Whole 30 day 1, Roast Lemon Chicken

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Happy New Year! I drove by the Petaluma Veterinary Hospital yesterday and got a huge kick out of this sign. I know we are all hoping for a lot from 2021. For me, it’s getting my health on track, so starting off the year with a reset diet like the Whole 30 is a great way to jump start my goal.

And though today is the first day of our official program, we did make a Whole 30 dinner last night. If you are following along with meal planning it will be your dinner tonight, so I went ahead and made it one night early so I could share pictures and cooking tips ahead of time. Truthfully I should be about 3 nights ahead of you all to make this a truly helpful blog with all the information you need in your inbox well ahead of time. I am still learning in that department, but I am going to keep at it. We all know Newton’s Law of Motion, an object (or in this case, blog) in motion tends to stay in motion, so I plan to keep plugging along here! It also means that if you were on the fence or hadn’t committed to starting January 1st you can have the advantage of having more menu plans and recipes posted when you do dive in. I am thinking of my sister Emily here, who plans to start on January 11th. She and her sweetie, Kenny, are veterans and up for another round which speaks volumes about the effectiveness of this program. If it wasn’t worth the effort why would so many people be repeating it?

We slept in this morning and Jason made us breakfast. No frittata yet, but these no recipe hash browns are a good addition to your repertoire. He grates Yukon Gold potatoes with the peels on and pats them dry with paper towels before mixing with salt, pepper, and diced green onions. Melt some coconut oil or ghee in a cast iron skillet and then press the potato mixture down with a spatula to make a large potato pancake. Cook 5-7 minutes per side keeping the flame at medium or the outside will burn before the inside is done.

But on to dinner! We chose to roast two chickens to make sure we would have enough leftover chicken. Plus it gave me an excuse to use my new roasting pan which I had just gotten for Christmas from my mom. But seriously, you are going to want to have leftovers pretty much all the time this month, so when in doubt throw an extra chicken in the oven! For this meal try to keep some leftover chicken set aside for the Mediterranean salad and about 1 cup of leftover roasted butternut quash for the fall salad, both of which we will be making later this week. It’s having those extra things on hand that makes lunch time doable.

While the chicken was resting we made a quick pan sauce by adding an additional cup of chicken broth and the juice of one lemon. Carefully scrape up all those brown bits off the bottom of the roasting pan and let it reduce by about half. Some chopped Italian parsley at the end will finish it off. If you are following the Whole 30 you will want to use compliant broth. Did you know most chicken broth has sugar in it? It’s kind of surprising, but sugar is in almost everything! Trader Joe’s makes a great compliant broth, but I am also hoping to make my own sometime this week. I have only done that once, and it was years ago, but hopefully I will find time to give it another try.

For the butternut squash I simply tossed the cubed squash in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400° oven for about half hour, flipping once with spatula midway through baking. The sauteed spinach and chard is equally easy. Start by adding a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a preheated saute pan and then immediately add the chard. Cook the chard, stirring frequently over medium high heat until the stems begin to soften. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and a clove or two of garlic to the pan. Stir, and then add the spinach. It always seems like all that spinach will not fit in the pan, but it wilts quickly, so just flip it a bit with some tongs until you can get the lid on. Lower the heat to medium and cook for about one more minute. You want the chard soft, but if you overcook it you will lose that bright color.

This meal feels like a Sunday supper to me, perfect for the relaxed feel of New Years Day. We are going to do grilled salmon tonight as rain is in the forecast starting tomorrow. I’ll also post some more lunch ideas tomorrow, but if anyone has any great Whole 30 breakfast ideas that don’t involve eggs please share them with me in the comments. I think I may be eating salad for breakfast before this week ends if I don’t get some inspiration soon!

Lemon Roast Chicken

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Resting Time20 minutes
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4 people, with leftovers


  • Roasting Pan
  • Instant Read Thermometer
  • Kitchen Twine


  • 1-2 whole chickens
  • 2-4 lemons
  • 3-6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth


  • Preheat oven to 375°. Pat chicken(s) dry with paper towels and put two lemon halves and 3 cloves of garlic in the cavity of each chicken.
  • Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil then squeeze the juice of half a lemon over each chicken. Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Sprinkle half of the Italian parsley over the chicken.
  • Add 1 cup chicken broth, or water if not making pan sauce, to the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, in 375° oven for 40 minutes.
  • Rotate pan and increase oven temperature to 425°. Roast for an additional 30-40 minutes, until internal temp of the thickest part of the breast is 170°.
  • When chicken(s) are done, transfer to platter and tent with aluminum foil.
  • Place roasting pan over medium flame. Add remaining 1 cup stock and juice of one lemon, stir with rubber spatula being careful to get up all the browned bits on the pan. Allow sauce to reduce by about half. Turn off the heat and add remaining tablespoon of Italian parsley.

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