Today is the first day in Dallas it actually feels like Fall! I don’t think the cooler temps are going to stick around, but I’ll take it, even if it’s just for a day. It’s been overcast and raining all weekend so we are spending a quiet day at home watching football…and catching up on blogging.
A rainy Sunday is the perfect day to roast a chicken. It can cook slowly in the oven and fill the house with delicious aromas. Served with mashed potatoes and green beans, it’s the perfect Sunday dinner!
When I buy chicken, I try and buy organic chicken. I know it’s more expensive, but as I’ve educated myself on non-organic vs. organic, I am learning there really are benefits to eating organic.
How Foods Are Labeled “Organic”
For foods to be labeled “organic”, it must adhere to the guidelines outlined by the USDA. These guidelines indicate how fruits and grains must be grown and how livestock must be raised. In order for livestock to be labeled organic, it must meet the following guidelines:
- Live in healthy conditions with access to the outdoors
- 30% of the feeding must be done in a pasture during grazing season
- Be fed an organic diet that doesn’t include antibiotics or growth hormones
- Live on a farm that doesn’t use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides
Reading Organic Food Labels
Food labeling can be very confusing. Something labeled “all natural” or “free range” doesn’t mean that it is also organic. Anything labeled as “all natural” means there are no added sugars, preservatives, or flavors. Eggs or chicken’s labeled “free range” or “hormone-free” doesn’t guarantee the farmer followed all guidelines for organic farming. If a product has the USDA Organic label, the food manufacturer or farmer has adhered to all of the guileless and have been certified by the USDA.
The USDA Organic seal can be included on labels if manufactures can verify the food item is:
- 100% Organic – can only be used when fruits, vegetables, eggs, or meats are grown or raised using all organic means. Multi-ingredient foods may be labeled 100% organic if all parts are 100% organic.
- Organic – can only be used when multi-ingredient foods are 95% organic. The non-organic items must be grown or provided by manufacturers that are approved by the USDA.
The following can’t use the USDA Organic seal, even though parts of the product contains organic items:
- Made With Organic – this verbiage indicates that one or more of the items are organic. For example, some cereals use organic oats along with other non-organic ingredients.
- Organic Ingredients – usually on multi-ingredient items, this indicates that 70% or less of the items are organic. The label will indicate which items are organic.
Non-GMO Project Verified – What Exactly Is This?
The other label found on many foods in the all-natural aisles of the grocery store is the Non-GMO Project. Founded in 2010, this non-profit organization works to verify non-GMO foods and products.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are basically foods created in a laboratory. These foods don’t naturally occur in nature and have been modified to withstand things such as frost or pesticides. For example, the Polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzyme in Granny Smith and Golden Delicious Apples causes them to brown and scientists have figured out a way to remove this enzyme, thus causing the apples not to turn brown.
Below is a list of the most common GMO foods – I was shocked to learn that zucchini and yellow squash is on the list!
- Canola / Canola Oil
- Zucchini and Yellow Squash
- Sugar Beets
- Diary / Milk
I know many times is easier and cheaper to just buy “regular” chicken, but being aware of what goes into that chicken is important. For those of us with inflammation issues, eating more organic or natural foods can help keep inflammation away and helps to keeps us healthier in general.
Sunday Roast Chicken
Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour + 10 minutes to rest
1 whole roasting chicken
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved and juiced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Kitchen Twine (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the whole chicken from the packaging. Some whole chickens include the liver and neck in a separate pouch inside the cavity; remove this and discard if you don’t want to make broth. If you want to make broth, reserve this for later use.
- Wash the chicken, making sure to rinse the inside cavity. Pat dry with paper towel.
- In a roasting pan, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil on the bottom of the pan. You don’t want standing oil, but enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Peel 10 cloves of garlic.
- Juice one lemon. Keep the lemon halves, as you will put them in the cavity of the chicken.
- Wash the bunch of thyme. Take half of the thyme and chop finely. Reserve the other half of the bunch of thyme.
- Place the chicken in the pan, breast side up. Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity.
- Using a knife, gently lift the skin off the chicken. You don’t want to fully detatch the skin, but find little pockets that you can insert the garlic cloves into. Scatter the garlic cloves throughout the chicken and if you have any left over, place inside the cavity.
- Using a basting brush, brush olive oil over the entire chicken.
- Lightly pour the juice of one lemon over the chicken.
- Sprinkle the minced thyme over the chicken. Salt and pepper, to taste.
- Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemons, remaining thyme, and garlic. If you have kitchen twine, tie the chicken legs together.
- Place the chicken in the oven and let roast 30 minutes. After roasting for 30 minutes, use a pastry brush or baster to baste the chicken with the juices from the pan. Continue roasting for another 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
- Let rest 10 minutes before carving.
- You can put the cooked garlic in a bowl and use it as a garnish for the chicken or use it in your mashed potatoes.