Cook once, eat twice? In theory only

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10/06/2009 7:32 PM

10/06/2009 9:44 PM

Two-fer: something that satisfies two criteria or needs simultaneously.

I'm all for that.

Two cans of tomatoes for the price of one? I'm there.

Two pairs of jeans for $19.95? Certainly.

Two dinners for the time it takes to put one together? Absolutely.

That's why I picked this week's recipe, actually a combo of recipes from the March issue of Gourmet magazine. It's basically roast chicken — well, two roast chickens — along with several supposedly easy suggestions on how to use the leftover meat.

The idea appealed to me. So did the recipes. They weren't exactly easy weeknight meals like the magazine promised. But they weren't all-day endeavors, either.

I took the plunge and bought two chickens. I wasn't sure about cooking them at the same time — Would they both fit in the pan? — but it worked out.

My chickens were slightly larger than the 3½ pounds the recipe recommends, and they still cooked in about an hour.

I skipped the gravy because I was pressed for time. So the chicken part of the recipe really was quick and easy.

I can't say as much for the gyros, the leftover recipe I chose. There are four elements — tzatziki sauce, cucumber salsa, chicken and bread — and preparing each was more time-consuming than I thought.

Chop cucumbers. Chop garlic. Chop more cucumbers. There is a lot of chopping in this recipe.

Still, it was worth it. The chicken took on a new flavor when it was tossed with the herbed garlic oil. The tzatziki, a yogurt-based sauce often found in Greek food, turned out to be the perfect balance of garlic and lemon.

The cucumber salsa was light and flavorful, like a chopped salad — you could eat it on its own. The warm pita bread, brushed with the herbed garlic oil, was heavenly.

Take the time to run the bread under the broiler. It makes the dish.

Would I make it again? Yes, but for a weekend meal. There's nothing like a two-fer.

Bee staff writer Kerry McCray can be reached at or 578-2358.

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What The Testers Had To Day

The recipe for roasting a chicken is easy enough, and it results in a delicious, moist and tender chicken. My only question is why anyone would want to do this during the summer, unless she has an outdoor oven. Preparing the chicken in the same manner and then putting it on a spit (outside) would be a good alternative. I didn't make the gyros, for I like to use my leftover chicken in a chicken salad. Adding lemon juice to the pan gravy lifted the gravy out of the ordinary. It went very well with the lemony/garlic chicken.

— Ralph Moore, Modesto
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I used a rotisserie chicken. Light, fresh, flavorful and different. The tart yogurt contrasts perfectly with the sweetness of the cucumber. The naan bread was by far everyone's favorite, but very pricey. A delicious meal at the end a hot summer day.

— Lisa Moreci, Oakdale

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