Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday: Roasted Chicken with broccoli and mac and cheese

Mac and cheese from a box, broccoli from a bag, and a great big fat chicken makes this dinner easy and effortless.

1 Whole chicken (3-5 lbs.) will be used for other recipes this week.
1 box of macaroni and cheese
milk and butter for macaroni and cheese
broccoli (I used a steamers bag from the frozen section at the store)

Not sure how to roast a big, fat chicken? The truth is, there are many moms who are afraid to cook a whole chicken in fear that they won't do it right and it won't be cooked enough. Really, though, it is very easy, and all you need to make sure it is cooked enough is a thermometer. I am using my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker and cooking our chicken in the microwave, actually. In just one half hour, I can cook an entire chicken in my microwave using my deep covered baker. This chicken will be used for several meals this week, but the first meal is eating the chicken with macaroni and cheese and broccoli.
Start by taking your chicken out of it's packaging and reaching in and pulling out its inards (giblets) :) Definitely, my least favorite part. Using clean hands, run some cold water over your chicken and wipe dry with a paper towel. Stick your chicken in your baker and brush with olive oil. I sprinkled mine with rosemary seasoning. Other good seasonings with chicken are thyme, sage, or tarragon. If you are using a deep covered baker (which is a piece of stoneware) you can cook it on high for one half hour in your microwave, and then check its temperature. If you are using a roaster in the oven as a general rule, calculate a cooking time of 20 minutes per pound of meat plus an additional 10 - 20 minutes at a temperature of 350ºF (176ºC). Therefore, a 5 lb chicken will need to be roasting in the oven for at least 1h 50 mins.
2½ - 3 lbs should take 1 - 1¾ hrs
3½ - 4 lbs should take 1½ - 1¾ hrs
4½ - 5 lbs should take 1½ - 2 hrs
5 - 6 lbs should take 1¾ - 2½ hrs

A thoroughly cooked chicken should be a temperature of 180 degrees, when using a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken's thigh, without touching the bone.
I typically will wait a little bit for the chicken to cool and then cut into it. Every time, I always end up using my hands to get the rest of the meat off because I don't want to waste any of it. Don't be afraid to tough your chicken.

Next up: the broccoli.We used broccoli cut steamers with our chicken and sprayed on some "I can't believe it's not butter" and sprinkled a little salt. Serve and smile.
Refrigerate your leftover chicken for other meals this week.

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