Crazy Mother Clucker

Merry Christmas everyone!!!  Wanna know why Christmas is one of my favorite holidays?  The food. Duh!  Bet you didn’t see that one coming.  Anyways, my family doesn’t really have any set traditional Christmas spread.  Instead, we usually just go with the flow and make what feels most festive.  Often this involves either a turkey or chicken.   This year, I offered to take on the sometimes terrifying task of taming the bird.  I know what you’re thinking, that there’s no way that roasting an entire chicken can be a time saver… ever, let alone easy.  It is!!!  This recipe has a few simple ingredients that will knock the socks off of anyone at any time of the year.  

Grocery List:

** Keep in mind that you may have to increase the amount of herbs, garlic and butter if you’ve got a bigger bird!

  • Whole raw chicken (any size that works with the amount of people that you’re feeding.  When I make this for just me and my roommate, I stick to a 3-4 lb chicken and we have enough for lots of great leftovers) and get rid of those giblets!  I usually ask my butcher to just pull ’em out for me at the grocery store but if they won’t do it or you forget to ask, roll up your sleeves, close your eyes, and feel around for a little bag and throw those things away!
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed (just peel them and smack them with the flat side of your knife)
  • 1 Lemon cut in half (roll it around on your cutting board first before you cut in to it just to get all those great creative juices flowing, don’t worry about the seeds!)
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 Tbsp of chopped rosemary
  • 1Tbsp of chopped thyme
  • 2-3 Tbsp of butter at a nice and soft and at room temperature 
  • Lots of Salt n Pepper

How to:

  1. Prep all of your ingredients, chop up the herbs, give the lemon a roll and a slice, you know the drill.Image
  2. Time for the bird bath!  Give the bird a nice sink shower and be sure to pat it super dry. If you leave any moisture that’s going to end up steaming the skin and preventing it from getting nice and crispy.
  3. Insert your lemon halves, sprigs of rosemary and thyme, and your crushed garlic.  I know it may feel like you’re violating the poor thing but I promise you it’s okay.
  4. This chick is getting totally pampered, not only did it just get a nice bath, but now it’s time to give the bird a butter massage.  Use your fingers to coat the skin with a liberal layer of butter.
  5. At this point it’s time to get crazy, sprinkle on all those chopped herbs and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  6. After such an exhausting few minutes, the bird is probably going to be exhausted.  Let it res at room temperature for an hour.  (This is a great time for you to go take a bubble bath, read, or do pretty much anything you would think the time consuming act of roasting a chicken would prevent you from doing.)Image
  7. Pre-heat you oven to 450′.  I usually cook my 3-4 lb bird at 450′ F for about an hour or until the meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165′ F for the bird.  Let your roasting pan or skillet heat up with the oven.
  8. Once your oven is all fired up it’s time to get that thing in there!  Set it for about 45 minutes.  That’s usually a good time to check and see how your bird’s tan is coming along.Image
  9. Once the internal temp is 165 that thing is totally cooked.  Pull your pan out and let the chicken sit for a good 20 minutes just to make sure that all of those great juices don’t escape.
  10. Carve and enjoy!

I told you it wasn’t that hard!  Plus, this chicken also makes for great left overs that you can use for chicken soup and totally kick-ass chicken salad.  It’s like the gift that keeps on giving! I hope you all had an absolutely amazing holiday and that you give this chicken roasting thing a go.

Keep eating and clinking!

-C

Some Hot and Heavy Cooking

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My mother and I were doing a quick run through at target to buy a Christmas tree (last minute, we know) but we decided to take a detour through the book section.  Now let me begin by explaining that to say chicken was a staple in my family’s diet growing up is a HUGE understatement.  We had it at least four times a week and there was even a period around the age of 10 when I went on chicken strike.  Now, I cook it almost as much as my mother did and I think my wonderful roommate is on the verge of striking out on me as well.

As my mother and I were meandering the aisles of books my eyes caught a cook book that I had to show my mother, Fifty Shades of Chicken: A parody in a Cookbook, that boasted “50 Chicken Recipes Bound to Be Delicious”.  My mother took a look at the cover, had a laugh, and told me to throw it in to the cart.

The next morning, my mother told me that she felt the cook book was something that was more appropriate for my kitchen than hers.  I sat down to see what she meant and gave the cookbook a quick once over.  It didn’t take me long to realize that this cookbook really was a parody of the book Fifty Shades of Gray.  While the cook book has some seriously tantalizing recipes such as Roasted Chicken with Brandy-Vanilla Butter and Crispy Chicken Tenders with Cashews and Coconut Curry, it also has some hot and steamy narratives.  Let me tell you that roasting a chicken has never seemed so sexy.  Plus, the book comes with some great preparation illustrations:

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All humor aside, the dishes in here look great and there are some excellent new ways to teach an old bird new tricks.  I can’t wait to get all tied up in a few of these recipes.

Here’s the link to the book site:
http://www.fiftyshadesofchicken.com/
Keep eating and clinking!

-C

Against All Odds…

I have found a way to prepare brussel sprouts that won’t have you gagging at the dinner table.  Even better news?  It’s literally the simplest recipe known to man.  My roommate and I have become devout eaters of the little mini cabbages and we make them at least three times a week.  Even on nights when we have no time at all, we’ll buy a roasted chicken from the grocery sore, make some uncle Ben’s 90-second rice, and finish with these veggies and before we know it we have something that at least resembles a well cooked meal our mothers would be proud of.  Suspend your disbelief, follow the recipe, and let your preconceived notion that brussels are nasty, bitter little bulbs melt away.

Grocery List:

  • One package of FRESH brussels
  •  4 Tbsp of butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Olive oil
  • Salt and peper (amount is at the discretion of your taste buds)

How To:

  1. Cut the ends of your brussels off and then cut them in half length wise.  Remove the outer layer of the leaves.  Some of the other leaves will just fall off but keep them!  They get all crispy and buttery and wonderful.
  2. Put your olive oil and 1 Tbsp of your butter in the bottom of a fairly large pan and cook over medium-high heat until the butter melts in to the oil.  Why both oil and butter you ask?  The combination together makes sure that neither one will burn off and, in turn, burn your veggies or whatever else you try to cook in the pan.  (definitely something to keep in mind when searing sea scallops!)
  3.  Once the oil and butter have mellowed out together it’s time for the main act.  Add in your brussels, salt and pepper the green lovelies, and nest your remaining 3 Tbsp of butter in the sprouts.Image
  4. Let the butter melt and coat the brussel sprouts as the sprouts them selves soften up.  You want to wait until the sprouts are fork tender which usually takes about 15 minutes, but keep taste-testing them every now and then just to make sure.  Once they’ve gotten a little brown on the outside and totally tender, it’s time to serve!Image

These veggies have a pretty bad rap, but I promise you that if you give this recipe a try, you won’t regret giving these greens the opportunity to redeem themselves.  Keep thinking and clinking!

-C

Totally Roasted

Okay, if I were ever to be put in some kind of god-awful situation in which I was only allowed to own one appliance (with the exception of the fundamentals : over, microwave, stove, fridge) for the rest of my life if would be… A CROCK POT.  It’s a tiny little time savor that practically makes dinner for you.  This little wonder will have you on your way to chicken and beef that melts like butter in your mouth and perfectly stewed vegetables that are fork tender.  What’s better, is the crock pot is something that you actually can set and forget.  It cooks by itself all day and just when you stomach starts sending you those “feed me” signals, your meal is conveniently cooked to perfection.  My favorite crock pot creation is a pot roast.

Grocery List:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 lb chuck roast
  • 1 Large white onion
  • a couple liberal handfuls of baby carrots
  • 3-4 larger red potatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 dried Bay leaves
  • 1/4 of white cooking wine
  • 2 Tbsp of Olive oil
  • 1 can of beef broth

How To:

  1. Take your crock pot pan (not the heating plate) and put it directly on the stove, and get a little bit of olive oil going in the bottom of it.  Once the oil easily coats the bottom of the pan, place the roast in.  Let each side sit for about a minute so that each and every side gets a little bit of a browning thing going on each side.photo-21
  2. Take your roast off of the heat and let it sit while you chop up all of your onions and potatoes.  Toss in your carrots and one or two bay leafs (whatever the cooking spirits are telling you at the time) and empty out that can of beef broth over your soon-to-be-perfectly-roasted roast.

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3. Once you’re done all of the above, take the crock pot, place it on the heating platform and cover it with its lid.  Depending on how large the roast is, I usually stack a text book or two on top of the lid handle just to make sure that none of the heat escapes.

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4.  Depending on how much time you have set the roast on setting 6 (the highest setting) if you’re aiming to eat in 4-5 hours and set it on more of a mid level heating if you’re going to be gone all day (6-8 hours).

5.  By the time you come home, your masterpiece should look a little something like this:

 

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6.  I usually like to serve these up with some brussell sprouts sautéed in butter and olive oil with a little salt and pepper but absolutely any green veggie works perfectly fine with this dish.

 

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Oh, and a little wine is always a good idea too.  I hope you all give this ridiculously easy and delicious dish a try.  It’s a huge time saver, not to mention, it’s the dish that keeps on giving.  Sandwiches and soup for days to follow.  Keep clinking and thinking!

-C