Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easy Roast Chicken Dinner

My roommates and I decided to cook Easter dinner for ourselves since none of us would be spending Easter with our families this year. I was craving turkey earlier in the week, but decided on roasting a chicken instead because I discovered a very juicy, delicious, and easy roast chicken recipe last year. 

Heat oven to 450 degrees


Whole Chicken (generally 3 lbs, though I used a 6 lb for Easter dinner)

1-2 Whole Lemons

1 Whole Garlic Head

1 Large Onion

1 cup Chicken Broth

1/4 cup Butter, softened (or substitute oil)

1 1/2 tsp Salt

Pepper (to taste)

Garlic Powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 

Slice the onion into medium thickness slices and layer the bottom of a roasting pan with the slices. 

Remove the giblets and any fat from the chicken cavity and then rinse chicken. Thoroughly pat dry. Then place the chicken on top of the onion slices in the pan. 

Combine salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle 1/4 of the salt mixture inside the chicken cavity. 

Cut the garlic head in half and add one half to the rear of the chicken cavity. 

Roll the lemons on the counter with your hand to soften, then prick with a fork, going all the way through the rind to the flesh. Add both lemons to the chicken cavity (if both fit). Then add the second half of the garlic head to the cavity. 

Rub the softened butter over the outside of the chicken until it is completely covered. Sprinkle the rest of the salt mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle a little of the salt mixture under the skin directly onto the chicken breast for added flavor. 

Pour the broth into the bottom of the pan.

Roast for 60-65 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees F, juices run clear when pricked with a fork, and the drumstick moves easily in its socket. Cover the chicken and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

They. Ate. Thirds.

I was floored, flabbergasted and ecstatic. Two of my three kiddos are light eaters and one in particular generally takes aaaaaaas looooooong aaaaaaas possible to finish his dinner, even if he likes it. Having thirds of anything - really, anything - is unheard of.

We've never read Calvin & Hobbes to the kids, but as my oldest climbed the basement stairs and entered the kitchen, his first question, wrinkly nose and all was, "What's that smell?" 

Who knew Italian sausage could smell repulsive. I personally think it has a pleasant comfort-food aroma. Much to his chagrin I announced that it was dinner and yes, he would be eating it.

Dinner was actually a variation on a theme - the adults in the house being the only members of the family who could actually enjoy the entire dish (due to allergies).

Roasted Potatoes:

Med. Red Skin potatoes (roughly 2-3 lbs) cut in large-bite-size pieces (skin on)
Tossed in:
Olive oil
Onion powder 
(basically every savory herb I could quickly grab, except garlic which one of the kiddos is allergic to)

Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 min, on parchment covered baking sheet. Turn a couple times for even roasting.

Italian Sausage:

Bulk-style (no skin). Pan-fried over med-low until cooked through and crumbly


Sunny-side-up (2 each for the adults, 1 for a non-allergic child)

Shredded cheese for non-dairy allergic folks.


The kiddos who ate thirds had potatoes with sausage on top. They LOVED it. Yes, that grouchy boy who knew he was going to hate dinner, loved it.

It was one of those moments where you want to bang your head on something because you try to make elaborate meals that everyone can eat (and will like) and apparently all it takes is a 99 cent bag of potatoes and some sausage. Well, what's not to love, right? No head-banging ensued because honestly, thirds?!?!?!?! I really can't complain!

Hubby and I had the Potatoes, sausage, shredded cheese and eggs on top. Delish! Garlic-allergic kiddo had potatoes, cheese and an egg (no sausage for her). She had seconds on potatoes.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Meatless Friday

This recipe for Smoked Salmon Hash with Guacamole was in the paper, recently.

I thought it would be a good Meatless Friday meal. I like that Wolfgang Puck suggests dicing and sautéing the veggies the night before - he sounds like my kind of cook!

I'm including the recipe here, in case they remove the link at some point in the future:

1 c. red pepper
3/4 c. red onion
1.5 c potatoes
All diced fine
Saute peppers and onions first, set aside
Saute potatoes, covered for 5 min until tender (season with salt&pepper to taste)
Add to peppers/onions

1/2 lb cold smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs minced fresh dill
4 eggs, whisked
Scoop mixture, 1/2 cup at a time into saute pan drizzled with olive oil (med-high heat) cook 2-3 min, flip, repeat.

Garnish with Guacamole (he includes a recipe for this, but I prefer a simpler version)

1 avocado, mashed
squirt of lemon juice
salt&pepper to taste
(may throw in some red pepper or garlic powder)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Chipotle" Burrito Bowls on the Cheap

This is definitely a multi-step meal. It's one of those recipes that only seems manageable if all the stars align. Apparently they did, today.

One of my children is allergic to garlic, so when I had a bunch of tomatoes that needed to be used, fresh garlic-free salsa seemed an obvious choice. I bought fresh cilantro and lime juice for the recipe, which sparked the idea for the rest of the meal...

SalsaFresh Tomato Salsa - I omitted the jalapeños. I made this in the a.m.

Roast Beef* seasoned to taste with cumin, dried oregano, a bay leaf, salt & pepper.

Basmati rice, cooked as usual, with an added bay leaf.
After cooking, squirt lime juice over rice (to taste). Add finely chopped fresh cilantro. Fluff rice with a fork.

Black Beans:
Open can, warm.

Fajita Veggies:
Green pepper and onion, sliced and sautéed in olive-oil.
(Not normally something I'd bother with, but what else do you do with a leftover 1/2 a green pepper?)

Put everything on the table and assemble in your own bowl! Sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped lettuce were available to add as desired.

This was a huge hit, especially with the kids since they never get the real deal from Chipotle. My garlic-allergic child was over the moon about "her" salsa!

*Roast Beef:
I had previously crock-potted a 3 lb. beef chuck roast overnight on low, with a bit of beef stock, a couple bay leaves, salt & pepper.

In the morning I divided the roast into 6 wide-mouth pint-size canning jars (3/4 full), distributing the juices among the jars.

I put these in the chest freezer for later use.

To use: run lower part of jar under hot water for about 30 seconds. The frozen meat/juice then slides out easily to be thawed/warmed in a covered pan over low heat, stirring occasionally. At this point, you can add whatever seasonings you like to make the beef suit your meal.

Why a canning jar? - No plastic flavor!

For this recipe I used 2 jars for 2 adults and 3 young children. This was more than enough; in the future I'll stick to 1 jar.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Meatless Friday

Pancakes and fish. Not normally recipes I would put in the same post, but since they're amazing, I'm eating both of them today (for different meals) and they're meatless, here you go!

High-Protein Gluten-Free Pancakes
*contains eggs and dairy products*

Follow this recipe from Whole Foods website with the following changes:

substitute 1 cup of wheat flour for 1 cup of gluten-free flour (link found here).

I eyeball the milk, adding a bit at a time, since GF flour takes different amounts of liquid than wheat flour. I'd guess I use roughly 1/3 cup.

I skip the oil ever since I forgot to add it once and it didn't make any difference whatsoever.

I also add 1-1.5 tsp vanilla extract. I love vanilla extract.

Cook on a griddle over med heat until the batter bubbles, then flip (2nd side cooks quickly!)

Dad's Amazing Swai (fish)**
*allergen-free, aside from fish*

I'm not sure if he invented this or got the recipe elsewhere, so credit goes to my dad. Thanks Dad!

Cover baking sheet in aluminum foil for easy clean-up

Heat oven to 400 degrees


Thawed Swai fillets, approx 1 per person
- bought at Aldi, $5.50 for a 2 lb bag

Olive oil heated with onion (I'm using powder) and dried parsley to infuse flavor

Crushed potato chips


Blot fillets with paper towel to get rid of excess moisture

Coat fish with olive oil and cover liberally in potato chip crumbs, both sides.

Tuck under smaller tail ends so they don't dry out

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

How tough is that?! ...and it's melt-in-your-mouth, tastes like a-million bucks AMAZING!

P.S. All 3 of my children had seconds!

**Never heard of Swai? I hadn't either. Here's a brief introduction to this delicious, inexpensive fish.