Easy Roast Chicken with Lemon, Rosemary & Garlic /Spinach Mandarin Orange Salad

Growing up I loved Sunday dinners at our house, fried chicken, a good old fashioned pot roast, chicken and dumplings or chicken with mom’s homemade noodles. Scrumptious eats made with love by my mom – it just doesn’t get any better than that. Thank you for those great memories Mom! Friday night hubby Tom and I were in Whole Foods and they were having a one day sale on organic free range whole chickens so we bought a couple to cook up for our own special Sunday dinner. You can’t go wrong with lemon, rosemary and garlic, they were tailor made for chicken. A whole chicken satisfies both my love of white meat and hubby Tom’s favorite the dark meat. I do like a drumstick or a chicken thigh now and then but white meat remains a favorite!

Lemon Garlic Rosemary Chicken

We decided to try a new to us method of roasting the chickens. First the whole chickens are butterflied – meaning the back is cut out and the chickens are flattened. This methods carves off almost a half hour on the roasting time! That means if you wanted to, you could have this meal on a weeknight and not just for a Sunday dinner. Since we had never butterflied a chicken before this You Tube Video taught hubby Tom how to go about it. He said it was easy and worked like a charm.

 Lemon Garlic Rosemary Chicken

This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbook authors- Pam Anderson and is in her cookbook How To Cook Without a Book. Anderson suggest to go ahead and cook two chickens since you have the oven going. We took her advice and cooked two chickens. The leftovers will come in handy later in the week for making my favorite Rosemary Chicken Salad. This  chicken was super moist – yes even the white meat and the flavor of the rosemary, garlic and lemon was perfect!

Of course you can leave the second chicken plain, seasoning it simply with salt and pepper so it’s more versatile. It can be cut up and frozen for future heat and eat meals. Or it can be deboned, shredding or dicing the meat as you go. At this point I like to freeze it in 4 ounce bags making it easy to thaw out just the amount I need for a recipe. Precooked chicken is perfect in any of these recipes such as Chicken Cheese Enchiladas, Baked Chicken Taquitos, Chicken Nachos, Quick & Easy Pierogie Casserole, Chicken & Pasta Bake with Basil, Cheesy Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Shells or Creamy Chili Corn Soup with Black Beans.

Easy Roast Chicken with Lemon, Rosemary and Garlic.

  •   3 – 3 1/2 pound whole chicken, butterflied, rinsed and patted dry *
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (I only used about 2 teaspoons)

1. Adjust oven rack to the lower middle position. Pre heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Make sure to use a rimmed baking sheet as there will be a lot of juices.

2. Mix the lemon zest, garlic cloves, rosemary, salt and pepper in small bowl.

3. Butterfly the chickens, loosen the skin so you can get under it and spread the herb mixture evenly over the meat under the skin. Pat the skin back into place. I also seasoned the outside of the chickens with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4. Place the chicken halves on the prepared rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, place in oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and squeeze lemon juice over chicken, place back in oven and continue to roast until juices run clear about 5-15 minutes longer – depending on how large the chicken is.

5. After removing from oven, let chicken stand for 5 minutes before cutting. We discard the skin and cut into serving sizes.

Serves: 4- 6

*You Tube Video on How To Butterfly a Chicken
Note: If you want to cook a second chicken without the lemon, rosemary and garlic just season it well with salt and pepper under the skin and proceed with roasting instructions.

Recipe adapted from Pam Anderson’s cookbook How To Cook Without a Book.

Spinachc Mandarin,Craisin Salad

This spinach, mandarin orange, Craisin and walnut salad with Liquid Gold Salad Dressing has been showing up on our menu a lot lately. We love this salad and sometimes we have it twice in the same day. I could just add a little of the leftover roasted chicken and call it a main dish! The Liquid Gold Salad Dressing is perfect on a spinach salad and with the fruit you get a little extra liquid from it’s juice which adds so much flavor. My daughter Katy pointed out to me that she likes to buy the baby spinach instead of the baby mixed greens because if they aren’t eating up the spinach fast enough as a salad she can sauté the spinach as a side dish. That doesn’t work with the baby salad greens. Great tip Katy!

Spinach, Mandarin Orange Salad with Craisins and Walnuts

For each person

  • 3 cups fresh organic spinach
  • 1/2 tablespoon Craisins
  • one mandarin orange, peeled (Feel free to use apple slices, pears, strawberries, grapefruit segments or blueberries.)
  • one walnut half – chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Combine everything together in a medium size bowl and toss to combine.

Serves: 1

Estimated Nutritional Information*

Calories 138.2, Fat 4.6g, Cholesterol o mg, Sodium 100.6mg, Carbs 19.4g, Fiber 5.5g, Protein 3g, WWPP 4

*You can also use a Raspberry or other fruit flavored purchased salad dressing or a Balsamic dressing.

A Nutmeg Notebook Recipe

*The nutritional information and WW PP values posted on Nutmeg Notebook are my best estimates based on the brands of products I use and the software programs used to calculate them. If you rely heavily on the nutritional information and WWPP values I encourage you to double check the values given, using the brands of products you use. If you find big differences feel free to email me or leave me a comment letting me know.

Nutmeg Notes

The entire weekend was not spent cooking. We did get out for a little hike on Saturday. The first hiking trail we drove to didn’t work out as the water was too high to cross the river to reach the trail head! What a bummer – we were so disappointed. We still enjoyed the view and the drive there. Thank goodness hubby Tom had a second hike planned for us as the first one was going to be short anyway.

Yankee Jim's Trail This bridge was at our first destination where the hike didn’t happen!

WaterfallWe made our way to the second destination on one of the worse kept roads ever.

The journey although rough was worth it. It’s always fun when you get rewarded with a waterfall on a hike.

Hiking lunch

Home made sandwiches hit the spot for lunch.

Stunning View

The stunning view from the top.

Have a Fantastic Week!


Okay it’s your turn –  feel free to leave a comment, ask a question or just say hi!

Growing up did you have a big Sunday dinner?

Do you ever cook ahead?

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  1. Biz says:

    That’s so funny Tami because my blog post title today was called Sunday Supper! I love ending the week on that note – if only to eat at my dining room table – the other six days of the week we eat dinner in front of the t.v. and it drives me insane.

    And I just had a “duh!” moment – never thought to cook two chickens at once and use the second chicken for secondary meals and lunches, love it!

    1. Tami says:

      Great minds think alike Biz! We never ate in front of the TV when the kids lived here but since we have become empty nesters we sometimes eat while we watch a movie! Most of the time we eat at the kitchen table and I do prefer that. 🙂 So glad you had a “duh” moment about cooking a second chicken!

  2. Tish says:

    Thanks for this! The chicken looks great and that youtube chicken butterfly link is priceless. It looks much easier than I’d ever have guessed. Think this might be on our menu this weekend!

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Tish! The You Tube video was well done and easy to follow – easy for me to say as hubby Tom did the cutting! LOL! I think you will like this recipe – please come back and let me know what you think. Happy Cooking!

  3. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I was going to go to Whole Foods and get a couple chickens on Friday, but then I ran out of time. This sounds like a fabulous way to use them! And I really like the idea of making two so that you have leftovers.

    Great pics from the hike!

    1. Tami says:

      Andrea I hope they have this special again soon – what a great deal on the the chickens. I am always cooking ahead – I love having food prepared and ready to go. Since hubby is often times here for lunch during the week when he is working out of his home office I have to things he can easily heat and eat.

  4. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    As you know, I almost always cook ahead! 🙂

    In the cooler months, we almost always had a big Sunday dinner. I dreaded when the menu included roast beef–yuk! In the heat of summer, Sunday dinner was often a cold plate: sliced ham, potato salad, etc. or cooked on the grill. If there was any indoor cooking required, it was done early and the meal “rested” until time for dinner. Good memories.

    1. Tami says:

      Me too Cammy! LOL at the dreaded roast beef – I actually liked that one! The summer cold plate sounds delicious. We had lots of goodies from the garden in the summer months. Good memories indeed. 🙂

  5. Lori says:

    No big sunday suppers for us. The only big dinner we ever had were for holidays and company. Sometimes we would have a sunday breakfast. My dad would cook pancakes and eggs/bacon or make donuts.

    I do cook ahead. Even working from home in a household where we both cook, it just makes things easier to have stuff done ahead of time.

    1. Tami says:

      Lori what a great memory of your dad cooking a big breakfast! Yes, cooking ahead makes life so much easier. Since my hubby works from a home office part of the time he needs things that are easy to heat and eat for lunch. We love leftovers around here so it works out well.

  6. Laura says:

    Glad to hear your foot is doing well enough for you to hike. It’s so pretty in your neck of the woods. I lived there for a year, but couldn’t take the heat. We live closer to the ocean now.

    I love roast chicken; I make it at least once a week because it’s easy & my boys love it. I split a chicken like that and bbq it, but never thought to split it to cook the oven. What a great tip! I love using mandarin oranges in salads. I don’t eat spinach–it leaves a dull coating on my teeth, but I do love mandarins in tossed green salads. Have you tried a “massaged” kale salad? I’ve been hearing about it and tried it this weekend. It’s a definite keeper for my family.

    1. Tami says:

      Thank you Laura – the foot is improving and I am doing more and more. I am still working on building up my stamina – seem to get more tired than usual but that’s okay.

      You are right it does get hot over here in the valley – thank goodness we can escape to cooler places with just a short drive. Even though it gets hot here I still love where we live.:) I know what you mean about that dull coating on teeth from spinach. I get that from cooked spinach!

      I love kale in salads and have several recipes here on the blog using kale in salads. I don’t massage the dressing or oil into the leaves like some of the recipes I have seen but we love it chopped up and tossed with different dressings and other goodies. It’s super healthy too.

      Happy Cooking!

  7. Dawne says:

    Your photos of both nature and food are gorgeous! God’ gifts to us all. I’m back, having gained almost all of my weight back. Head hung in shame. I am doing Weight Watchers this time around, hoping it will help me keep it off for good.

    I hope all is well with the family!

  8. Jody - Fit at 55 says:

    Always good food here! 🙂

    LOVE the hike pics – beautiful.. it all works out & so glad you can get out & do this!!!!

    We always had sit down dinners when I was little…. I honestly can’t remember if Sunday was bigger – we ate too much in our house & that is why I was fat as a kid! 😉

    1. Tami says:

      I think a lot of families have gotten away from sitting down and eating together without the tv on! We enjoyed family dinners as our kids were growing up – it was a good time to connect and talk. I think we know a lot more about healthy eating and nutrition now than when you and I were growing up.

  9. MIz says:

    I like that idea of launching the week with a NONNEGOTIABLE family sunday dinner.

  10. Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds says:

    I’m loving the return of the hiking photos! Which means your foot is back to 100% again. Yay! 🙂

    I love the simplicity of roasted chicken. So good and pleases everyone in the family!

    1. Tami says:

      Well I am not 100% yet but I am working through the aches and pains and moving forward! Its great to be out walking and hiking in nature again. There are so many things that can be done with leftover chicken – I love it!

  11. Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds says:

    PS…How long do you think the Liquid Gold dressing would last in the fridge? Maybe a week or so? Thanks!

    1. Tami says:

      It never lasts a week around here but I don’t see why it wouldn’t still be good after a week of being refrigerated. There really isn’t anything in it that will spoil.
      Happy Cooking!

  12. Renee@Mykitchenadventures says:

    I did grow up having a big Sunday supper, but I cook all week, and now, we eat out on Sundays! It’s my day off! lol

    I am going to have to make that liquid gold dressing. it sounds amazing and super easy!! I love to dabble in flavored vinegars. I have a really yummy pear and apple flavored one in the pantry right now.

    The chickens look perfectly roasted! and yes, I always cook two at time…why not?

    Have a great weekend Tami!

    1. Tami says:

      When I was cooking for my family everyday I also took Sunday nights off! It gave me a nice little break.

      Oh, pear and apple flavored vinegar sounds wonderful.

      We cook ahead most of the time even thought its only the two us. It just makes sense to make good use of our time and the heat sources. With our Foodsaver we can safely freeze leftovers with no worry of freezer burn!

      Have a wonderful weekend!

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