I am a huge fan of cooking (and eating, for that matter) whole chickens. It wasn’t until about 6 months ago when we bought our first deep freezer that I actually had space to stock up on whole chickens; and, come to think of it, I’m not even sure I had ever cooked a whole chicken before that…
But now, I stock up on them whenever they go on sale and never buy them unless they are $0.79/lb or less (sometimes Stater Brothers sells them for $0.69/lb, making them around $3.00 for a whole chicken). I can usually get two to three meals out of one chicken, which makes for a huge savings. It’s hard to justify buying a package of three or four chicken breasts for around $9.00 when I can get a whole one for 1/3 the price. So, I usually have about three in my freezer at all times and use these to get me through the month.
There are several ways to cook a whole chicken (crockpot, oven, grill), and I’ve found some recipes that I love and tend to repeat. I usually stick to regular herbs and flavors when cooking just so I can use the leftovers in another recipe (it would be hard to make enchiladas with orange-glazed chicken…), but those off-the-wall recipes are always an option. Regardless of the recipe you choose, it’s hard to mess up a whole chicken because they’re naturally yummy. Plus, they are so easy to make; once you add your herbs, you usually just leave it to cook for an hour or so and you’re done. In the words of one of my favorite infomercials: “Set it, and forget it!” (anyone? Just me? Ok.)
Here are three of my favorite, easy recipes for cooking a whole chicken.
1. Dry Rub Chicken with Honey BBQ Sauce (Cooking Light)
This recipe is ridiculously delicious. The BBQ sauce goes on after you barbeque the chicken, so you don’t have to worry about it interfering in your leftover meals. The homemade sauce is the perfect combo of sweet and tangy and the chicken tastes so good coming off the barbeque! It’s also a low calorie meal, even with the sauce.
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2. Roast Chicken with Panzanella (Rachel Ray Magazine)
This is the best way to cook a chicken in the oven, because the skin comes out so crispy and beautiful. The Panzanella (bread salad) is optional to serve as a side, but it’s so yummy, easy, and cheap to make, and I highly recommend it.
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3. Roast Chicken (Saveur.com)
This is a very simplistic recipe, but still yields a yummy chicken. I’m a huge fan of fresh herbs, and have my own little herb garden that I pick from. I love to stuff whole chickens with rosemary and thyme before baking.
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After you’ve eaten your meal, strip the meat from the carcass (this can take a while, and you’ll find it hidden all over the place!), put it in a ziploc bag or tupperware for a leftover meal or freeze it. I also like to save the carcass and boil it the next day with onions, carrots, and celery to make homemade chicken stock. I freeze the stock and pull it out when I need it for recipes.
Next week I’ll be posting some of my favorite chicken leftover recipes so you’ll know just what to do with all that excess chicken!
Do you make your own whole chickens? Share your favorite recipes!
See more of my favorite chicken recipes