One of our families favorite meals is roast chicken. This is by far one of the most economical, healthy and delicious meals I have been able to figure out. On average a chicken is about $3.50 and the vegetables are inexpensive as are the seasonings. Here is how we cook it:
1 whole chicken
1/2t each herb assortment whatever you have on hand I tend to use summer savory, thyme, oregano, parsley
extra virgin olive oil
(any other root veggie you have around)
Make sure your chicken is good and thawed. Clean it out in the sink and discard the innards and bags of stuff. I haven't figured out how to use the insides yet, if you know please tell me so I can squeeze a few more pennies out of this bird. Once the bird is clean put it in a good sized roasting pan. I really like to use a stoneware pan or cast iron for this dish. Start by pouring olive oil on the bird and spreading it everywhere (about 2-4T). Make sure to get the cavity. Then mix your herbs and seasonings together and scrub all over the bird. Be generous with the seasonings and herbs if you run out of mixed herbs and think the bird is not covered well, make more! Stuff the inside of the bird with aromatics such as an orange, lemon, onion or shallot cut in quarters. These help to keep the bird moist from the inside. Cut up your veggies and mix with salt, pepper, olive oil and thyme. Spread around bird. Bake 425 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the bird is 170 degrees.
Take the juices and put in a saucepan to make gravy. Mix the juice with a bit of water maybe 1c and boil. Mix 2T of arrowroot powder or cornstarch with enough cold water to make a paste. Whisk into boiling juice and continue to whisk until it is thick. You probably won't need any additional seasonings, but try it first. If needed add some salt and pepper.
Once your meal has been devoured take all the leftover meat off the bones and use for chicken quesodilla's tomorrow at lunch. Or cut up the leftover veggies and chicken, mix with the gravy and make a pot pie. Better yet, you can take the broth that you'll make out of the bones and make soup.
To make broth: Put the bones in a crock pot. You can add an onion, carrot and celery with a bay leaf or just do the bones and cover with water. Leave on low overnight or for at least 12 hours. Strain and freeze or refrigerate.