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Winner winner, chicken dinner? You bet – every night this week.
Early on in my kindergarten years, I walked home all by myself from the school. I was rewarded with my choice of dinner. What did my little, picky, five-year-old mind choose that fateful day? Chicken. Not chicken nuggets, just straight up chicken. For some reason, it was a favorite. Through the years, that has stuck with me, especially as I cook for my own children.
One of my family’s biggest money-saving and sanity-saving tricks is cooking whole chicken. We spatchcock them, stick them in the crockpot, cut them into pieces for barbecue basting, and of course, roast them in the oven.
It might not sound like much, this preparing of a chicken, but because of a little work on the weekend we’re able to enjoy protein in our meals with very little extra work on our part. And because we’re able to stretch the chicken day after day, we save quite a bit of money in the long run.
Today’s post kicks off More Cluck for Your Buck, a series of recipes designed to show you how to stretch your chicken without getting stuck eating chicken salad sandwiches over and over.
Using chicken in this way allows it to be less of the star of the meal and more of an accompaniment, something that is important when you are trying to get more vegetables or whole grains in your diet.
When we first started roasting chickens, it was simply because we like chicken, but because we don’t have a large family, we always had lots of leftovers. Now, my husband is fine with plain leftover chicken until it’s gone (he’s the same way with Thanksgiving turkey), but if you’re like me you need a little more excitement when it comes to serving up leftovers so you aren’t tempted to run out for cheeseburgers.
I loved coming up with the recipes in this series, and I hope you’ll enjoy them too. If you want to save time, you can always pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, although I find they are almost always on the small side, making only a few leftovers.
This simple recipe for roasted chicken uses seasonal orange instead of the more common lemon, and rosemary, one of my favorite herbs. It does take a while to cook the chicken, making it an ideal recipe to prepare on a Sunday when you have some extra time.
Orange Rosemary Roast Chicken
- 4 pound whole chicken
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 orange
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 onion
- 2 pounds potatoes, cut into large chunks
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Trim neck from chicken, and remove giblets (if included). Wash chicken, if you like (the jury is still out whether you need to). Pat dry.
- Rub chicken all over with 3 tablespoons of the butter. Zest orange and sprinkle zest onto chicken, then quarter orange and place it in the cavity. Add the rosemary to the cavity.
- Cut the onion into large chunks and place about 1/4 of them into the chicken.
- In a Dutch or French oven, place the remaining onion and potatoes. Add salt and pepper.
- Place chicken breast-side up on top of potatoes. Salt and pepper liberally.
- Roast for 15 minutes at 425°F, then bring oven down to 375°F. Remove chicken and rub on remaining butter, and continue roasting for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165°F (it will go up a little as it rests).
- Let chicken rest, tented with foil, for 15 minutes before serving.
- Serve with the roasted potatoes and onions, and a green salad.
When you’re done with dinner, be sure to save all the meat and the carcass so you can prepare the rest of the recipes to come!
More chicken recipes you might like: