How to maximize that whole chicken

How to maximize that whole chicken

(HealthDay)—To get the most out of a whole chicken, roasting is the way to go. It's an easy and flavorful way to prepare this protein-rich, lean meat, plus you'll have dinner for two and lunch for the next day.

Simple prep steps make the job easy. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions not to rinse of any kind—the droplets of water can splash around the kitchen, actually spreading bacteria. So unwrap the chicken and place it directly in your roasting pan. Check inside the cavity for any giblets, usually the neck, gizzard, heart, and liver. You can use them to make stock for a future recipe, but skip the liver (it's larger than the heart) since it can make the broth bitter. Just roast it along with the chicken for a tasty extra morsel. After prepping the bird as directed in the recipe and before placing it in the oven, be sure to wash your hands and any areas of the kitchen the chicken was in contact with.

Roasted Chicken and Chicken Salad
For the roasted chicken:

  • 1 4-pound roaster chicken
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the chicken salad:
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt or a no-salt blend

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and tuck the wing tips behind the breast. Rub all over with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes until the skin is golden brown, then lower the heat to 350 degrees. Continue to cook for 45 to 60 minutes until the juices run clear or the at the thigh joint reads 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer (make sure the probe touches only meat, not the bone). Allow to rest for five minutes on a counter to allow the juices to redistribute. Slice off the breast meat and serve with a salad or steamed veggie of your choice.

After dinner, once the chicken has cooled, remove all the meat from the legs, thighs and carcass. Discard any skin. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl with the celery, mayo, Greek yogurt and seasoning. Toss well, cover and refrigerate. Serve with lettuce leaves or on whole grain bread for a healthy lunch the next day.

Yield: 2 servings from each recipe.

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More information: Get more tips on the safe handling of chicken from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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