Editor's note: Visit www.vaildaily.com to read other columns in Tracy Miller's six-week series of columns featuring quick and healthy egg and chicken-centric recipes.
Americans eat 84 pounds of chicken per person, per year. Chicken is low in fat, high in niacin and good for the budget. I buy my whole chickens organic since I can stretch one bird into two or three more meals. Roasted chicken is a timeless main course. Freshen it up a warm fennel blue cheese salad and you have a colorful meal - company worthy!
Roasting means cooking with dry heat; in the oven or over an open flame. Roasting meat and veggies gives the food a rich, deep caramelized crust. For this oven roasted chicken, we will use high heat to start the cooking, then lower the heat to finish the bird assuring moist meat, registering 165 degrees when done. While the oven is warm, a simple sliced, warm fennel salad will complement the lemon chicken. (Log onto Colorfulcooking.com for the fennel salad recipe.)
Starting on the stovetop, then moving the pan to the oven is a culinary trick to cooking quickly. Last week, I prepared this simple, colorful egg frittata in minutes on TV8 and everyone loved it. This vegetarian sweet potato bean frittata is a protein and fiber packed breakfast that will get you out of the house quickly!
Roasted lemon chicken with fennel
5 pounds raw chicken
1 large onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon rosemary or thyme, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Heat oven to 400.
Remove the innards from the chicken and discard (or save for another use). Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
Slice the onion in quarters and slice the lemons in half.
In a bowl, mix olive oil, rosemary or thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Place the chicken on shallow baking pan with a rack or a cookie sheet with a rack, this will allow the heat to circulate around the bird for better cooking. If you do not have a wire rack, use whole carrots and round sliced onions to make a plate of veggies that the chicken can cook on top of. That will allow the fat the drip away from the bird.
Stuff the onion and lemon quarters in the cavity of the bird, close the drumsticks and use twine to secure.
Using a spoon upside down, separate the skin from the meat and place some of the olive oil mixture under the skin, rub it over the meat as best you can.
Rub the outside of the skin with a little olive oil and place the chicken in the oven. Turn on your vent, this will get a little smoky.
Cook at 400 for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and cook until chicken registers at 160, about 45 minutes more.
Let chicken rest for 10 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165. Enjoy!
Log onto Colorfulcooking.com for the fennel salad recipe.
Sweet potato frittata
1 medium sweet potato
3/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 ounces cream cheese
2 chipolte peppers in adobo
Salt and pepper
Wash the sweet potato and cook it in the microwave for three minutes or until semi soft.
Peel sweet potato and chop into 1/4-inch cubes - about 1 cup.
Heat broiler in oven to high.
In a 8-inch cast iron skillet, place 2 teaspoons canola oil over medium heat, add sweet potato and cook for five minutes.
In a bowl, beat eggs for 30 seconds, allowing a lot of air to mix into the eggs.
Add eggs to cast iron skillet and let cook for five minutes. While the eggs are cooking, break the bottom with a knife to allow some of the uncooked eggs to hit the bottom of the pan, twirl around.
Evenly spread black beans over eggs and place skillet under broiler for about 4 minutes or until eggs are cooked through. You can tell if they are cooked, if they are fluffy and firm to the touch.
Mix cream cheese, diced chipolte, cilantro and lime juice and serve spread over frittata.
Tracy Miller adds fruits and veggies to all her meals. Log onto Colorfulcooking.com. Tracy cooks Halloween style on TV8 Monday morning and teaches a holiday cooking class at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards Saturday. Visit www.colorfulcooking.com to read more.