Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!"

A line from my husband's favorite movie, 21. And that's what we had last night, a chicken dinner. And it was, indeed, a winner! All my local grocery stores have had Foster Farms whole chickens on sale lately. A couple of days ago I was shopping and decided on a whim to pick up yet another whole chicken. Foster Farms is a California brand and all their fresh chicken products are free of the saline solution found in other brands. So when their chicken parts are on sale, I usually grab up several packages at a time.

Roasting a whole chicken is one of the easiest and tastiest meals for anyone watching their sodium intake. The chicken really does not need any salt if it is seasoned correctly. So many flavor combinations are possible: lemon with oregano or rosemary or thyme; tarragon with chopped shallots and artichoke hearts; Cajun or Creole; barbecue rub and/or sauce; poultry seasoning; South-of-the-Border chili powder; garlic... Basically, if you can dream it up, you can probably season a roasted chicken with it. Of course, it goes without saying, that the seasoning blends should be salt free and any sauces should be extremely low in sodium content.

One of my favorite blends for whole roasted chicken is Penzy's Mural of Flavor. It's a mild all-purpose seasoning that's simply wonderful with chicken and pork. Preparing the 4-1/2 pound chicken was easy. I cut off the big globs of fat, removed the innards, and wiped it down (inside & out) with paper towels. Then I sprinkled and rubbed Mural of Flavor all over it. I placed the seasoned bird on a rack in a baking pan just a little bit larger than the chicken, and I put it uncovered in the refrigerator to completely dry out. I also placed two crumpled up paper towels in the cavity to absorb any excess moisture. About 45 minutes before roasting, I took the chicken out of the fridge to lose the chill. I also removed the paper towels from the cavity and seasoned it with some Mural of Flavor. I pre-heated the oven to 450 degrees and roasted the chicken, breast side down for about 45 minutes. Then I flopped it over and continued roasting it for about another 20 minutes. I didn't use a thermometer, just wiggled the legs, took it out and let it rest.

While the chicken was resting, I made a quick side dish of Lower Sodium Stove Top Stuffing. When prepared according to package directions, it has about 250 mg. sodium per 1/2 cup serving. Whenever I make it, I always add some vegetables to cut the sodium content even more. This time I added about 3/4 cup each of chopped celery and onions that I sauteed in 2 tbsp. of unsalted butter.

And there you have it. Chicken and stuffing served with a small salad. There are enough leftovers for tonight's dinner and chicken salad sandwiches for tomorrow's lunch. "Winner, winner, chicken dinner!"


Nancy Babyak, PMP said...

Thank you for this blog! I am trying to make Thanksgiving flavorful without brining the bird. We have been low salt people for years, but my mom is in a rehabilitation facility with a new knee so any salt right now plays with her medication and hampers her recovers... so this year I am trying to figure out how to season sans salt :-)!

shambo said...

Nancy, thanks for the kind words. If you check out the right side of my blog, listed under "Low Sodium Information," you'll find two wonderful sources for low sodium thanksgiving Day recipes -- Low Sodium Cooking & Mega Heart. Both the sites are filled with helpful information & wonderful recipes. Be sure to check them out. Also, they both have free online newsletters that you can sign up for. In fact, they both just sent out their Thanksgiving edition. Good luck!