roast chicken

Step One: Roast a chicken. Use the easiest method known to man—simply drying, trussing, salting, then cooking for an hour, no big deal, barely a blip in your day. Get so excited about this process that you have your picture taken with the bird. (Tell yourself that’s not weird at all.)

Step Two: Share the chicken with a friend for dinner, and share the recipe with everyone you know on your blog. Talk about it, Tweet about it, brag about it over and over again. (Tell yourself that’s not weird at all either.)

3 chickens to roast

Step Three: Because of the serendipity of timing and Twitter and blog connections, have your friend Jacqui over to do the whole thing over again. Times three. Find her at the front door carrying a bag full of snacks and groceries, ready to cook, and thank your lucky stars you know her. (And that she’s someone who gets the excitement of roasting a chicken completely.)

chickens roasted

Step Four: Eat. Eat while the chickens roast (hummus, red grapes, crackers topped by goat cheese and fig jam). Eat after the chickens roast (sliced meat fresh off the bird, whole wheat bread, sauteed dandelion greens with ramps and raisins and pistachios). Eat for days and days after (sandwiches and salads and anything else with chicken! chicken! chicken!).

chicken fig panini

Step Five: Think to yourself, amidst all this eating, how nice it is that something small like roasting a chicken for dinner one night can lead to something awesome like roasting three with Jacqui. Remember every day our small things—words of kindness to a friend, evenings spent in meaningful conversation, asking someone a question instead of assuming you know the answer—push towards patterns and reactions and changes that become big and, while in themselves seem simple or inconsequential, put together can change the course of our days and so our lives.

roast chicken salad

Think about this while you eat salads at your work desk. Think about this while you make paninis for dinner. Think about this as you plan to roast another chicken sometime very soon.

Chicken-Fig Panini
Adapted from My Recipes

After learning of my great love of fig jam, Jacqui sent me this recipe, which I have now made twice!

1/4 cup fig jam
Slices of your favorite bread (I used sprouted Ezekiel bread)
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces chopped roasted chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups greens (I used leftover dandelion greens, but they’re a bit bitter)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Assemble each panini in this way: spread fig jam on cut side of one slice of bread. In a small bowl, combine goat cheese and butter, stirring until smooth, and spread over cut side of other slice of bread. Arrange chicken evenly over cheese mixture; sprinkle with pepper. Place top half of bread, jam side down, over chicken.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add sandwich to pan. You can top it with a cast-iron skillet to help press it, but this made me burn the first time. Basically, you want to brown it and flip, browning the other side.

Place greens in a bowl and drizzle lemon juice on top of them, tossing gently. When panini is browned, remove top piece of bread and add some greens into the sandwich before putting the bread back on top.

Lunchtime Salad
There’s nothing really important about this recipe other than the fact that I made it something like FOUR DAYS IN A ROW, with slight variations, because that’s how much I liked it. All you really need to know is: add a bunch of stuff you like and enjoy. But here’s what that meant for me.

Greens (I mixed Trader Joe’s Champs Elysees mix with dandelion greens)
Chopped roast chicken
Nuts (Almonds or pecans or walnuts, for example)
Dried fruit (Raisins or apricots work nicely)
Goat cheese
Lemon juice
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil

Combine everything but the lemon juice, balsamic and oil in a large container and then add the dressings as you like. Enjoy!

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Tim

    totally weird… aaaaaaaaand I love it.

  2. hootenannie

    Did I tell you that I followed your instructions and roasted my first chicken for Mother’s Day? TRUSSED AND ALL! You’re right: there is no better feeling… except for, apparently, having a friend like Jacqui who “gets it.” :)

  3. Kim Shenberger

    I think my family is on to you. Every time you blog about roast chicken, I end up roasting a chicken, too, because they are so yummy and smell so wonderful when they are in the oven and they are so easy and everybody loves them.

    Roast chicken. It’s what’s for dinner (tomorrow)

  4. Sue

    Lovely post- nothing like a good chicken… or a good friend!

  5. Celeste

    Roasting chicken for dinner as we speak.
    Along with some roasted carrots and potatoes. One of my husbands favorite dinners. Collecting brownie points I am.

  6. Maddie

    Ah, such nice timing on this post! I’m about to start receiving my summer CSA share, and I’ll have more salad greens than I can handle. Plus, I’ve been racking my brain to come up with simple, delicious lunches to take to work. Two birds, one stone! Thanks for the great ideas. :)

  7. jacqui

    man. who knew so much good stuff could come from one chicken? what should we make next??

    p.s. you rock.

  8. Randy Peterman

    I would strongly recommend that you consider making a chicken-yogurt-noodle soup with a fresh home-roasted chicken. Warning: it takes all day. First, roast the chicken(s), then pull off the meat and make broth from the carcass, then make soup from the broth and the meat. It is genuinely amazing (and can be done in several days if you want/need.)

  9. Kim

    Look at you and all your goat cheese! I’m so proud 😉

  10. Shannalee

    Tim, Haha! :)

    Hootenannie, You did!? I am so proud! And Mother’s Day is the perfect time to do this. I love that you trussed for your mom. :)

    Kim, Yay! Happy to help you (and your family)! Ha!

    Sue, True, true. And you are one of the best friends I know!

    Celeste, sounds delicious!

    Maddie, I literally ate salad four days in a row for lunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Congrats on starting your summer CSA; you know it’s summer when you start getting boxes of vegetables each week. :)

    Jacqui, Right? And I don’t know, but we’ll have to think of something. For now, let’s let the people at Honey do it for us! See you next Saturday!

    Randy, OK, I’m in. It just so happens I saved my chicken carcass for just that purpose. I need to get on it!

    Kim, You should be! I loooove goat cheese now. Thanks again for showing me the light!

  11. Celeste

    Did I call it or what?
    Husband comes home from work asking what’s for dinner and as soon as I tell him roasted chicken with roasted veg. he lights up like a Christmas tree.

  12. Gemma

    That sandwich sounds incredible. I love having leftover roast chicken in the kitchen. Gx

  13. Dana

    The panini sounds so good! I love fig anything, though I have not tried fig jam as of yet.

  14. Shannalee

    Celeste, Ha! Nice work!

    Gemma, Thanks and me too!

    Dana, You know, fig jam is basically the only fig thing I’ve had (well, fig newtons, but do those count?), so maybe I need to branch out. The jam is amazing – you have got to try it!

  15. Susan

    I almost roasted a chicken tonight but then Mike got two small cornish hens with the thought that they’d cook more quickly, and because we’d never had them before.

  16. Shannalee

    Susan, I’d love to hear how your hens turned out!

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