Monday, January 11, 2016

Goals for the Year, and a Quick Roast Chicken

It's been a month since I posted.  Yikes.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  I'm either late or early, depending how you look at it.
I fell into the busy excuse over Christmas as to why I wasn't posting, and then it became a habit to not post.  I've also been reading a ton and not really internetting as much (the horror!)
But J and I spent a quiet holiday here on the mountain, eating at home for almost 2 weeks straight.  I don't think we've ever really done that in a good long time!  We had Prime Rib for Christmas and Hot Wings for New Year's Eve, and had chili while watching football until our eyes fell out New Year's Day.  Then I went back to work.
J and I aren't big into resolutions (although I often make a few here around the blog), but we have made a commitment to eating better this year.  He would like to lose some weight, and I know that I could stand to do the same.  Not that either of us are into counting calories or following a program.  There's too much good food out there!
But eating more mindfully isn't a bad idea.  To that end, we've made a few adjustments to our diet, and J's pants are looser already.  That doesn't really change what will happen around here:  it's still comfort food, and the things that are showing up on our table.  But we've made a decision to switch to water as the usual drink of choice around here, and I've made the promise that I will cook fish more often, cook meatless weekly, and incorporate more fresh produce into meals.
Here's what to expect around here in 2016:

  1. The Magazine Challenge rolls on, and we're in 2008 now.  I've updated the Magazine Challenge page to reflect this, and have posted the recipes for January/February.  We've found some new favourites through the past few years.  I hope to find more.  I also wonder what I will do with 5 years of Everyday Food when I'm done this.  I'm going to regain the space that they currently take up.
  2. I've told J that I want to cook a meatless meal every week.  Meat is expensive, and we eat too much of it to my way of thinking.  He's not so sure, but I've been pinning and reading.  There should be some good things coming.
  3. I promised that I will try and cook fish once a week.  I'm still not a fan, but I'll try.  We've had some tilapia recently with a pistachio crust that was really good.  I'm making the Blackened Tilapia recipe from this blog this week.  I'm trying.
  4. Blog events!  The next upcoming one is #FreshTastyValentines in February.  It fits in perfectly with what we want to do food-wise.  
So there's the plans, in a nutshell.  But I promised a chicken.
J has eaten salads for a long time for lunch, but we're making them larger, and have been looking for protein that he can add, along with more vegetables (I still take soup for lunch.  I heart soup, especially in this weather).  He suggested a rotisserie chicken, but I refused to spend what the grocery stores were charging.  But when whole chickens went on sale this week, I told him I'd roast a chicken and we could use the meat for his salads, and freeze some for a casserole later, and then use the carcass to make broth.
I found a video on Facebook from Martha Stewart of how to roast the perfect chicken.  I followed it, and it's super easy.  My oven is a greasy mess right now, but I'll clean it when it cools.  The house, however, smells amazing.
I present to you now Quick Roast Chicken:

1 small chicken, about 3 lbs
1 lemon
Seasoning (you can use salt and pepper, or an herb blend.  I used Caribeque Island Thyme)

1.  Preheat oven to 425F.  Place a rack in a large pan or roaster.  Slice lemon into rounds, about 1/2" thick.  Lay slices out on the rack in the center.  The chicken will rest on these slices.
2.  With a pair of kitchen shears, cut along the backbone of the chicken and remove the backbone.  Save it to make broth later.  Open chicken up, and lay on the lemon slices, skin side up.  Press down in the centre of the breast until you crack the breastbone to make the chicken as flat as possible.
3.  Drizzle chicken with a small amount of oil, and sprinkle with seasoning.  Massage over skin of the chicken before placing chicken in the oven.
4.  Roast chicken at 425F for 40-50 minutes, until the thigh meat registers 165F on a digital thermometer.
I used this video from Martha Stewart

I think I need another rack.  One that fits in my roasting pan.  The rimmed baking sheet I used wasn't the best for this.  The oil collected in the lower left corner and spattered everywhere.  I now need to make time to clean my oven.  Including the top coils, which had oil dripping off them.  Le sigh.
Have you ever cut the backbone out of a chicken with kitchen shears?  Neither had I, until now.  It's surprisingly easy.  Then you flatten the bird with your hands,
...massage it with oil and seasoning...
...and let it make a mess of your oven until it looks like this.  Isn't this pretty?  It was super simple to carve too.  Now we have chicken for this week and beyond, and a clean oven to boot.  Not too shabby.

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