Cooking When You’re Home for Hours


When it’s a work-at-home-day or when other reasons beckon you to stay home in the warmth and comfort of your fuzzy slippers, when you want to hunker down, or batten down the hatches in preparation for a storm (real or imagined or emotional), it’s good to put something tasty in the oven.  Hopefully, it will take hours to cook and fill your home with delectable smells of what’s to come.

There is a very easy way to do this.  Buy a chicken — a roaster.  Not one of those itty- bitty fryers, even if you’re cooking for one.  (I’ll give you easy ideas for freezing and/or using the leftovers.) Roasters take longer to cook.  This is the whole idea!

Also get some baking potatoes, organic preferably. Scrub them and set them aside to dry a bit.

So you’ve got a chicken and potatoes.  Rinse the bird under the faucet, put it in the baking pan and pat it dry with a paper towel.  Make sure you’ve removed any giblets in the main cavity of the bird.  Rub the chicken with olive oil.

Then rub, slather or sprinkle the chicken with ANY ONE of the following:

1. A spice-rub that you might have on hand.  Penzey’s Spices has many of these.  BiCentennial, Southwest, and Northwoods Seasoning are just three of my many favorites. I love this company and there’s nothing better than opening an order from them and indulging in opening the jar of nutmeg for a whiff!! Their spices are so fresh!  (Did you know that a spice you buy in a grocery store can already be a year old??? Yikes.)   You won’t believe the difference.  You’re so welcome.

2. OR Fresh or dried herbs you have on hand.  Again, check out Penzey’s for the dried herbs — they have heavenly Tarragon! herbs-growingIf you have a Rosemary bush outside your door or down the street, all the better.  Take a few big sprigs, rinse under running water and shake off.  Strip the leaves off (hold the sprig at the top and strip from top to bottom.) Chop. Put all over the outside of the chicken and throw a generous size sprig or two into the cavity. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.

3.  OR Mix 1 tablespoon of paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 1/2 cup of sour cream.  Slather it all over the chicken.  Yes, I know it looks gross at this stage, but wait until it bakes.  Yum.

4. OR Tuck leaves of fresh Sage and about 10 chopped cloves of garlic under the skin on the breast.  Simply separate the skin from the breast meat by sliding one finger between the skin and the meat.  Loosen and clear away the connective tissue and voila!  You’ve got room for spices. Put the Sage and garlic there.  Squeeze lemon juice mixed with a tablespoon or two of olive oil all over.   Add salt and pepper.

Put the baking potatoes rubbed with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper around the bird. Put all into a preheated 350 degree oven.

Many recipes say 20-25  minutes per pound  for roasting a chicken, but I find for a 5-6  lb roaster, it takes longer than that per pound, about 2-1/4 to 2-1/2  hours total.  If the legs move easily, and the juices run clear (or almost) you’re good to go.  Always let the bird sit about 10 minutes before carving.

SAVE the drippings.  Put the bird on a plate to carve and pour all the drippings into a glass container and put in the refrigerator.  Tomorrow you’ll skim off the grease that rises to the top and you have the most delicious ready-made sauce in the world.  See below for uses.

Final Product!
Final Product!

Oh, and the leftovers!

1. If you don’t have hungry mouths around to finish up the chicken, take several servings and put in separate freezer ziplock bags, label them with the contents and date and freeze.  Put a little of the defatted drippings into the bag, like a tablespoon or two.

2. Make any kind of pasta (wheat, kamut, rice) and add the chicken and a veggie and a little of the pan drippings (without the fat).  Delicious.

3. Buy a cheese or vegetable  pizza and add the chicken to it and bake. Or use a tortilla (corn, wheat, spelt, Ezekiel) and make a baby pizza. pizza3Start with pizza sauce or fresh tomatoes. Then add a little garlic, leftover veggies, the chicken and ANY kind of cheese –crumbled feta, small dollops of soft goat (chevre) cheese, grated cheddar, parmesan, fresh or regular mozzarella. The possibilities and taste sensations are endless.

4. Have a warm chicken salad.  Warm the chicken gently, then add it to your favorite purchased or homemade Vegetable salad.

5. Put chicken in your morning omelette or have breakfast for dinner!

What’s your favorite way to use leftover chicken?  Let me know!

To all things gustatory,

Terri Crosby

Cooking and Baking, food, Penzeys Spices, recipes, Terri Crosby

Comments (8)

  • Well, thank you very much. It sounds so good and it’s 11pm. Now I’m gonna have to find a chicken that is on sale in the middle of the night.
    Just kidding. Great post.
    I like to make chicken salad with grapes, chicken noodle soup, and gravy to store in the freezer.
    Okay, well maybe I will go find one.
    See what you’ve started.

    • Nancy,
      So how did that “middle of the night” chicken hunting go?!!!
      Hats off to you, hope it all turned out great.

  • Oh, I forgot to tell you. I was also looking for other canned stuff on my “master list”. I told myself it would be worth the 12 mile drive, if I could cover several items on sale. I’ll be darned if chicken plus a few things I buy in bulk were on sale. Me, my husband, and a giant cart… our “peanut” was at my mom’s… in the store at 2am. We had a big, sexy roast chicken for lunch and dinner. Then, I made stock, gravy, soup, salad … some of which I froze minus the mayo and grapes.
    Normally, I don’t give in to whims like that, but your post really just made me crave it. I am a little ashamed of myself for giving in like that, but it was soooo good.
    And after all life is short.

    BTW, I love that garden picture.
    Feel free to drop by my back porch for a visit at:

    • Awww…sweet comment! Good to be talking to you lately! And if I can’t cook for you directly, the least I can do is give you my recipes!

  • Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  • Raiul,
    Thanks for writing! I think your English is fabulous compared to any second language I’ve tried!!!

  • Hello !!! 🙂
    I am Piter Kokoniz. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: what was the reasson for you to start this blog?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you:)
    Your Piter Kokoniz, from Latvia

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