If you roast a chicken, you can eat for nearly a week with little work. And almost nothing is better than the smell of a roasting chicken. Saturday or Sunday is a great time to roast that bird. If your family is large, why not roast 2 chickens. No more work and you will have plenty of meat. Turkey can also be prepared and used in the same manner.
ROASTING A CHICKEN IS REALLY EASY. First, you have to buy the bird. Fryers are OK but a roaster (older and larger) is a better choice but either will work. If you are buying a fryer, buy the biggest you can find. It is a better buy. You will get more meat in relation to the weight of bone. Any type of pan will work if it is large enough to accommodate the chicken. I like to add potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and sometimes parsnips to the roasting pan with the chicken. They are bathed in the chicken juice and taste awesome. They also acquire a beautiful, caramel color while roasting.
HOW TO ROAST. I usually roast a chicken at 375 degrees until it reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees. The amount of time will depend on the size of the bird. A 6-pound roaster will take about 2 hours while a small fryer will be done in probably less than an hour. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, stick a sharp paring knife into the meat between the breast and thigh. Juices will run clear when meat is done. Another way to know if the meat is done is to move the leg. It should easily move.
When meat is done, remove it from the oven. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Place the veggies in a serving dish. Drain the pan juices for serving. Carve the meat. You are ready to enjoy a feast.
What to do with the leftover meat? Hopefully, you have a lot and can use it for additional meals. That is why I suggest buying a big bird or roasting 2. Leftover chicken meat is “gold” for later meals. Before the meat is refrigerated, it is best to completely remove all of it from the bone. Do NOT throw the bones and skin away. It makes a great chicken stock.
TO MAKE CHICKEN STOCK, place the bones and discarded skin in a large pot. Add cut up onions, carrots and celery with some dried thyme, parsley (stems only are fine). Do not add salt. Cover with water and allow to simmer for a couple of hours. Your house will smell heavenly. Strain and refrigerate the stock. Throw away the bones and veggies. When the stock is chilled, the fat will be at the top. You can remove and discard, although the fat is great to use for frying potatoes.
So now you have LEFTOVER MEAT AND STOCK. What do you want to do? A quick and easy idea is to make chicken sandwiches and add a few noodles to the stock for a quick soup. Nice lunch or even light dinner. You could use the meat and make chicken enchiladas. Or how about making a big pot of chicken and noodles? I like to enrich the stock with a can or two cream of chicken soup.
If you think you will get tired of using chicken every night, you can freeze the meat and the stock and use it later. Whenever you decide to use the meat and the stock, it will be ready for a creative and but quick meal preparation. Roast a chicken and eat well for a week! Remember, Thanksgiving is coming soon. Turkey can also be prepared and used in the same manner.