Earlier, I said I was going to post about my new outlook on chicken. It's not so much a new "outlook," rather, it's my new approach to cooking chicken.
I roast whole chickens.I've started doing this for a few reasons. The main reason is that whole chickens are really cheap.
You can usually find whole chickens at any regular grocery store for about $1 per pound. The cheapest I ever find fresh or frozen chicken breasts for is about $1.97 per pound. Granted, with a whole chicken you're paying for bones and skin that will be discarded, so 4 pounds of a whole chicken does not equal 4 pounds of chicken meat. But I still think it comes out to be cheaper.
The other reason I like cooking a whole chicken is that it's very time effective for me. A problem I often encounter while making dinner is that my children don't like for me to ignore them for 30-60 minutes straight while cooking. I can easily find that much spare time throughout the day to work on dinner, but to get it continuously all at once is difficult. I like finding meals I can work on ahead of time (like when the kids are napping), so that there's little left to do right before we eat. Roasted chicken is one such meal.
I use Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken recipe. It's pretty quick and easy. I put it in the oven a few hours before dinner. As you can see in the picture up there, I add chopped carrots to the bottom of the pan before cooking. The juice from the chicken flavors the carrots as they cook. And the natural sugar in the carrot caramelizes them just slightly. Mckay and Dallin will both eat these carrots! So with little effort, I have a delicious roast chicken and the vegetable all ready for dinner. Sure, you can get a rotisserie chicken from the store. But this is a whole lot cheaper.
Since we are just a small family of 3 eaters, we usually have quite a bit of leftover chicken. That's another thing I love about making a whole chicken. I have leftover meat pre-cooked, shredded or cubed and ready to go for a future dinner. We can usually get about 3 meals for our family out of one 4 or 5 pound chicken. I've used the chicken for tons of different dinners like:
Shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches
Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos (sooo good)
Chicken Tortilla Soup (a great hearty soup for a cold day, with a little spice to it)
Chicken Salad Sandwiches or Wraps
The chicken is flavorful and juicy enough that you can eat it by itself as the main dish, but it's a "clean" flavor that won't clash when you dress up the leftovers for other dishes.
I still use regular ol' chicken breasts in meals I need uncooked chicken for, or at times when I don't feel like making a whole chicken. But I like this new approach I've found. And I feel so cool cooking up a fancy whole chicken for a regular weekday meal like it ain't no thing.