Chicken past the expiry date?

Behind the scenes at One Roast Vegetable > Search engine phrases

Every few weeks or so I go behind the scenes at where I can see lots of cool things about the website. For example, I can tell that last week we had new subscribers from Greenwich, UK and Warwick, Rhode Island and from Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Welcome!

Best of all, I can view the words people have entered into their search engine, before they arrived at my site.

#1 SEARCH PHRASE > Safeway roast chicken > leftover chicken

I roast a chicken about once every two weeks. I get a little fryer (1.4 kg – about 3 pounds), and the first night we eat it as roast chicken dinner. Then we have leftovers (usually Thai curried chicken), and then I make chicken broth from the bones every time we roast a chicken. I love using the chicken broth to cook rice, and to make homemade chicken noodle soup.

Leftover roast chicken is great in a simple quesadilla (flour tortilla + chunky salsa + grated cheese + chicken). Or you can separate leftover meat from the bones, and shred it into little pieces, you can put the roast chicken into a plastic bag and pop it in the freezer. Later, when you’re craving a salad topped with roast chicken, or a quick homemade soup, you will have cooked meat on hand, ready and waiting.

#2 SEARCH PHRASE > How long do you cook a 4 lb chicken > How long do you roast a small chicken?

This question comes up all the time 🙂 To answer, I’ll assume that we’re talking about an entire chicken with skin and bones because boneless meat would have a different answer. The time required to roast a chicken depends on two things: the temperature of your oven + how big the bird is. There’s a bit of math involved. Set your oven to 350°F (180°C, gas mark 4), and then multiply the number of pounds by 20 to find out how many minutes to cook it for. If the weight of your chicken is measured in kilograms, then you multiply by 44 instead.

For example:

Chicken (lbs)

Multiply by

Number of mins to roast at 350°F

3 pounds 20 60 minutes
3½ pounds 20 70 minutes
4 pounds 20 80 minutes

Chicken (kg)

Multiply by

Number of mins to roast at 350°F

1.3 kg 44 57 minutes
1.5 kg 44 66 minutes
1.7 kg 44 75 minutes

My last chicken was 1.46 kg x 44 minutes = 64 minutes. This math works every time.

#3 SEARCH PHRASE > Chicken broth in Paris

It’s kind of funny how this search phrase got someone to my site… but I know the answer 🙂 In Paris, you buy chicken broth in little cubes and add hot water. In Montreal, I’d never use a powdered broth. I’d either use homemade or broth in a can/tetra pack (Campbells, for example). But in Paris, I buy some of the little dried squares, and at least the brand I like is pretty darn good! (So good, in fact, that I bring leftovers little cubes back to Canada in my luggage.)

#4 SEARCH PHRASE > Why does food taste good on the beach? > Why does food taste better outdoors?

It just does. You’re outside of your regular routine, you smell the fresh air, you look at your cute little sandwich with the crusts just cut off by the brand new knife, and suddenly it’s no longer an egg salad sandwich, it’s transformed into a picnic. I think it has a lot to do with childhood memories of picnics and camping and eating outside from out treat filled coolers and carving marshmallow spears with our parent’s Gear Hungry knives. It was an event. It can still be an event, even when you’re all grown up. For most of you it’s too chilly to eat outside now (in Paris it was a balmy 7°C today, but in Montreal it is right now -9°C and snowing). But you can be sure that as soon as it’s warm enough, I’ll be eating my breakfast outside again.

In addition to the more useful search phrases above, I’ve had a few search topics that are more unusal or funny…

#5> Human eating chicken and salad

Really. What does this mean? Maybe they were looking a photograph of someone eating lunch.

#6> Is chicken OK if you freeze it the day you buy it?

Yes. I’m not sure what the question is, really. It’s usually good to keep in the fridge for 2-3 days after you buy it (check the dates on the package). If you freeze chicken the day you buy it, you can probably leave it in your freezer for three to six months maximum.

#7> Does pasta go bad?

I don’t think so … does dried pasta go bad? I’ll assume this person was asking about dried pasta. Cooked pasta makes it pretty loud and clear once it’s gone bad… by the smell…

#8 > Recipe chicken grave

I’ll have to assume that they were looking for gravy.

#8> Roasting chicken lonely

Yes, I suppose it can be lonely. If you live alone you may not want to roast a whole chicken just for yourself. But I used to do it all the time, because the leftover meat freezes really well and as you can see from #1 above, there are lots of uses for it.

#9 > Chicken past its expiry

(Can you imagine searching the internet for this?) There’s really only one suitable answer: THROW IT OUT!

As always, I’d love to hear your feedback.
Just hit reply to this email and drop me a line 🙂
You can always reach me at

All best,


PS/ For step-by-step illustrated recipes on how to make homemade chicken broth or Thai curried chicken, you can check out “Successful Home Cooking.” Valerie from Washington calls it her Home Cooking School.

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“I love the pictures! I made the roast chicken and had a friend over for dinner, and it was totally successful and delicious! — T. Williamson, Georgia, USA

I like the details you give: the REASONS for doing things and EXPLANATION of why you do something. (Like don’t reheat in the microwave unless you want to eat sponge.) I can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow and for more recipes. Priscilla, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Patsy Brown

Thanks for the chicken tips and “chuckles”.

2 Lisa Lewey-Shields

Great ideas and tips. I really enjoy all your emails, ideas, efforts, hard work, and recipes. I have learned a lot even though I have been cooking for years ! You are never too old or have cooked too much or for too long. I learn something new every day ! Thanks.

3 Dot

Loved all the chicken tips as I cook with chicken a lot. Thanks

4 Lomaren

Thank you so much for providing the math on how long to roast a chicken. Do you happen to have one for turkey by any chance, or would I use the same formula you’ve provided to roast chicken? When it comes to roasting a turkey I always seem to end up with it overcooked. I’ve tried cutting down on the time and sometimes that works but more often than not, it is either underdone or again, overcooked.
Thanks for your help…
PS… I TOTALLY agree with the comments that Lisa Lewey-Shields made above… I couldn’t agree more!

5 Shelley (Head Tomato)

Hi Lomaren, yes, turkeys are just big chickens, so the math is exactly the same. The problem with turkeys, though, is that they have to be cooked for so long to get the entire thing cooked through, that the white meat will almost always be dry and overcooked 🙁

This is why I often cook two chickens instead of one turkey, or I also buy smaller turkeys when possible like 6-7 lbs which will cook in 2.5 to 3 hrs 🙂

~ all best, Shelley

6 Sunshine

Hmmn, I know I checked the pasta thing out a few months ago, and yes it can lose it’s integrity and fall apart and apparently not taste as good. I had some old lasagne noodles and wanted to double check.

I have only cooked one turkey so far in my life, and by cooking it breast side down, it was really moist and tender. The next one is in my freezer waiting for the right day.

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