One big lifestyle change I’ve made on this simple life journey is eliminating, or at least limiting, as much convenience food as possible and replacing it with real food. This means I’ve definitely been doing a lot of old-fashioned home cooking, from scratch of course.
The rotisserie chickens at the grocery store are a quick and easy meal, but don’t be fooled. It’s still a convenience food. Not convinced? I’ve compiled a list of reasons why a homemade roasted chicken tops the ready-made rotisserie version hands down. Then stick around for a simple herb roasted chicken recipe that will knock your socks off.
- Control over the quality of your chicken–
It’s always a win when you know where your food comes from, and with meat and poultry, how it was raised. When you roast your own bird, you decide where it comes from.
Your local farmer’s market is an excellent option because you can ask these questions to the farmer directly. Organic, Free-range, locally raised chickens are the healthiest and most sustainable choice.
Although this option is not always easily attainable, there are still better options than the mystery grocery store chicken. I often times will get the organic whole chickens from Costco. I’m happy knowing my bird is GMO and antibiotic free.
- Custom Seasoning–
Who knows what your store’s deli seasons their chickens with. It’s definitely not fresh herbs! Here is the ingredient list for the whole rotisserie chickens from Wal-Mart:
“whole chickens without necks and giblets, water, salt, sodium phosphates, carrageenan, rubbed with: maltodextrin, spices, garlic powder, modified corn starch, salt, dehydrated lemon peel, paprika, soybean oil, dehydrated parsley, malic acid, sodium acetate, natural flavors, citric acid, yeast, fumaric acid, spice extractives.”
If you’re trying to eat real food, many of these ingredients do not qualify. Roasting your own chicken gives you SO many options for seasoning while avoiding additives.
- Saves you money–
So, the convenience of the pre-made chicken is that you don’t have to cook it right? Well, you still have to go to the store to get it. What happens when you go to the store? You impulse buy. OK, so maybe not everyone is guilty of this, but there is a reason why big chain stores hire marketing people to make sure consumers are buying more than they came there for. It’s true!
I do realize that unless you buy your bird at the farmer’s market, (which of course is the #1 option) you will still have to go to the store. The trick is to buy more than one chicken. If you have two or three or more in your freezer, that’s two+ fewer times you would have gone to the store to pick up a pre-made bird. So, even if the grocery store rotisserie chicken is, in fact, less expensive than the high-quality bird you purchase and cook yourself, it will most likely save you from impulse spending and save you money.
- Good practice for holidays–
Roasting a chicken is not much different from roasting a Thanksgiving turkey. It’s just on a smaller scale. So, every time you prepare that chicken and experiment with the TONS of different herbs and spices, and prep techniques, you are one step closer to having a kick-ass Holiday Turkey.
- Self-sustaining skill–
If you are like me and are trying to gain more self-sustaining habits, then this is one of those skills that is a must. I don’t know if I will ever be a person to raise and butcher my own chickens, but I will for sure know how to cook one. It may be a homesteading baby-step, but it is a skill that is becoming tossed aside in this fast paced world. If grandma cooked all her chickens from scratch, then so can I!
- Ooooh baby, that amazing aroma–
Depending on how big your chicken is, it cooks in your oven for a good hour or more. In that time, your house fills with that beautiful and yummy smell. FedEx was delivering a package when I had a chicken roasting one day, and the delivery guy went on and on about how amazing the food smelled. My kids had their little noses near me every time I opened the oven to check on the chicken. It’s one of those things that just makes me smile. It also ties in with the next reason.
- Bragging rights–
Another feel good reason. I love it when my husband brings left-overs to work for his lunch, and all his co-workers comment on how good the food looks and smells. It is a great feeling knowing that you cooked that amazing and healthy meal from scratch, and it’s OK to brag about it a little. Or, have a spouse that will brag about it for you 😉 . It might even inspire others to ditch the grocery store chicken and climb aboard the DIY train.
- Creates family bond and memories–
This is true of any home-made meal. If you cook something from scratch and involve the whole family, memories and strong family bonds are being developed. Take time to slow down and let your kids snap the ends off the green beans or sprinkle the spices on the chicken, it’s something that might stick with them forever. It is also educational for kids to know where their food came from and how it was prepared and why it is a better option.
Kid’s are also more willing to try foods that they helped prepare, so it might get your picky eater to try something new! I also hope that my kids will grow up knowing how to roast a chicken from watching and helping me and not from a google search. Then it can become a tradition that might continue on for generations.
So, there you have it. 8 simple reasons to ditch the grocery store, pre-made chicken. Now, that you’ll never buy one of those again, here’s a quick recipe to get you started roasting your own.
1 Organic whole chicken, 3.5-5 lbs
1 Small white onion, chopped
1 Apple, any variety, chopped
A small handful of fresh herbs of your choice (I like lemon basil). Or a sprinkle of dried.
2 T butter
Pre-heat oven to 475° .
On a medium, shallow, roasting pan with a rack, place your chicken breast-side up. Tuck the wings under on both sides. With clean hands, separate the skin from the breast. Spread some fresh (or dried) herbs and 1 Tablespoon butter between the skin and the meat of each breast. Fill the body cavity full with onions, apples, and herbs. Any extras can be placed under or around the chicken. With kitchen string, figure 8 the string around each leg and pull them tight together, then wrap the string around each side of the bird and tie together at the front of the bird. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, lower oven temp to 375º and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 165°. Remove from oven and tent with aluminum foil. Let chicken rest for 10-15 min.
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