Friday, March 22, 2013

Sunday Dinner on a Tuesday Night: Roast Chicken and No Fuss Potatoes

This post has been in the works for several days. Our family has started a new adventure! We put our house for sale this week and have had several showings so my time in the kitchen is limited and not super post worthy! Last nigh, we had our dear friends and neighbors over for lasagna! I made the same recipe that I posted a few weeks ago from he fill the freezer day.

This post isn't about lasagna however, it is about roast chicken with lovely no fuss potatoes. I've posted roast chicken before. It is one of the easiest meats to prepare. At Target, I found a whole chickens that did not include the giblets or neck which meant minimal cleaning. This recipe takes less than 10 minutes prep and then 90 minutes of roasting time. Please note from my picture that the chicken roasts just fine if you put it in the dish upside down!

Roast Chicken:


1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Rosemary
1 tsp Parsley
1 lemon, quartered
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, quartered

Preheat oven to 425*. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Place the bird in a baking dish that has 2-3 inches between the bird and dish. Stuff the gap around the chicken with the quarters of lemon, onion and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve.

The other part of the meal was the yummy potatoes! Potatoes are a staple starch in this house. I was feeling a bit blah about them, I went to my go to recipe ideas, the pioneer woman! She had a hot crash potato recipe. I changed it up a bit because I had different ingredients on hand.

No Fuss Potatoes:


12 small Yukon gold potatoes
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for 15-20 minutes. A fork should pierce them easily. Preheat the oven to 475F. Drain and let the potatoes cool for 5 minutes. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Using a potato masher, gently press down to mash each one. The tops of the potatoes should be really textured. Replace on top of each potato any part that slides off or sticks to the masher. Drizzle the tops of the potatoes with the olive oil. Sprinkle generously with parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday Fish & Chips

Last nights menu was consisted of beer battered fish and chips. I also made peas to offset a little of my guilt for making a fried feast! This is one meal that I can count on everyone eating! This meal also ranks at the top of the messy scale! It starts with peeling potatoes and ends with frying fish. My youngest son, Colin stepped in again and learned how to peel potatoes and use the vegetable cutter. That was about all he could do because I don't like the boys to be in be kitchen when I fry. One of my irrational mom fears is somebody getting burned by hot oil! For the French fries, I soak them for an hour in cold water, changing the water half way bough the soak.

Beer Battered Fish & Chips:
(Serves 6)

6 cups vegetable oil
6 large baking potatoes, cut into French fry slices
1 (12 oz) bottle beer
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 lbs cod or other mild white fish. Cut filets in half
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + extra for sprinkling on fries
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Soak potatoes slices in cold water for an hour. Change the water after 30 minutes to remove the starch. Heat oil to 275*. Fry potatoes in batches for 3-4 minutes removing with a slotted spoon. Place the soft fries on a paper towel lined tray. After cooking all the fries, heat the oil up to 375*. Fry the potatoes a second time for 4-5 minutes. Drain on clean paper towels nd sprinkle ith kosher salt. Hold in low oven to keep warm while cooking the fish.

In a large bowl, pour in 1 bottle of beer. Sift 1 1/2 cups flour into the bowl, whisking in gently until just combined, stir in salt, pepper and garlic powder. Pat fish dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper and coat the fish in the beer batter. Dredge the pieces of fish in 1/2 cup of remaining flour and slide into oil as coated. Fry fish, turning over frequently, until deep golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Fry remaining fish in batches, returning oil to 375 degrees F between batches.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Learning to Cook: Creamy Pesto Shrimp Scampi & Cherry Tomato Salad

My boys have always loved to help me in the kitchen. They are sure to be around when I need to crack eggs or top pizzas! Recently however, they have wanted to be in he kitchen every time I cook. As I told a friend, I've now been relegated to sous chef and clean up crew!! I am enjoying my new status and get a kick out of their excitement and pride of learning new skills! My youngest son accidentally burned himself taking tortillas out of the oven and I feared that would be the end of his cooking days, bu he was right back th next night and created a yummy creamy pesto shrimp scampi! My 16 year old niece was here for dinner and couldn't believe her 7 year old cousin stood at the stove and made dinner. He looks really cute standing on a step stool, not hat I'm biased!

To go with the shrimp and pasta, my oldest son made a marinated cherry tomato salad. It was super simple and I threw together the tomato and onions with the marinade before leaving for work. This was a recipe that I saw on the Pioneer Woman last weekend. My oldest son put the salad together before dinner. He cut up a head of lettuce and then mixed it with the marinated tomatoes and onions.

Creamy Pesto Shrimp Scampi:
(Serves 8)

1 pound angel hair pasta pasta
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pesto
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until al dente; drain. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in cream, and season with pepper. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir Parmesan cheese into cream sauce, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Blend in the pesto, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened.
Stir in the shrimp, and cook until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. Serve over the hot angel hair pasta.

Quick Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad:
(Serves 8)

1 pint red grape tomatoes
1 pint yellow grape tomatoes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 heaping tablespoon jarred pesto
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, pressed
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 head iceburg lettuce, cut into chunks

Halve the tomatoes and add them to a large zipper bag with the sliced red onion. Add the olive oil, balsamic, parsley, pesto, sugar, garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Seal the bag, getting all the air out. Place into the fridge until ready for dinner. Place the iceberg lettuce in a large bowl and pour on the tomatoes. Toss and serve!

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Fill The Freezer Meal: Dijon Pork Loin

It has been almost 3 weeks since my last post! I was sick for a week and my husband went out of town. Add to that a busy work and you get not much cooking! One of the highlights during that time was the beautiful pork loin that my friend, Kristi, made for the fill the freezer event! As you can see below, my non-meat eater really enjoyed the meal! My husband liked it too and he doesn't usually like pork. I think the mushroom sauce is what gave it the extra yumminess!

I paired the pork loin with Parmesan asparagus and mashed potatoes. I modified the cooking temperature, I turned it down to 275* and tented the roast with foil. I also added a cup of chicken broth after Kristi let me know that the roast needed more liquid when she cooked it. This was a wonderfully easy meal that my family voted into the regular rotation!