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Family Central: Easy Chicken Dinner, Times Two

For our family, the hardest thing about the back-to-school routine? Trying to shoehorn in a healthy, homemade dinner between homework, after-school activities and practices, and that earlier, back-to-school bedtime.

So anytime I can kill two birds with one stone _ or cook them, as the case may be –  it’s a plus in my book. My meal-of-choice these days is an easy grilled chicken and grilled veggies combo. I make double the amount we’ll eat, and the leftovers make another easy, but completely different, dinner for the following night. Here’s how:

Shopping List for Four-Six:
Two whole chickens
Baking potatoes (one per family member)
Vidalia onions (about one per family member)
Green, red or gold bell peppers (about one per family member)
Tortillas (for second night’s dinner)
Shredded cheese (for second night’s dinner)
Favorite prepared salsa and guacamole (for second night’s dinner)

Prep and cooking:  About 1 hour and 40 minutes before dinnertime, turn on grill. While the grill is heating, prepare chickens: Wash and pat dry; rub all over with olive oil and then sprinkle with sea salt, cracked black pepper, and the herbs and spices of your choice. (We prefer dried garlic and rosemary.)  Next, wash baking potatoes, rub with olive oil and sea salt, and wrap in aluminum foil.

Place chickens and potatoes on grill, and cook for about 90 minutes, turning with tongs occasionally. (If you have one of those chicken stands, which allows chickens to stand upright on the grill, those work easily.) While chickens and potatoes are roasting, slice onions in half and pour a little olive oil in the center cavity. Add onions to grill about 45 minutes later. Finally, after about one hour, add whole peppers to grill, and allow to cook for about 30 minutes, turning with tongs occasionally. (The skin on the peppers will char nicely; remove before serving.)

Second night’s dinner: Chicken tacos! Save leftover peppers and onions, and remove meat from the bones of the second, uneaten chicken after dinner the first night and store in a zippered plastic bag. For leftovers night, roughly chop leftover onions and peppers, then heat chicken and vegetables in a large skillet with a little olive oil. Served with warmed tortillas, shredded cheese, salsa, and guacamole.