I decided to put my culinary powers to good use today and do something a little different!
For the first time in my entire life, I roasted an entire chicken!! I did this not only because it was something different than my normal dinners, but because it seemed incredibly economical. The organic freerange chicken I bought at the store last night was only $4.50 and it made for a great dinner with tons of leftovers. Thats like a dollar a meal! I feel so proud! Anyways, the chicken I bought was 3.5 pounds, which was the smallest size I saw. I thought that would be easiest to work with. I consulted Nigella Lawson’s “How to Eat” book on the specific chicken roasting techniques and it was actually incredibly easy and much faster to do than what I thought. Plus, my house smells great!
Here’s what I did (its not really a “recipe” so I’m just going to write it here for you all):
I took a 3.5 pound chicken and washed and dried it with cold water. In a roasting pan I added 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 large shallot and about 5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled. I stuffed half a lemon up the chicken’s butt (excuse the bluntness here) and rubbed about another tbsp of olive oil all over the skin. Then, I lightly salted and peppered the whole thing and stuffed a couple peeled and smashed garlic cloves underneath the skin. Its important to leave the skin ON when roasting a bird because it lends a ton of flavor to the meat as well as moisture. I don’t eat the skin because it seems too fatty for me, but it is incredibly easy to just peel off after its cooked.
I cooked the chicken at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, breast side up then flipped it and did 20 more minutes. I flipped it once again (breast side up again) for another final 20 for a total cooking time of about an hour. When it was done it smelled heavenly and the garlic and shallot had roasted in the pan wonderfully and had turned all soft and caramelized.
After the chicken was done I transferred it to a plate lined with foil then went to work on the pan sauce (aka au jus). I made a simple “gravy” using the drippings in the pan combined with the lemon juice squeezed from the half of the lemon I used for the chicken as well as about a half cup of chicken broth. It was very easy because I just transferred the roasting pan to my stove top and cranked that baby up so the sauce bubbled and reduced to a thick, lemony chicken juice. You could easily just throw away the drippings and the garlic and shallot but it was SO GOOD. I smashed the garlic and shallot into the sauce and then poured a bit over my chicken breast. YUM!!!!!!
With my chicken I made some simple couscous and brown sugar and butter baked butternut (see recipe in section). The chicken “sauce” ( I refuse to call this a gravy because it is not thick at all, rather clear and fragrant..not at all fatty, thick and gross) ran into the couscous and turned it into a mountain of delicious golden grains.
This meal seemed to good NOT to have a glass of wine with so I had a small (3 ounce) glass of red. The entire thing was perfect from start to finish…one of those old fashioned comforting meals your mom made you when you were a kid. I already have a killer lunch planned out with leftovers!!!
This meal (including glass of wine) was about 536 calories.
SO, on to the rest of my day!
For as long as I can remember, I have ALWAYS been an active member of a gym. I have loved going to group exercise classes, meeting fun people, lifting weights…all that jazz. Since I moved here in October I have just been using the tiny (and boring) “gym” at my apartment complex. It consists of 2 treadmills and some free weights and I’m always the only one there. Some gym. So today I went and joined an actual gym near my apartment…bally total fitness!! I’m SO excited because joining a gym makes me feel like I’m a part of an actual community and I really haven’t met that many people here in Orlando since I go home all the time and am so busy with work and school. They already scheduled me with a free visit to a personal trainer for thursday and I’m excited about that because with all this cooking/baking I do I really am starting to feel the need to “tone up”…and I can’t do as much yoga as I would like here because I just don’t have time and the yoga place is 25 minutes away with traffic. So, yay! I’m excited and just wanted to share that with you all!
When I went to Bally today for a tour and everything they let me have a free workout to see if I liked it…I actually had a really good strength workout! I did lunges and squats on one of those half balls (not sure what they are called) and hamstrings on a big ball. I also did chin ups and some arm resistance machines. It felt great to be back with civilization working out! After I came home I made my favorite snack of 4 ounces cottage cheese with 8 kashi crackers and some jam.
Snack calories = 186
I think the hardest part about roasting a chicken is the clean up. Luckily I just finished that so I can get back to the AMAZING book I am reading! I can’t put it down!!!
Edited to add that I just had 2 of those “petite schoolboy” cookies and peppermint tea for dessert! 130 calories…yum!!!