Have Yourself A Healthy Little Christmas

Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Roast Chicken

Looking for a Christmas dinner that’s a little different from the traditional fare but just as special and delicious? Try a variation of one of my go-to nutritious dishes—roast chicken and potatoes! This meal is even better when it’s prepped a day ahead, which can ease some of your stress with all the holiday hustle and bustle. When it’s chow time, all you have to do is throw the feast in the oven and spend some time with the ones you love. The instructions are the same for each recipe, so pick the variation that suits your holiday mood, fix up the marinade, prep the chicken (up to a day in advance), and let the oven do all the hard work. Easy, healthy, and satisfying!
Roast chicken with vegetables and sauce on a festive plate setting. 
For a bigger crowd, this recipe can be easily doubled with the chickens placed side by side on the same large sheet pan. While the chicken is resting after coming out of the oven, I like to work on a family-favorite all-purpose side dish: roasted cauliflower. Quick and simple, all this takes is fresh or frozen cauliflower pieces plus a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I put the veggies in the oven to roast at 475℉ for 20-25 minutes until the tips are caramelized and golden brown. And that’s it! Dinner is served.
Cheers to real fresh, real delicious food with the ones you love! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A shot looking down on a plate of roast chicken with vegetables and a green sauce, plated in a festive way.
  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken and potatoes in a food processor or blender and blend, scraping down sides as needed, until a thin paste forms, about 30 seconds.  
  2. Cut out chicken's backbone with a sharp knife or kitchen shears and open the chicken out flat with skin side up. With your palm, firmly press down the breast area to flatten (you should hear a snap when the breast bone breaks).  Stuff most of the herb paste under skin (separate skin from meat gently with a spoon if needed), and spread remaining marinade all over the rest of the chicken (the easiest way to do this is in a casserole dish). Cover casserole dish and place in the refrigerator to marinate until ready to cook, up to 24 hours. The longer marinade time will make a more flavorful dish.
  3. When ready to begin cooking, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400F. Scatter potatoes evenly on a sheet pan. Sprinkle potatoes evenly with salt pepper to taste. Place chicken, skin side up, on top of potatoes.  Pour any excess marinade from chicken over potatoes. Roast 70-90 minutes until the thigh meat reaches 175℉ on an instant read thermometer and the juices run clear.  Check potatoes about halfway through cooking; if pan is dry, add 1/2 cup of water.  
  4. Allow chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. Serve with potatoes and pan juices on the side.  

Mediterranean Roast Chicken with Green Olives, Fennel Seeds, and Thyme

A pan of roasting potatoes next to a bowl of mixed ingredients.
Adapted from The Perfectly Roasted Chicken by Mindy Fox
1 3½ to 4 pound chicken
3 lbs red or gold potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
For the marinade:
1 cup pitted green olives
2 Tbs dried thyme
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs kosher salt (or 1 Tbs table salt)
Follow directions above.
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!

Peruvian Roast Chicken with Cilantro and Jalapeno Sauce

A roast chicken fresh out of oven, surrounded by potatoes and marinade  
1 3½ to 4 pound chicken
3 lbs red or gold potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
For the marinade:
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbs ground black pepper
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs ground cumin
3 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 ½ tsp fresh lime zest
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 habanero chile, seeds and ribs removed (use gloves when handling)
1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed and chopped coarse
2 Tbs kosher salt (or 1 Tbs table salt)
Follow directions above.

Cilantro and Jalapeno Sauce

A food blender full of a green sauce.
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ sour cream
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
½ cup jarred pickled jalapenos (mild variety is best)
2 tsp pickled jalapeno juice
1 medium bunch cilantro leaves and tender stems (use entire bunch)
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon of kosher salt)
Instructions for sauce:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender for about 1 minute until all ingredients are smooth and well blended. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve with Peruvian chicken.


Balsamic Roast Chicken and Potatoes

A seasoned roasting chicken with a pan of roasting potatoes in the background 
Adapted from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
1 3½ to 4 pound chicken
3 lbs red or gold potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

For the marinade:
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped coarse
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tightly packed cup of fresh basil leaves
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 slices of bacon or pancetta, chopped
1/2 cup high quality balsamic vinegar (thicker, well-aged varieties are best)
2 Tbs kosher salt (or 1 Tbs table salt)
Follow directions above.
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all holiday needs! 

Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas.