By ALP Friend and Tucson Training Camp Chef Patricia Dowd
What’s for dinner? I recently learned this question is dreaded by many people who find cooking a chore, intimidating and something they would rather not spend their time doing.
I love to cook and find it relaxing. It’s a way for me to: be creative, support local farmers and ranchers and eat seasonally. Preparing good food for myself, friends and family is one way I take care of myself and show love to people in my life. One of most favorite things to do is cook dinner, drink wine and listen to music with Erik, friends and family. I am lucky to know people who also like to cook and appreciate good food.
During the ALP Cycles Coaching Tucson Training Camp, I was the camp chef. Every morning I cooked breakfast for 20 hungry cyclists; three nights I made dinner.
One of the most well received meals I prepared during camp was roasted chicken. If you have time after a long ride on the weekend, or a rest day early in the week, toss a whole chicken into the oven and use the chicken meat for a few meals later in the week. Easy, delicious, healthy and not super time consuming cooking. You can do it!
Whole roasted chicken (adapted from Dr. Junger’s Clean):
One of my favorite meals—whole roasted chicken with veggies. You can use the meat and roasted veggies for meals later in the week and use the bones for making a soup broth.
• 14 to 5 pound whole chicken (buy local, organic if possible)
• Fresh sage, rosemary and/or thyme (use dried herbs if you have those on hand)
• 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 lemon, coarsely chopped
• A few cloves of garlic peeled
• Veggies of your choice: Carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, onions, beets, butternut squash - whatever veggies you like and have on hand. Root vegetables will probably withstand the roasting process better. Use enough veggies to cover the bottom of a roasting pan.
• Olive oil
• Sea salt or course kosher salt
• Fresh ground pepper
Directions: Two hours before roasting, remove chicken from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Remove any organs from the cavity. Rinse chicken and pat the inside and out dry.
Preheat the oven to 475°F (Pro tip: open the window in your kitchen. High heat cooking = smoking up the house. Trust me on this one!) Generously season inside the cavity with salt and pepper. Fill cavity with some onion, lemon, garlic and a few sprigs of herbs. Slip hand under the skin of the chicken over the breasts and legs without ripping the skin. Place several sprigs of sage, rosemary and thyme, garlic and lemon under the skin. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the chicken, rubbing all over the skin. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Prepare vegetables, leaving them in fairly large chunks. In a large bowl, toss with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil plus salt and pepper. Spread in a large roasting pan. Nestle chicken into the center of the vegetables. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is golden brown, and the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before carving.
While chicken is roasting, make some brown rice or quinoa. Make more than you will eat with your chicken dinner, saving leftovers for meals later in the week.
Carve chicken. Enjoy with roasted vegetables, salad, rice or quinoa. A nice glass of white wine or a zinfandel goes great with roasted chicken.
Store roasted chicken meat in the frig. Store carcass in frig or freezer. Use to make soup broth.
Not sure what to make with the chicken meat? A few easy weekday meals:
Shredded chicken tacos
Shred cooked chicken. In a medium bowl, combine chicken with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and fresh lime juice. In a medium skillet or cast iron pan, sautée some chopped onion, garlic and jalapeño for a 3-5 minutes. Add seasoned chicken. Cook until fully heated.
While chicken is cooking, heat corn tortillas (over an open flame, in a little oil in a pan, in the oven on a pizza stone). Top tacos with avocado, lettuce, fresh lime juice, cilantro (unless you are Alison Powers and do not like cilantro!), cheese, salsa, hot sauce. Serve with rice, and/or black beans. Or toss everything into a tortilla for shredded chicken burritos!
Chopped chicken salad (with quinoa, rice and/or leftover roasted vegetables)
Chop cooked chicken and leftover roasted veggies (if using). In a large bowl, toss in lettuce, arugula, mixed greens or kale. (If using kale: shred kale from stalks, massage kale, add salt and a little lemon juice, massage until kale is dark green. Let rest.)
Add salt and pepper to greens and toss. Add chicken, leftover veggies, rice or quinoa. Add chopped cucumber, shredded carrots, whatever veggies are in the frig and sounds good to you.
Add lemon juice, olive oil and your choice of vinegar (I like to a combination of rice, red and balsamic vinegar in my salads). Toss salad with your hands to fully combine and coat vegetables with salt, peppers, olive oil and vinegar(s).
Top with roasted pepitas, toasted walnuts or almonds. Eat and enjoy!
Cooking at home and eating healthy is one way you can improve and meet your overall health, fitness and training goals. You get to choose how you fuel your body. Fuel it well. Bon appetite!