Austerity cooking – making a roast chicken last!

Having just paid for our summer holiday, we have entered a period of austerity and I am employing all my wartime housewife skills in home economy. No powdered egg as yet. My mum tells me that she when she was first married she could make a pound of mince last all week, and when necessary, I can make a good stab at doing the same with a roast chicken.

Here are a few classics from the archives.

Roast chicken


Satay roast chicken

My favourite way to roast a chicken is coating it with a satay sauce (based on a Jamie Oliver recipe):

Whizz up:

  • a bunch of coriander
  • a chilli (I take the seeds out if we’re all eating)
  • about 3 big spoonfuls of peanut butter
  • zest and juice of two limes
  • clove of garlic/squirt of squeezy garlic
  • fresh ginger – about 2cm
  • splash of soy sauce
  • a big glug of olive oil

in a food processor, until pretty smooth. Add a splash of water if it’s too thick to spread easily. Use about half of it to coat the chicken and save the rest in the fridge to use as a condiment.

I serve it with noodles and either crudités or steamed sugar snaps and babycorn and wrap it all up with iceberg lettuce leaves, with the satay sauce on the side.

There’s a recipe for accompanying fiery noodles and a spicy cucumber salad in Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals (a great book, which I use all the time, but you can find loads of its recipes online), which I make very occasionally, when I’m feeling keen. 

Classic roast chicken

However, my dreamboat isn’t wild about the satay chicken, and I don’t always have the necessary lime and coriander, so more often than not, I apologetically shove a quartered, past-its-best lemon, with a few bashed cloves of garlic and a large sprig of rosemary from the garden into the orifice, rub a bit of a olive oil and butter, and seasoning over the skin and roast it accordingly.


It’s hard to go wrong either way.

Most chickens will come with the cooking instructions printed on the label, but there’s a handy calculator here, if you need to check.

I always buy the biggest chicken I can so we can have it for dinner with salad or vegetables one night and then eat it for the next few days in various guises. There’s a video showing you how to strip the meat from a whole chicken here if you’re not quite sure how to go about it.

Chicken pasta bake

A pasta bake makes for the kind of tea that pleases everyone in my house – I make a quick white sauce, then throw in some cooked pasta, leftover chicken, frozen sweetcorn and peas, top with cheese and throw it into the oven for about 25 mins at 180ºC. There’s a recipe for a cheating white sauce in one of my previous posts or you can make it properly, like this.


Chicken and noodles

Another, even quicker tea is chicken and noodles – dispense with first part of this recipe and add in some leftover chicken to the pan with the vegetables, making sure it’s piping hot.


Baked risotto

Chicken risotto is another crowd-pleaser here. I love a proper risotto, but time’s generally of the essence and this oven-baked version, from a previous post, is a speedy shortcut to a pleasing tea.


Lunchtime chicken

During these times of asceticism, I’m a bit more on the ball with packed lunches and the roast chicken once again features heavily.

My biggest girl is mad on a speedy noodle salad, but a chicken pasty goes down a treat as well – the instructions for both of these are in this blogpost.

I hope something here’s been useful – I’d love to hear your go-to confections for times of belt-tightening!

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