How to roast a whole chicken, and use the leftover chicken all week long! Plus, a recipe for carrot beet fritters that my kids LOVE!

How to roast a chicken and ways to use the meat throughout the week

How to roast a whole chicken:

I know, I know–an entire roasted chicken serves way more than two people. I get that, but I have plans, though. 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. While cooking is definitely my sanity, there are times lately when I need the night off.

I’ve been searching the internet for make-ahead recipes, freezer meals for two, crockpot recipes–all those things that typical Moms love. But, if I can say it:  I still miss actual cooking from scratch.

Carrot beet fritters for babies and picky eaters!

Roast chicken recipe:

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. I’m happy to share my method for how to roast a whole chicken with you, because it’s totally doable and includes a 30-minute rest period for you to relax!

Simple steps for how to roast a whole chicken:

While this recipe doesn’t require a special pan, it does require some prep work for the pan. If you have an actual roasting pan, rejoice! However, if you don’t, we’re going to approximate one by placing celery stalks or whole carrots on the bottom of a pan, and place the bird on top of that. 

Preheat the oven.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
Remove anything that came inside the chicken (innards, gizzards, etc.)
Slice lemons and squeeze half of them on the skin, and place the rest inside the cavity.
Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper very generously over all surfaces of the bird
Rub olive oil all over, and then place in the roasting pan.

What to serve with roast chicken:

I think every roast chicken needs a starchy side. 

Let’s talk fritters, because 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 loves 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.

Other options: make ahead mashed potatoes, funeral potatoes recipe, instant pot mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, chopped salad recipe, bacon wrapped asparagus, melting sweet potatoes, or instant pot mac and cheese.

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!

How long to roast a chicken:

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.

Learn how to roast a whole chicken, and set yourself up for chicken dinners for two all week long.

Yield: 4

How to Roast a Whole Chicken

How to Roast a Whole Chicken

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!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

For the lemon chicken:

  • 1 5-pound organic whole chicken chicken
  • salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the carrot beet fritters:

  • 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

For the yogurt-ricotta dip:

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Wash and dry the bird.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Place the chicken in the oven and set the timer for 70 minutes.
  6. About 30 minutes before the chicken is done, start making the fritters.
  7. Grate the carrot first, and place it on a few paper towels. Pat it lightly to dry it out.
  8. 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.
  9. Pour the oil in a cast iron skillet (or similar) and turn the heat to medium-high.
  10. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coriander, salt and pepper.
  11. Add the grated veggies to the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  12. 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.
  13. Fry on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  14. As each fritter comes out of the pan, place it on a wire rack to let excess oil drip away.
  15. Next, stir together all of the yogurt-ricotta dip ingredients, and set aside.
  16. 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.
  17. Let the chicken rest on the counter for 10 minutes before carving.
  18. 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.
  19. Wrap up the remaining meat for another recipe!

Notes

You can use any size bird from 4-6 pounds, just be sure to test with a thermometer when done.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1374Total Fat: 97gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 67gCholesterol: 447mgSodium: 731mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 113g

What to do with leftover roast chicken:

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!

Asian Chicken Soup

There’s also my broccoli rice casserole with chicken.

broccoli rice casserole with chicken

Don’t miss my Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas for two:

Green chile chicken enchiladas with two ingredient sauce

Or, try my small batch Chicken Salad with lemon aioli:

Chicken Salad with Pistachio and Dates @dessertfortwo