Posted: Dec 05, 2012 11:00 AM
As the holidays approach, visions of traditional meals undoubtedly fill your mind. While it can be tempting to cook those family favorites as our parents and grandparents prepared them, with a few tweaks, you can trim some of the fat and make them healthier and every bit as flavorful.

Cooking Light The New WAy to Cook Light coverContributed by Cooking Light

With the new book by Cooking Light, The New Way to Cook Light, you'll retain the flavors from your childhood, but feel less guilty about eating them! In this delicious offering, they've taken the classic roast chicken and lightened it up!

Classic roast chicken

Serves 4 (serving size: 1 breast half or 1 leg-thigh quarter)

Hands-on time^

30 minutes

Total time^ 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 (4 pound) whole roasting chicken
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 lemon, quartered


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Discard the giblets and neck from the chicken. Starting at the neck cavity, loosen the skin from the breasts and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between the skin and meat.
  3. Combine the butter and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl. Rub the mixture under the loosened skin and over the flesh. Rub over the top of the skin. Tie the ends of the legs together with twine. Lift the wing tips up and over the back and tuck under the chicken. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a rack. Place the rack in a roasting pan. Place the shallots, thyme sprigs and lemon in the cavity of the chicken.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F (do not remove the chicken) and bake for 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in a meaty part of the leg registers 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the pan. Let stand for 10 minutes. Discard the skin. Carve the chicken.

More healthy dinners

Baked potato pancakes (latkes) with chipotle yogurt sauce
Quinoa salad with chicken, black beans and chipotle dressing
Grilled chicken and arugula salad