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E3: Roasted Chicken Challenge, Brussels Sprouts, and an Ancient Grain

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E3: Roasted Chicken Challenge, Brussels Sprouts, and an Ancient Grain

Oct 19, 2023

Did last week's sweet potato and black bean chili recipe leave the U of U Cooking Crew craving more? Find out as they dish on the tweaks, insights, and hurdles they encountered. Theresa raises the stakes for week two with a whole roasted chicken challenge and shares the secret to restaurant-quality Brussels sprouts. She also introduces the Crew to a different take on rice pilaf, using a hard-to-pronounce but healthy grain high in fiber, protein, and all the essential amino acids.

Join the Make More Meals at Home Challenge and reap the nutritional benefits of healthy, homemade meals.


      Serves: 4-6

      Recipe Cost: $15

      Cost per serving: $2.50


      • 1 3-3.5 lb. whole chicken (if frozen, thaw in fridge for 2-3 days before roasting)
      • 3 tbsp. olive oil
      • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
      • ¾ tsp. ground pepper
      • 1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
      • 1 ½ tsp. garlic powder


      1. Pre-heat oven to 375˚F.
      2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
      3. In a medium roasting pan place chicken breast side up. Tuck wing tips under back.
      4. Mix seasonings and oil together in a small bowl.
      5. Rub the oil and spice mixture all over the chicken.
      6. Roast chicken uncovered for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours or until meat thermometer reads 175˚F (ensure to not touch a bone or puncture all the way through to the center cavity).
      7. Remove chicken from oven, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

      Nutrition Facts

      • Serving Size: 3 oz
      • Calories: 190
      • Total fat: 11.4 g
      • Saturated fat: 3.2 g
      • Unsaturated fat: 7.07 g
      • Cholesterol: 64.6 mg
      • Carbohydrates: 0 g
      • Fiber: 0 g
      • Protein: 20.4 g
      • Sodium: 100.7 mg
      Roasted Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, and Quinoa Pilaf


      Serves: 4

      Recipe Cost: $7

      Cost per serving: $1.75


      • 1 cup quinoa
      • 1 13-oz. can of coconut milk
      • 1 cup water
      • 2 tbsp. olive oil
      • ¼ cup minced onion
      • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
      • ¼ cup diced cauliflower
      • 1 small, diced zucchini
      • 2 minced garlic cloves
      • ½ tsp. salt
      • ¼ tsp. pepper
      • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning


      1. Place coconut milk, water and quinoa, in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.
      2. Sauté minced onion, red bell pepper, cauliflower, and zucchini in 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
      3. Combine cooked quinoa with onion, red bell pepper, cauliflower, zucchini and seasonings.
      4. Serve.

      Nutrition Facts

      • Serving Size: 1.5 cup
      • Calories: 285
      • Total fat: 15.26 g
      • Saturated fat: 6.4 g
      • Unsaturated fat: 8.08 g
      • Cholesterol: 0 mg
      • Carbohydrates: 31 g
      • Fiber: 4.1 g
      • Protein: 7.28 g
      • Sodium: 315 mg
      Roasted Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, and Quinoa Pilaf


      Serves: 4

      Time: 30 minutes

      Recipe Cost: $2.23

      Cost per serving: $0.56


      • ½ lb. brussel sprouts
      • 5 cloves garlic
      • 2 tbsp. olive oil
      • pinch of sugar 
      • salt and pepper to taste (adjust the amounts of garlic, oil, salt, and pepper to taste) 


      1. Heat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
      2. Wash and quarter larger sprouts/half smaller sprouts.
      3. Mince the garlic. Add olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper, then toss mixture with brussel sprouts and spread on a baking sheet.
      4. Roast at 450°F, for 10-15 minutes until crispy.

      Nutrition Facts

      • Serving Size: 1 cup
      • Calories: 87
      • Total fat: 7.1 g
      • Saturated fat: 1.0 g
      • Unsaturated fat: 6.0 g
      • Cholesterol: 0 mg
      • Carbohydrates: 5.53 g
      • Fiber: 1.6 g
      • Sugar: 1.3 g
      • Protein: 1.7 g
      • Sodium: 51.4 mg (depending on taste)
      Roasted Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, and Quinoa Pilaf

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      All thoughts and opinions expressed by hosts and guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views held by the institutions with which they are affiliated.


      Scot: Congratulations. You made your first meal in the 4-Week Make Your Own Meals Challenge. Today, we're going to find out what the U of U Health Cooking Crew thought about sweet potato and black bean chili with cornbread, and then Theresa is going to give us recipe number two in the challenge, which you can also find online at

      First of all, let's introduce our recipe architect and nutrition expert, Theresa Dvorak, Registered Dietitian and Director of Culinary Medicine in the University of Utah College of Health's Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology. Theresa, welcome to another episode of "Cooking with the U of U Health Crew."

      Theresa: Whoop-whoop.

      Scot: I like the enthusiasm.

      Theresa: I've got to switch it up every once in a while.

      Scot: That's good. All right. So, Theresa, some members of the cooking crew last week were a little surprised. I don't know if they were skeptical or not, but they were definitely surprised there was no meat in the chili recipe that you gave us last week.

      And now we've all made it. We've all tried it. We're going to talk about what we thought. We're going to talk about the process. Did we run into any obstacles? Were there any successes in this challenge of making our meals at home?

      Are you nervous at all to find out what the crew thought? I mean, is there anyone in particular you're concerned might not have liked it? Feel free to call them out.

      Theresa: Well, gosh, I hope they all liked it. I know there may have been some apprehension. And so I want to hear what your taste buds thought.

      Scot: Oh, okay.

      Theresa: I think I'm really interested to hear of the struggle between "this tasted really good, but my media brain is telling me something different."

      Scot: Right, because the media and society and everybody's told us chili is meat. That's what chili is, right? Chili has meat in it. So it's a little bit of a mind shift.

      Nayeli, member of the U of U Health Cooking Crew, you were the first one to bring up the "where's the meat?" So let's go to you first. What was your take?

      Nayeli: So, first of all, I think I need to start off by giving a rating from my roommates because that's my most important opinion for me. So I got a 9 out of 10 rating for my meal.

      Theresa: I will take that.

      Nayeli: Listen, I don't know why it was 9 out of 10 and not 10 out of 10, but you know what? It's okay.

      Theresa: It's okay. I'll take it.

      Scot: Nine out of 10. So how many roommates . . .

      Theresa: See, I forget that it's not just the four of you, but it's the four of you plus Nayeli's roommates.

      Nayeli: Roommates. Exactly.

      Theresa: The bar is even higher.

      Scot: So did each roommate give a nine, or did you add them all up and then average them out?

      Nayeli: No. Well, I will say only one of them just gave me a rating. I should have asked the other ones for a rating, but they both said it was good.

      Scot: All right.

      Theresa: They ate it.

      Nayeli: Yes.

      Scot: All right. How about you, Nayeli? What did you give it? You're doing the out-of-10 rating system. What did you think?

      Nayeli: I'm going to keep it at a 9 out of 10.

      Scot: Okay. So you're being honest.

      Nayeli: Again, I don't know the 10 out of 10, but I'll just keep it there.

      Scot: You hesitated a little bit, but you felt good about it.

      Nayeli: I was really thrown off by the meat. So, again, going into this recipe, I was like, "I wonder if it's still going to taste like chili the way that I am used to tasting it." But no, it was great. I love sweet potato. It was really good overall. I will say, though, I did add a little something in there that I don't know if I was supposed to.

      Scot: Oh, no.

      Nayeli: Listen. Okay.

      Theresa: What was it?

      Scot: Theresa, you need to scold Nayeli here or . . .

      Theresa: Well, let's hear what it was first, and then we'll go from there.

      Scot: Okay.

      Nayeli: When it was all done and I had everything, all the ingredients on the list in there, I still felt like . . . I don't know. It tasted a little too tomatoey for me. So what I ended up doing is I added some beef bouillon.

      Theresa: Yeah. Sure.

      Nayeli: For me, it just made it taste better.

      Scot: Okay. Was that a good choice if it was too tomatoey to throw in a little beef bouillon?

      Theresa: Yeah, that's very reasonable. And certainly, she could have also thought about increasing some of the other spices too, like the chili powder or the cayenne to let some of that smokiness come through a little bit more.

      But the bouillon definitely enhanced the savoriness without adding a lot of additional saturated fat or cholesterol or things like that that would have . . . if she had used beef instead of just the beef bouillon.

      Scot: Probably added a little bit more sodium too, right?

      Theresa: Definitely added some sodium.

      Scot: Yeah. So if that's a concern, maybe the spices would be a better route because they wouldn't necessarily introduce more sodium into the recipe.

      So, Alex, what was the verdict on the first recipe?

      Alex: It was really good. I want to start off with that. It was very yummy. It was very filling. I even added some hot sauce to it. It was delicious. We really did enjoy it. I will say my husband was missing some meat.

      Scot: Yeah, because he's a carnivore. You've already brought this up.

      Alex: Yeah. So missing a little bit of meat, which that's fine. He still ate it and enjoyed it. And so that was the verdict. We really did love it. I was nervous about the cornbread, just baking it and doing all of that, but it was super simple. And now I have the ingredients for next time if I want to make some bread.

      Scot: Yeah. So now your husband missing the meat, what was it? Was it the texture? And maybe, Theresa, you could even help with . . . Was it the texture? Was it just the thought of meat? Was it the actual flavor? I mean, I don't know if I can taste the meat in chili or not now that I think about it. Did you drill down?

      Alex: Yeah. So I'm sitting there just watching him eat like a critic over here too, like, "What is it? What's the verdict?" So I don't know if it's a mental thing with him, but I know he said it was a texture thing. He just likes the taste of meat. So I don't know if it's the saltiness, the savoriness a little bit, but that's kind of what I drilled down on. He just was missing it.

      Theresa: This by no means is unique to you and your husband. And I hear this often. Taking a piece from Nayeli and putting in some beef bouillon or something of that sort, thinking about other foods that increase some of that umami or that texture. So you could have added a little bit of Worcestershire sauce.

      You could have diced up some mushrooms and put them in, and some of these things that tend to increase that umami flavor, which is typically what we're getting from our meat and savory foods. And sometimes that can also help to kind of bridge that gap or kind of soften that blow of not having meat in the bowl.

      But yeah, I really want to hit on that you were both really satisfied and enjoyed the meal. And so it's sometimes just getting used to your plate looking a little different or, in this case, your bowl.

      Alex: Yeah. I think that's really great, especially with the Worcestershire.

      Theresa: I know. It's always a hard one.

      Alex: I know. I can never say that word. And the mushrooms, because I feel like, again, my husband, it's like, "Oh, yeah, we have a steak and then mushrooms," and that's exactly what he would want to eat. So I think just putting that in there would even help the cause.

      Scot: Jhonny, what is the verdict? We need a rating system or something, like a thumbs up or thumbs down or . . . I don't know. Maybe a clever little saying. "In the trash" or "In the recipe stash."

      Jhonny: I think I have one for you. So let's say 3 beans is like, "Eh," and 8 cornbreads is, "It's amazing." Then I rate this "50 chili bowls on a fall night." Does that work?

      Scot: I'm confused.

      Theresa: It's a three-beaner.

      Scot: A three-beaner. What did you think, Jhonny?

      Jhonny: All right. So before I give my official rating, I will make a note. I don't know if my taste buds have been compromised. But last week I got COVID, and so that was my challenge last week.

      So one of my roommates made it for everybody and then brought it to me in my little room that I've been stuck in for the past week, and I had it. And honestly, I liked it. I liked the sweetness of it.

      Actually, one of the things that it made me think about was my relationship with food. Generally, I think about food as being something that I have to really enjoy, or maybe it's something that I liked as a kid or something I couldn't have as a kid. And so for me, that's the relationship I have with food. But because I'm sick and I have to eat, it has become more of a practical type of thing. It's like my body needs fuel and here's the fuel.

      Theresa: That's a really great point, Jhonny. You started to make this connection that you were sick and needed to eat to nourish yourself, to recover from illness. And that's something we can think about.

      Food definitely can be a medicine for us. And if we're feeding our bodies with good things, we're giving them the fuel, the nutrients to be able to fight illness and to help us live longer, more energetic, healthful lives.

      And so reframing a little bit of what some of the other roles or purposes of food and our choices can be helpful too, especially when we're making transitions to a more plant-forward eating pattern of really thinking about the goodness that I'm putting into my body.

      Scot: All right. So I created my own radio system. I just want everybody to picture, just, my head wearing a chef hat and I'm smiling and winking at you. I would give this recipe five Scot heads wearing chef hats smiling and winking at you out of five Scot heads wearing chef hats smiling and winking. I really liked it a lot.

      Theresa: Nice.

      Scot: This is going to be one I'm going to throw in my recipe stash. I thought it had really great flavor and texture. And it was kind of everything that I'd want from a comfort food, and it was nutritious as well.

      I think this is something I could eat over and over and over. And it's a recipe that's easy and I'd like to be able to memorize it so when I'm at the grocery store, I'm like, "Oh, what do I need to do for food this week? Oh, I'll just go to chili," and I know what the ingredients are.

      And when I get home, I don't have to stop and look at the recipe. I can just crank it out and reduce some of that friction, some of that barrier of making food, and have it be a little bit more second nature. I'd like to have a few recipes like that, and I think this one could fit that bill.

      Theresa: This chili is really kind of . . . A pantry staple recipe is one thing that I like about it. I often think about making sure that I have a variety of foods not only in my non-perishable pantry cupboards but also in my refrigerator and things that are just always on my grocery list. We're making sure that I always have these on hand.

      So I always have a couple cans of beans in my pantry. And this soup, it really wouldn't matter what kind of bean you put in it. You've got beans in it. I always have a can of diced tomatoes in my pantry. Then I can make soups, I could make a quick pasta sauce, I could do a baked ziti, or what have you, and I've got tomatoes ready to go. I always have onions. Sweet potatoes are another staple that I pretty much always have in my refrigerator, in my pantry.

      And so I love that of having some of these recipes that are always just kind of easy access, whether I know that I need to pick up these groceries at the store every month or what have you so I have them on hand, or then just making sure that we're looking at, "What do I have in my pantry and can I make slight changes to certain recipes and still have very similar flavors?"

      Scot: I did make a couple of adjustments as well. So we had some chili spice mix that just happened to be around the kitchen from a CSA that we belong to, and we've got like five of these packets from the past five years. So I used that. I have no idea what was in it, but it said chili spice mix, so why not?

      Theresa: Perfect.

      Scot: So mine may have tasted a little different as a result of that.

      And then the other thing I did was mine was watery even after simmering 15 extra minutes, more watery than I wanted it. So my wife, who has been doing this longer than I have, suggested putting in a small can of tomato paste. So that really thickened it up to a consistency that I really, really liked.

      And then I also threw in a dollop of Greek yogurt, which made it even creamier.

      So those were my little modifications that I thought just really made it super savory and super thick and really satisfying.

      Theresa: Excellent. Great ideas. I love that.

      Scot: From a cooking standpoint, vocabulary, technique, etc., is there anything that the Cooking Crew wishes they would have asked before you started making last week's recipe? Did you run into anything in the kitchen or the grocery store or anywhere that gave you any trouble, or was it pretty easy-peasy? Let's start with Nayeli on this one.

      Nayeli: I think one of the things that I struggled with when I went to the grocery store was looking for . . . Specifically I struggled looking for cornmeal because I'm not a baker. So I really struggled looking for that.

      Scot: Like, where it was in the store? You couldn't find it? You didn't know where to go?

      Nayeli: I knew it was in the baking aisle, but I was like, "What the heck? I don't know." I had to look it up. I had to Google cornmeal and find a brand and kind of look at what I'm looking for in the grocery store.

      Scot: Oh, like what the package looks like.

      Nayeli: Yes.

      Scot: I've done that before.

      Nayeli: Yeah, I did that. But yeah, I think . . .

      Scot: Pretty minor issue. That's good.

      Nayeli: Yeah. It could have been something else, but no, that was one of my struggles.

      Scot: Alex, how about you?

      Alex: I actually had the same issue . . .

      Scot: Who knew cornbread or cornmeal would be . . .

      Alex: Honestly, it happens to me on a regular shopping basis when I'm trying to cook new things. So this isn't anything out of the ordinary where I'm going on the website and trying to find which aisle it's on. Mainly because I'm on the aisle and I just can't find it. So, yeah, it was a packaging thing because I normally don't use cornmeal.

      Scot: Yeah, that can be frustrating if you're just trying to learn how to cook and start cooking and you spend an hour and a half trying to find this . . .

      Theresa: Yeah, and don't be afraid to ask. There are always workers and employees walking around, especially those folks who are doing the shopping for people, like the Instacart kind of folks. They know where everything is in the grocery store. They're kind of my go-to for, "Where is the cornmeal?" or what have you.

      Scot: All right, Theresa. Sounds like the first week was a success. Let's see if we can go two for two.

      Theresa: Yes!

      Scot: Yeah, go ahead and congratulate yourself. What are we making for . . .

      Theresa: The bar is literally high now. I've got to maintain it.

      Scot: Yeah, you do. So how are you going to do that?

      Theresa: All right. So we're bringing in some animal products for you meat lovers out there. And we are going to maybe step outside of the box a little bit and I'm going to ask you all to roast a whole chicken.

      Scot: How y'all feel about that? Alex, how do you feel about roasting a chicken?

      Alex: I am so scared. I don't even know where you buy that. I don't know if I visit a farm or . . .

      Theresa: You could, or you could go to Kroger.

      Alex: Okay. You just let me know what aisle, Theresa. I have no idea.

      Theresa: You got it.

      Scot: Nayeli, how are you feeling about a whole chicken? Is this something you've done before?

      Nayeli: I think we did not come to play when we said this is a cooking challenge because that sounds so intimidating. I'm scared.

      Scot: Yeah. How about you, Jhonny? You actually probably have done this before. You like chicken.

      Jhonny: Yeah, I have. I've roasted a whole chicken and turkey before. I don't do it on a recurring basis, though, so let's see what happens.

      Scot: All right. So a whole roasted chicken. What else is on the menu, Theresa?

      Theresa: We are also going to do a quinoa pilaf with mixed vegetables and whole-grain quinoa. And then we are also going to do roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic and olive oil.

      Scot: I don't know. This sounds like a Week 4 challenge. This sounds a little intimidating.

      Theresa: No, no, no.

      Nayeli: Yeah, for sure.

      Theresa: Oh, you just wait for Week 4. No, I'm joking.

      Scot: Oh, man. All right.

      Theresa: You guys are so strong. So when I think about helping folks to cook on a budget, and have the flexibility to stretch one meal and morph it into multiple other meals, the thing I really think about is a whole roasted chicken.

      My mother was the queen of how many meals could she get out of one roasted chicken. There were seven of us in the family. I swear she could make one chicken last three or four meals. I'm not expecting that, but roasting it the first time, we have our initial roasted chicken meal, and then we can morph it. We can put it into sandwiches. We could do a chicken salad. I could shred it and put it in a grain bowl. I could shred it and put it on a salad. Lots of different possibilities.

      And then using the whole bird, that kind of final stage, you could certainly boil the bones and the carcass with an assortment of vegetables and make your own chicken stock. So when we're thinking about kind of using the whole animal, this is very much one of those spaces where I'm kind of providing you the tools and the space to try it out.

      Scot: All right. So roasting a chicken sounds like kind of a cornerstone of being able to do some other easy meals. We might not have those skills or those thoughts right now, but just down the line, we would.

      Theresa: Yeah.

      Scot: Talk about quinoa. Has anybody here made quinoa before or eaten quinoa? Jhonny?

      Jhonny: I actually do have a question about what is quinoa and am I saying it right?

      Theresa: Yes, you are. Quinoa. It's a whole grain. Quinoa is very high in protein. So when we think about our grains and having all of the essential amino acids, most of our grains and vegetables are missing one or two.

      Our animal products, our dairy, our meats, and our eggs will have all of those essential amino acids in one serving kind of thing. Quinoa and soy are examples of plant products that contain all of those essential amino acids, what we call either a complete protein or having all of those essentials. So quinoa is very high in fiber, it's high in protein, and vitamins and minerals certainly as well.

      So you'll find quinoa where you find other grains. So typically you'll go to the aisle of the grocery store where you would find rice or bagged rice and you'll find quinoa in those spaces as well.

      Scot: And then the roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic and olive oil, that sounds up-class restaurant right there.

      Alex: It sounds so good.

      Scot: Yeah, it is good, if you have ever had Brussels sprouts at restaurants. And it looks pretty simple too, so that's pretty exciting.

      Theresa: Yeah. Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables and really feed our gut. So when we think about kind of a healthy gut biome, having things like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli are all going to provide an environment for all of those healthy gut bacteria to live and flourish.

      And so this is a really tasty one. A lot of times folks are like, "We enjoy Brussels sprouts at a restaurant, but then struggle with making them at home." And I think this recipe, cooking them at a high temperature, the 450, helps to caramelize them a little bit more, gets them a little bit roasty, which is really the key to keeping them away from kind of the mushy cafeteria Brussels sprouts from elementary school to delicious five-star restaurant.

      Scot: All right. So any questions for Theresa as you look over the recipe? Just going to leave it open to you, anything that you need answered? Nayeli, do you have any questions?

      Actually, before you go, Nayeli, I want to say something to Theresa. Could I just get a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store? I feel like it would be easier and cheaper.

      Theresa: Oh, that is . . . Scot.

      Scot: I've offended her.

      Theresa: You're missing the point.

      Scot: What's the point? What am I missing?

      Theresa: So part of it is the cost-saving by roasting it yourself. Roasting a chicken and kind of getting over that initial hurdle . . . Roasting a whole chicken is extremely easy.

      Scot: All right.

      Theresa: We have this idea that it's going to be really hard. I will say one thing. If you have a meat thermometer, it will make knowing when that chicken is done so much easier because all you have to do is pierce that breast meat or the leg meat with that instant-read thermometer and you're going to know when the perfect time is to take that chicken out of the oven.

      Scot: Yeah, Alex, did you hear that? So you don't have a dry chicken.

      Alex: I actually have a question about that, because I'm notorious for drying out chicken. With a thermometer, do you leave it in the whole time, or do you just stick the thermometer in when you think time is getting close? I have a digital one, but I just don't trust it.

      Theresa: The digital ones are actually much more accurate. You typically don't have to calibrate them as much as some of the more simple thermometers can be.

      And so once it gets close to the time . . . So on the recipe, it says to roast the chicken uncovered for one and a quarter to one and a half hours. So when you get to about that one and a quarter hour, you can check the temperature of the chicken and you'll know then, "Okay, it's at 155. I want to take it out at about 175." So if it's kind of too early, leave it in for another 15, or 20 minutes and then check it again.

      The dryness is really from overcooking it, and so that 175 is a great kind of sweet spot. You don't run the risk of it being undercooked, but yet you're not going so high, 185, 195, that you're going to end up with a dried-out chicken, or even if you're doing turkey or a larger bird or something of that sort.

      Scot: Nayeli, I skipped over you. Let's come back to you. Do you have any questions for Theresa on these recipes?

      Nayeli: I have a small curiosity about one of the ingredients in the quinoa. Oh my gosh.

      Theresa: Quinoa.

      Nayeli: Quinoa. I saw that you need a can of coconut milk. I'm kind of just curious as to why. I don't know. Is that typically what someone would use when making this or . . . It's just I've never used coconut milk to make anything.

      Scot: Oh, you're in for a treat.

      Theresa: Right? So not typically. When you're making any kind of grain, the most simple preparation is just with water. For quinoa, it's about a two-to-one ratio, so one cup of dried quinoa to two cups of liquid. In this recipe, we're doing one can of coconut milk and one can of water. So it's going to be just over that two cups. And it's going to give you just this kind of delicious coconut flavor undertone with the vegetables.

      You can do either a light coconut milk or a regular coconut milk. The main difference is the saturated fat level, and that too is just going to add to the savoriness of this dish and kind of help with the satisfaction level.

      And you're going to find coconut milk in one of two places. So if there's an Asian section of your grocery store, it'll be found there kind of by the Thai foods. If we think about curry, coconut milk is a primary ingredient for curries. Or then in the baking aisle as well. So maybe around where you find kind of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, you might find coconut milk in that same space too.

      Scot: Jhonny, any questions for Theresa?

      Jhonny: I don't have any questions. I do have a tip for the chicken, and Theresa can correct me if I'm way off. So as to not deal with the whole thawing process, because that can be a real pain in the neck, just either buy the chicken on the day that you're cooking it or if you're going to buy it beforehand, try to do it the day before and then just put it in the fridge instead of the freezer. So, Theresa, is that okay, or have I been poisoning people all this time?

      Theresa: No, that's perfect. Buy that chicken in the fresh meat department and then you can keep it in your refrigerator for about three, or four days. That would be really kind of the ultimate max. Two to three days is ideal.

      Scot: Alex, anything else before we get cooking?

      Alex: Oh, I have a lot of questions, but I'll try . . .

      Scot: Oh, okay.

      Alex: No, I'll try to keep it to a minimum. So I guess one thing more so about all of this meal as a whole, it does seem like a lot. Now we're not cooking just one or two things. Now it's three items, and the ingredients look really simple.

      For me, I'm just imagining my toddler just screaming, crying, wanting me to play with her. So now this is the time where I have to cut out time and I'm a little apprehensive, but I think I can do it. So that, I feel like, might be my barrier here. If you have any advice on how I can minimize cooking time.

      Theresa: The chicken is really a few minutes to prep it and then it goes in the oven and you don't have to worry about it.

      So part of this is planning when you're going to do what. And so the Brussels sprouts, you can prep ahead of time. You could even prep them the day before if that was something that was helpful in your day-of time management.

      Same thing with the vegetables in the quinoa pilaf. There's some chopping there. But at the same time, you're not using the entire bell pepper unless you make a larger batch, which would be perfectly fine too. You could do some of this prep at an alternate time if that kind of day-of is going to be challenging and time crunched. So that's one way. Think about the prep ahead of time.

      Or even some of these vegetables are prepped in the produce section. And so you could grab some of those pre-prepped vegetables. I've even seen Brussels sprouts pre-chopped, so you could look at that too.

      Or frozen mixed vegetables. That's another great way to minimize that prep. You can just pull out those frozen vegetables and it's going to be pretty similar in taste.

      Alex: Perfect. Thanks. That was my second question, was about the use of frozen vegetables. So thank you.

      Scot: I have one question here that I want to . . . Well, actually two. First of all, one of the recipes calls for Italian seasoning. Is that what it's called? Do I just go to the store and I find a container that says Italian seasoning?

      Theresa: Yes.

      Scot: Okay, great.

      Theresa: Yes. So it's a combination. Typically it's parsley, basil, oregano. There's sometimes garlic, but not usually. But it's kind of those green leafy spices or herbs that are in that mix.

      Scot: Great. Then the thing that really intimidates me, and I've done whole chickens before, a couple of them, is this very last word in the recipe, carving. Carving a chicken. Any advice? I mean, just go to a YouTube video or do you have any other tips or whatever? I feel like I mutilate the chicken. That word carving should be mutilating.

      Theresa: Ideally, what you're going for is to make your slices at the joint of the bird. And so sometimes it's just doing an initial slice through the skin so that you can expose more of that joint and know where to cut.

      Letting it rest for that 10 minutes is going to be really helpful because if we try and carve it too early, it's going to be really hot and you're not going to be able to use your hands to move the legs around or the wings around. So let it cool slightly.

      And then for the breast, you're going to want to slice right down along the edge of the breastbone. You make one vertical line down and then a horizontal one across kind of perpendicular to your countertop.

      Scot: Do all of you have a roasting pan for this chicken? Nayeli, Jhonny, Alex?

      Nayeli: No.

      Scot: Yeah. So what do we do?

      Theresa: Do you all have what you baked your cornbread in, so a nine-by-nine baking dish?

      Scot: That would be big enough and fine?

      Theresa: Or a cake pan, a rectangular 9-by-13 cake pan.

      Alex: Oh, yeah. I have that.

      Theresa: That too is a roasting pan.

      Scot: Okay. So those types of things would work.

      Theresa: Yep, exactly. You could even do it if you've got a cast iron or an enamel oven-safe pot that you're using on your stovetop. The big thing is that you really don't want it deeper than four inches. Four to six inches is probably as deep of a pan as you would want it to be. Otherwise, it's not going to brown and roast. It'll still cook. It just won't look as pretty. But you could use a stovetop pan as long as it's oven-safe as well.

      Scot: Right. And that handle probably is a big component.

      Theresa: Exactly. You want to make sure that there's no rubber on it, that it's either full metal or full enamel.

      Scot: All right. And what about those tin foil kind of roasting things you see in the store?

      Theresa: Yep. You could certainly get those single-use roasting pans. That's perfect as well.

      Scot: Okay. But the four inches sounds like it's kind of the important thing. You don't want it any deeper than four inches and big enough for the chicken to sit in.

      Theresa: Yep, exactly.

      Scot: Time to go make the recipe and share it with your family, friends, and roommates. We'll talk about how it was and how it went in the next episode.

      And you, the listener, we sure hope that you'll take the 4-Week Make Your Own Meals Challenge. Now, this is recipe number two. So if you missed the first one, if you go to and click Take the Challenge, that'll subscribe you to the free podcast that you're listening to right now. We talk about the first recipe. You can also find the recipes at

      Make it and then tell us how it went. Post pictures on social media. Tell us what you thought. How did it taste? What challenges did you face?

      You can share any of your insights, setbacks, or successes on our social media channels, and on Instagram @UofUHealth. The hashtag is #MYOMChallenge, Make Your Own Meals Challenge. And you can also email us at

      The Cooking Crew will return next week with our take on this recipe, and Theresa will bring another recipe, recipe number three, for the challenge next week.

      Thanks for joining us and taking the 4-Week Make Your Own Meals Challenge.