the bird cooking, start making the fritters.
Let’s talk fritters. I’m obsessed lately. I got into them because all of my French baby food cookbooks say they’re a great way to get kids to eat vegetables. We all know Camille has no problem eating her vegetables, but I thought I would make her carrot fritters one night. I had to jazz up the original recipe with onion and cumin (Camille loves bold flavors), and we liked it…but, I thought it was too sweet. So, next time around, I added two beets, and I think it’s perfect! We could all use a little more blood-cleaning beets in our life, no?
While you’re waiting patiently for the fritters to cook on each side (use your biggest pan so you make as few batches as possible—a pancake griddle, even!), stir together some plain yogurt, ricotta (or Parmesan or whatever you have), a dash of salt, cumin, and cilantro for a dipping sauce.
So, a little over an hour to make dinner, but it includes 30 minutes of time to put your feet up, make yourself a cocktail, and chase the baby around. We can do this! Don’t give up on me!
Roast a chicken tonight, and use the leftovers throughout the week to make healthy meals! The carrot beet fritters are an upgrade to typical mashed potatoes on the side!
15 minPrep Time
70 minCook Time
1 hr, 25 Total Time
- 1 5-pound organic whole chicken chicken
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 medium carrots
- 2 medium beets
- 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil (depends on your pan size)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- fresh cilantro, for garnish
- salt and pepper, to taste
- First, make the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425, and have a small roasting rack ready. If you don't have a roasting rack, use a 9x13" pan and line the bottom with celery or thick-sliced onions to prop the chicken up.
- Wash and dry the bird.
- Slice the lemons into quarters, and squeeze half of them over the skin of the bird. Stuff all of the lemons into the cavity of the bird.
- Sprinkle plenty of salt and pepper all over the bird, followed by the olive oil. Rub the olive oil over the entire surface of the skin.
- Place the chicken in the oven and set the timer for 70 minutes.
- About 30 minutes before the chicken is done, start making the fritters.
- Grate the carrot first, and place it on a few paper towels. Pat it lightly to dry it out.
- Next, grate the beet and do the same thing on the paper towels, but beets have a bit more water, so give it a few good squeezes in the towel to remove more water.
- Pour the oil in a cast iron skillet (or similar) and turn the heat to medium-high.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coriander, salt and pepper.
- Add the grated veggies to the egg mixture and stir to combine.
- Once the oil is hot in the pan, use a 1/4 cup scoop to place the veggie mixture in the pan. Lightly press the mixture down into a semi-flat patty.
- Fry on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
- As each fritter comes out of the pan, place it on a wire rack to let excess oil drip away.
- Next, stir together all of the yogurt-ricotta dip ingredients, and set aside.
- Check the chicken when the timer goes off--the inner, deepest part of the thigh should register 165 F, and the juices should run clear.
- Let the chicken rest on the counter for 10 minutes before carving.
- For the first dinner for two, I usually serve 1 breast, 1 leg and 1 wing. That's plenty of meat for two in our house.
- Wrap up the remaining meat for another recipe!
If you already made this recipe, and you have leftover chicken in your fridge, now is the time for my Asian Chicken Noodle Soup! Just when you thought chicken soup couldn’t get any better, it just did!