whole roasted chicken

Hey y’all! I know, I know… It’s been a while. But my post-bar life has been nothing short of exhilarating. I just got back from Paris and Normandy with my uncle – we had the most amazing week ever. For real. A HUGE food post is on its way! I documented all of our food adventures quite religiously (which was hard, given the fact that I just wanted to dig in the second the food hit the table…) so, get excited.
But anywho, since that post isn’t ready for the blogosphere yet, I have another recipe to share in the meantime: how to roast a whole chicken. It sounds intimidating, but it’s actually super easy [I promise]. It’s better to have an extra set of hands to help (so you don’t have to use your chicken hands to grab the EVOO, salt, etc.), so it’s a great date night idea! Cooking dates are just the best, don’t y’all think?

whole roasted chicken

    ingredients

• one bird (Whole Foods has organic, young chickens that are generally always the perfect size – ours was somewhere around 4 lbs I think.)
• 2 lemons
• 2 medium yellow onions
• 1 package fresh thyme
• 3 medium russet potatoes (or red potatoes)
• EVOO
• salt+pepper

    directions

Preheat your oven to 425F, and then get started on the bird. Cut it out of the packaging, remove the bag on the inside of the cavity that has all the innards in it, and wash that puppy with cold water (really well). Once it’s all clean, pat her dry with paper towels. Make sure the cavity is nice and dry, too!
Next, separate the outer skin from the breasts (gently!) with a knife and your hands, so that you can slide your hands underneath the skin all the way to the front of the bird. Get your extra set of hands to pour your EVOO inside the skin, on the outside of the bird, and in the cavity – while you hold her open. Next, have them do the same (liberally) with salt and pepper. Don’t forget the cavity and the outside!
Wash your hands (and sterilize your sink…) and prep your veggies. Peel and cut your onions into quarters – or smaller if you wish – and quarter your lemons. Also cut your potatoes – we cut ours into quarters and then into semi-thin slices so they got all nice and crispy. But you can chop them up however you please.
Now comes the fun part – put your bird into a roasting pan and shove as much of the onions, lemons, and thyme as will fit up your chicken’s rear end. Place the stuff that won’t fit in the bird around it in the roasting pan. Surround the bird with the potatoes, too, and finish it all off with some EVOO and salt+pepper.
Finally, toss that baby in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the juices run clear when you tug on the legs and the skin breaks. It will look all golden brown and beautiful. When you take her out of the oven, cover everything with aluminum foil and let her rest for about 20 minutes – to finish the internal cooking.
And then… *drumroll*… you have a beautiful, roasted chicken! Serve her with an arugula salad – and a nice bottle of wine – and you’ve got yourself a healthy, super delicious – and impressive – meal!

Eat up y’all!

Everything’s ready to go! [raw chicken looks so weird…]

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                                                                          Before and After!

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Master carver, going to town on our bird!20130826-100352.jpg

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Our final product!

perfect herb grilled chicken [à la Gwyneth Paltrow]

Remember when I said that studying for the Bar would yield more recipe posts? Well, here it is. I consider it a stress response. Sometimes getting multiple low-percents (not going to reveal how low…) in one week on Barbri MPQ1s is just too much to handle. So, what do I do? Focus on improving my cooking expertise. You know, just in case being a lawyer doesn’t work out? I can be a line cook somewhere, right? Right. [Yikes.]

This past Saturday one of my good friends from law school got hitched, to boy from our section. It was the most incredible wedding – exactly what I want when/if I get married. (Sorry Katie, I may or may not copy everything you did. kgreatthx.) Anyway, the night before leaving for Nashvegas, Jamie (my perfect wedding date) came into Bham to spend the night and do generally girly things. I made dinner for Jamie, my mom, and I before heading to the Summit for Steel City Pops and a little Sephora run (oops?). I made a great chicken recipe from It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow [a superb cookbook that I got for graduation from my second-dad and second-step mother, who just know me oh so well. It’s ridiculous how perfect this gift was.] It’s a great gift for anyone that wants healthy recipes that are [for the most part] easy to make. I really love it because its basic tenet is simple: clean eating (i.e., whole foods, lots of veggies and lean proteins, no sugar added in any recipe, etc.) It’s a great compromise after going paleo last summer because it includes all of the things I loved about the paleo diet, without the [fairly intense] strictness that comes with it. Ok, I’m getting off my soapbox now. I should be a spokesperson for her book. Really.

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The final product got Jamie’s stamp of approval, and she’s one of the most straight-forward/no BS people I know. So if she says it’s good, by golly, it’s probably a keeper.

[Also, aren’t we cute?]

perfect herbed grilled chicken*

ingredients:

  • 1 tsp dried sage (fresh is preferable, if you have it!)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (ditto)
  • 1 tsp very finely chopped fresh rosemary (which I actually had)
  • 1 Tbs dried basil (fresh, if possible)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbs freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick

directions:

Combine the herbs, garlic, EVOO, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add your flattened chicken to it and rub the herby-goodness all over those babies. Make sure you cover each piece, and on both sides! Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least 1/2 hour (go longer if you can! Even over night is an option). It should look something like this:

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Heat a grill pan over medium heat (or plug in your handy dandy George Forman!). Grill those puppies until just cooked through (it won’t take long, since they’re so thin – about 2 – 3 minutes on each side).

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I served it with roasted sweet potato wedges, caramelized, shredded brussels sprouts (recipe to come!), and a pretty stellar French wine.

Now, just try to tell me that that does not look fantastic? And it’s such a clean meal. It was perfect for a night before wedding debauchery shenanigans.

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*sigh*

I should have been born in France. Did I tell y’all that if I could be/do anything in the world, I would be an oenologist?

Eat up [and drink up], y’all!

*per usual, I edited the recipe a little bit based on what I had in stock. The book is reallllllyyyy worth the purchase, in my humble opinion. Plus, it’s a pretty one to keep on the coffee table! 

basil chicken + coconut curry sauce

I usually don’t go wild (read: ethnic) with my cooking choices, beyond the occasional french dessert (coming soon!) But I had purchased a can of lite coconut milk, and I was just dying to use it for something. So, obviously, some version of thai-inspired gastronomics was required. I had the boy over to dine with my roommate and me to try out my new foray into ethnic cooking, and it was a huge success. Both approved! It’s a healthier version of your traditional coconut curry sauce – because I used lite coconut milk – but it was still pretty decadent! And you also get your veggies, plus some pretty tasty spices to make it taste a lot more sinful than it really is. [Plus, the big kicker: it was easy and didn’t take that long at all.]

I did some research on-line, trying to find a recipe that included mostly (if not only) ingredients that I already had in the pantry (seeing a trend with this yet?). The tastiest-sounding recipe I found had quite an extensive spice ingredient list for the curry sauce… so I adapted it to fit my cupboard stash. I served the chicken+sauce over quinoa, and the final outcome was pretty freaking delicious. So, here goes nothin’:

basil chicken + coconut curry sauce 

Ingredients: (made enough for 3 people with ~1 serving of left overs)

  • 3 medium-sized chicken breasts, cut into short strips/chunks
  • 1 can (14 oz) lite coconut milk
  • cooked quinoa (make as much as you want. It’s great to have some cooked quinoa in the fridge for mixing with veggies and vinaigrette, or to serve as a last-minute side dish.)
  • 1 large handful basil leaves, torn into chunks (I just used a whole package from the store. I love basil, plus it was about to go bad in my fridge, anyway!)
  • 1 large yellow (or you can use sweet) onion, sliced in half and then sliced fairly thinly (read: you don’t want the full rings, but I’m having a hard time articulating how to slice things, apparently.) 
  • ~5 garlic cloves, minced (use more or less, depending on your love of garlic)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger 
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or some other kind of fat)
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • lime juice, to taste

For the curry:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cumin
  • pinch ground cloves
  • dash of curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne 
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Look at those pretty ingredients (sitting on our ancient stove):

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Directions:

Mix together all of your spices for the curry in a small bowl and set aside. Then get out a big sauté pan and heat your 2 Tbsp oil on high heat. When your oil is hot, add onions and jalapeños and cook them for about 3 minutes, stirring enough to keep them from burning. Next, add your ginger, garlic and spice mixture. Mix it all together so everything is coated and cook for about a minute.

Then add the chicken and coconut milk. Stir it around so everything, again, is nicely coated. Bring to a simmer, reduce your heat, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes. (15 was perfect for my ancient stovetop. Just check your chicken to make sure it’s not pink on the inside, but still tender!) When the chicken is done, turn off the heat and add the basil leaves and lime juice. Serve your aromatic concoction over cooked quinoa and you’re good to go! 

Eat up, y’all! 

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humpday dinner: simple baked pesto chicken + baked sweet potato wedges + sautéed asparagus

To say that I am extraordinarily sore from Tuesday’s WOD is the understatement of my week, or maybe even month. We did Murph [click here for more info and the story behind this Hero WOD], and my legs have absolutely ceased functioning. My back and arms just started to catch the wave last night, too, so I may be an invalid by this afternoon. hurts. so. good. #soreisthenewsexy (yeah, I said it.) 

But that’s enough about Crossfit. Now onto what y’all are here to read about: FOOD. I wanted to make something simple – out of ingredients I already had in my kitchen (shocker) – for Kennedy and me for dinner. So, I threw together with this super simple meal. My mom has always said that when planning a meal, the more colorful your plate, the more well-rounded it is. This meal has all the food-color-groups; and it’s über healthy, to boot! I’ve listed the instructions for the three parts of the meal in order of longest-to-shortest prep/cook time.

So here it goes:

baked sweet potato wedges/fries

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium/large sweet potato, skinned and cut into wedges or fries 
  • salt + pepper, to taste [feel free to add some cumin or paprika, etc. if you’re feelin it!]
  • olive oil

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400F. Toss your sweet potato wedges with about 1 to 2 Tbs olive oil and salt + pepper (to taste) in a mixing bowl, like so:

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Throw onto a pan [if you line the pan with aluminum foil, it’ll make the clean up easier] and into the oven for ~15 minutes. Then remove the pan and turn them over. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes , or until nice and browned around the edges. [I tend to like mine a little charred/crispy, so just keep an eye on them if you prefer them a little less done!]

simple baked pesto chicken

Remember the pesto from last week’s date night pizza duo? Well, just in case you don’t, go here for the pesto recipe. Store-bought pesto will obviously also work, but it won’t be as good as fresh! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbs basil-rosemary pesto 
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • olive oil (for baking pan) 
  • ~ 3-4 Tbs grated Pecorino cheese 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400F, if not already done so for your sweet taters. Then slice your chicken breast horizontally, so you have two  thinner pieces of chicken. Pour some olive oil into a pan and place your chicken breast slices in there. Next, spread your pesto evenly on the chicken:

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Bake your chicken for about 12-13 minutes (or until it’s no longer pink inside). Remove from oven and top with the Pecorino cheese. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes until the cheese is all good and melted. And voilà! See how easy that was?! [Ok so it may not look that appetizing in the pan… I think chicken just looks funny no matter what you do to it. But I promise, it’s freaking delicious.]

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sautéed asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, for skillet

Directions:

Wash your asparagus and trim off the hard ends [I usually take off about an inch]. Heat your olive oil on medium heat and then throw those lovely green stalks in there:

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Sautée, flipping every so many minutes, until the stalks are tender [or until they give a little when you press on them with your tongs]. It should take about 8-10 minutes.

 

Alright y’all – there you have it: a healthy, easy dinner that can be made in less than 45 minutes! Add some [read: a lot of] sriracha to your plate – if spicy is your jam – and dig in. [Plus, it got Kennedy’s stamp of approval. She may be my biggest fan in the kitchen, but still…  you know it’s good.] 

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