We are a family of five, so I am always trying to stretch my weekly food dollar as far as possible. Here are two delicious, nutritious, economical and easy meals to make from one roasted chicken and vegetables.
The vegetable medley in this recipe calls for carrots, parsnips, red potatoes and sweet brown onion, but I also like to use turnips, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and whole garlic cloves. Roasted sweet potatoes are the Bomb, but unfortunately not in soup because they have a tendency to disintegrate. So, please add them to the roasting pan if you like, just don't put them in the soup. Small white beans make a great addition as well as brown rice or bow tie pasta. If I am including potatoes in the soup I usually don't add another carb, but hey, it's your soup so add whatever sounds good to you.
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It is my experience that if each component of a meal has great flavor on its own, then the meal as a whole will taste wonderful. If you use herbs on your chicken and veggies they will be delicious and consequently so will your soup. I always drizzle about 2 teaspoons of olive oil on my chicken then rub the oil over the skin with my hands to distribute evenly. I combine salt, pepper and any herbs I wish to use in a small bowl to sprinkle over the chicken and vegetables.
I serve a green salad and some quinoa cooked in chicken broth with this meal.
Roasted chicken with vegetables
Pre-heat oven to 375
Cook on middle rack
16" to 18" roasting pan with lid. 18" is preferable, 4" deep is preferable
1- 5 pound roasting chicken. Remove neck, etc. if applicable
1-16oz bag of parsnips, skin peeled off and ends removed
1-16oz bag of carrots, skin peeled off and ends removed
11/2 pounds small red potatoes, washed, skin left on, cut into quarters
2 medium sweet brown onions, peeled, cut into quarters
4 teaspoons olive oil, 2 for the chicken, 2 for the vegetables, more if needed
I had to use a 16" pan which was a bit crowded, so I tossed the veggies with a slotted spoon half way through the cooking process so they would cook more evenly.
Herb and salt combo: 2 teaspoons course salt
1 teaspoon course ground pepper
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
This herb and salt combination is just a suggestion; change it up if you like. You will have approximately 61/2 teaspoons of herb mixture.
Parsnips are funny looking vegetables and come in some pretty odd shapes, but sweet and delicious when roasted. I just go-with-the-flow, peel them and quarter them if possible. If you cut your carrots and parsnips to be similar in size, they will cook more evenly.
This part of the prep requires some hand washing with hot water and soap; better safe than sick!
Pat the chicken with clean paper towel to remove any excess moisture, discard used paper towel. Place the chicken in the middle of the roasting pan. Wash your hands. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and rub the oil over the bird with your hands or a small brush until evenly coated. Wash your hands. Sprinkle about 2 to 3 teaspoons of herb mix evenly over the chicken.
Put all of your prepped vegetables in a large glass or stainless bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil. The goal here is for the vegetables to have a fine coating of oil so the salt-herb mixture has something to hold on to. If you feel you need more oil, add 1 teaspoon at a time and toss the vegetables with your hands until the oil is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the remaining herb mixture over the vegetables 1 teaspoon at a time, toss with a large wooden spoon after each addition to distribute evenly. Place the vegetables evenly around the chicken. Cover roasting pan with the lid, place in the oven. Remove the lid after 45 minutes to let chicken brown. You may toss vegetables with a slotted spoon at this time. Roast for another 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 180 degrees when inserted into the breast meat. Don't allow the tip of the thermometer to touch any bone. Remove pan from oven, cover with the lid and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Refrigerate left-over's.
Chicken and Vegetable Soup
2-32 oz containers of chicken broth. I like Trader Joe's Organic
Remove as much of the remaining meat as you can from the chicken carcass and set it aside. Put the chicken broth in a large soup pot and add the chicken bones. Bring broth to a simmer for about 45 minutes. In the meantime, shred chicken or cut into bit size pieces and set aside. You should have about 2 cups of chicken. Cut vegetables into spoon friendly pieces and set aside. You should have around 3 cups. The amount of chicken and vegetable you have will of course depend on how much you have left over from dinner. If you have less than the amounts mentioned, you may want to add pasta, rice, or something else of your liking to extend the soup.
Strain broth and bone mixture into a large heat proof bowl, then return the broth to the pot. Discard the bones. I usually put the bowl with strainer in the bottom of my kitchen sink and pour the soup through the strainer there. This helps if you have splashes or spills. Just don't forget the bowl like I did one time, most of the broth went down the drain before I realized what I had done!
Return the pot of broth to the stove and add chicken and veggies. Put the lid on and let the soup sit for about ten minutes. The hot broth will warm up the meat and vegetables. Or heat on medium low until it's to your liking. Serve. Refrigerate left-over's.
I hope you enjoy these two comforting meals while we are having cold, rainy weather.
Erin Walgamuth  has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe  section.