Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken

I love roast chicken.

bearfamilystrong.com | lemon thyme roast chicken

Not only is roasting a chicken pretty much the easiest thing in the world, but one chicken usually serves our family three meals at least. The week I made this bad boy, my husband and son were out of town and one four pound bird lasted me three full days for lunch and dinner. Basically I ended up eating leftover chicken over salad vegetables for lunch, and then for dinner I would heat up some of the chicken and serve it with a different vegetable each night (steamed snap peas on Monday, pan fried okra on Tuesday, and roasted green beans on Wednesday). Admittedly, if you are a person who enjoys variety in your meals and doesn’t like leftovers, this will definitely not work for you. But for me, it not only eliminated the need to plan additionally dinners, but it also saved me a ton of time in the kitchen!

bearfamilystrong.com | lemon thyme roast chicken

The other nice thing about roast chicken is that you can experiment with flavors. (See here and here). I usually throw a chicken in the crockpot which really saves time, but the chicken tends to fall apart and you don’t get the crispy brown skin that results in roasting a chicken in the oven. Just remember that if you are going to roast our chicken in the oven, it’s going to take about 90 minutes – so plan accordingly.

My personal favorite flavor combination of late has been super simple lemon and thyme, with a salt crust made with an herbs de provence salt blend I purchased while in Paris this summer. To recreate this salt at home, simply mix some coarse salt with herbs de provence – it’s as easy as that!

bearfamilystrong.com | lemon thyme roast chicken

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken


one whole roaster chicken (organic free range if possible)

fresh thyme

butter, melted


herbs de provence

2 lemons


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and pat your bird dry. Give your bird a healthy melted butter bath, then cover liberally with the herbs de provence salt blend, making sure the chicken is evenly coated. Sprinkle a handful of chopped thyme over everything. Inside the cavity of your chicken, add two lemon halves, a handful of fresh time, and more salt if desired. Cut the second lemon into 4-6 wedges and tuck them into the roasting pan with the chicken. Bake at 400 for about 80 minutes, then remove from oven and rest an additional 10 minutes. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165F.

bearfamilystrong.com | lemon thyme roast chicken


Gearing up for a Bear Family Whole30: Welcome 2017!

Happy New Year!

Yes, it’s that time of year again…out with the old, in with the new. The time for gym memberships and diets. The time for resolutions and promises and goals and dreams.

For the Bear Family it’s also time for another Whole30. Well, I guess the title is a little misleading. We certainly aren’t going to make Baby Bear adhere to a Whole30, although it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he did one with no trouble whatsoever. I have the blessing of a young one with an incredibly versatile palate – he eats smoked oysters and pickled okra and baby octopus and brussels sprouts…yet he runs away screaming when I serve cooked cherry tomatoes. Go figure.


Anyway. Judging by complete lack of discipline and utter flakiness when it comes to this blog, I am going against the 2017 resolution grain and absolutely NOT making any outlandish statements I’m unable to keep – such as, “Oh, of course I’m going to blog about my Whole30 meals every day and keep an extremely detailed diary of my thoughs and feelings and sleep and tiger blood and yay!”

Right. I think we all know that’s not going to happen.

However, what I am going to do – for personal accountability more than anything else – is post my “If/Then” statements, as well as a couple of my standard Whole30 go to meals. The Whole30 program recommends taking a look at the next 30 days (or whatever 30 day time period you intend on completing your Whole30) and brainstorming every “off plan” occasion that might pop. Then you write an “If/Then” statement to create a plan of attack so you are prepared if or when that situation occurs. For example:

IF we don’t have enough time to eat dinner before wrestling practice, THEN I will pack a healthy “mini meal” to eat at practice instead. (example: chicken slices, carrot chips, green olives, apple slices)

IF Baby Bear wants to order takeout on a night when Papa Bear is that work, THEN I will make myself dinner at home and order something for the young one only.

IF we end up traveling or we are on the road when mealtime hits, THEN I will encourage my family to make good choices for food (ie. stop at a grocery store to hit up the salad bar instead of getting fast food) AND we will always have the following emergency snacks in our vehicles:

– epic bars or chomps snack sticks

– almond butter packets

-larabars or RX bars

– homemade trail mix bags

IF we go out with friends or out to eat as a family, THEN I will order club soda with lime and make the best food choices possible:

– steak, veggies, plain baked potato

– salad with no dressing (watch out for off-plan ingredients!!)

– bun-less burger with no cheese or ketchup, side salad instead of fries

 IF we have family come visit, THEN I will plan to cook a nice meal at home instead of going to a restaurant:

Roast Chicken and vegetables

Build your own burgers with oven baked potato wedges

Turkey sage meatloaf with butternut squash and roasted brussels sprouts

I suspect that statements 1 and 2 will end up happening more than anything else. Because wrestling practice is at the worst time possible it’s impossible to plan an actual sit down dinner, and by the time we get home I don’t want to feed Baby Bear a super huge and heavy meal, so we stick to smaller, easy, snacky things. (Full disclosure: this has manifested itself in the form of hot pockets for Baby Bear and usually something like a quesadilla for me.) By having a game plan for these occasions already in mind, I’m hoping I’ll be able to make Whole30 conscious choices and not fall face first into a McDonalds happy meal. (Or if I’m being honest with myself, a cookies and cream milkshake from Chil Fil-A. Those things are my kryptonite.)

The other thing recommended by the Whole30 crew is to have a list of easy meals that can be thrown together in 10 minutes or less, with ingredients that you always have on hand. It took a while for me to come up with a working list but that’s mostly because it’s been so long since I focused on meal planning and keeping good food on hand. We have been going out to eat A LOT lately. Once I got thinking about the things I normally have on hand, however, it became pretty easy:

Whole30 Go To Meals:

1. tuna with mayo or ranch dressing served with lettuce, cherry tomato, and banana peppers

2. zucchini “comfort noodles” with prosciutto

3. chicken strips with homemade ranch, baby carrots, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, pickles/olives/okra

4. Egg Salad over mixed greens

5. HB egg, cherry tomato, and avocado

6. deli turkey or roast beef roll-ups with mustard, red pepper, and spinach

7. Shrimp stir-fry

That’s literally a full week’s worth of dinners I can make with things I always have on hand in the kitchen! If you’re interested in my previous Whole30 experiences or want to learn more, check out my Whole30 archives and hop on over to the official Whole30 website.

Anyone else doing the #JanuaryWhole30? Good Luck!