Roast Chicken (and a Few Tips) From a Time-Crunched Fitness Coach

Our time-crunched fitness coach shows you how to get a healthy dinner on the table — sorry, chicken — with time to spare.

Tips for edging toward a healthy life, even when there’s no time:

  • Multi-task. When I’m cooking I’ll often listen to a book on tape or I’ll have my son help.  This actually makes it a special and relaxing, and it transforms a chore into an experience.
  • Take advantage of the Internet. Gather healthy recipe ideas. Order produce online from Boston Organics; it’s reasonably priced and delivered straight to my door. Use the internet to make planning and shopping quicker, simpler and easier.
  • Plan, shop, prepare. On a weekly basis — Sunday, say — take time to plan your meals and do all of your shopping for the week. Then go home and prepare as much as you can.  Freeze it, store it, do whatever you need to do. During the week you will be much more likely to serve healthy choices if the food is already cooked.

Recipe from a fitness coach: Roast Chicken


  • 1 small or medium organic, free-range chicken
  • 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
  • Half a cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 7-10 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 lemon
  • Ample olive oil
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • Celtic sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Red wine or balsamic vinegar and water (optional for gravy)
  • Rice flour (optional for gravy)


Preheat oven to 475° F.

Heap the onion, cabbage and garlic in the middle of a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. If you like, you can also drizzle your balsamic vinegar over the veggies as well.

Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. With a sharp knife, prick holes in the lemon and stuff it into the cavity of the chicken.

Cover the outside of your chicken with olive oil and rub thoroughly with Celtic sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Then place the chicken on top of the bed of veggies in the pan.

Pop the pan in the oven. Reduce the heat to 400° F. Baste after about 40 minutes.

Total cooking time should be about 1 hour and 20 minutes. (I like to use a meat thermometer to check it; just insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh, without touching the bone. Take the bird out when it reads 175° F. The internal temperature will continue to rise.)

Cover your bird with foil and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Carve it up and serve on a platter with your favorite steamed veggies and wild rice.

Bonus gravy:

Remove excess fat by skimming it off the top of the pan.  Put the pan on a large burner and bring it to a simmer. Mash up all the vegetables with a potato masher. Add a few glugs of balsamic vinegar and a half-cup of water, or you could use a half-cup of red wine.

Let the gravy simmer for a few more minutes, then sprinkle about one tablespoon of rice flour over the pan. Whisk vigorously until you reach the desired thickness and then remove it from the heat. Let it cool for a few minutes and then press it through a strainer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

It’s that easy.

Jennifer Dunn, Certified Personal Trainer, is the guest author for today’s Foodie Blog. Read new WGBH Foodie posts every weekday, where we explore myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.


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