Roast a Chicken for Me

Hello from the Philadelphia airport! I am on my way to Madrid, Spain to meet up with Michael, his sister, and his mom and stepdad! It’s been three long months since Michael left for Sweden. The wi-fi here is atrocious. This is 2012, people! Get with the wireless world. So hopefully I can get this post finished. However, when you read this I’ll be in Madrid already. So technically, hello from Madrid?

Traveling stresses me out only a little bit. Let’s just say this has been a long week, and I won’t drink coffee at night when I’m anxious anymore. The only thing I’ve had planned out for weeks is my travel outfit. Does that sound dumb? Comfort is of the utmost importance when you spend a day and night traveling. Plus, if you want to bring anything extra bulky (like boots), you should probably work them into your travel outfit so as not to have to squash them into your suitcase. Plus, hair gets flat, greasy, and unfortunate after hours on a plane. Thank goodness for braids and head scarves.

Two weeks ago Michael and I had another cooking date—a whole roasted chicken. While this may sound slightly intimidating, trust me, it’s not. And a roasted chicken is just about the best thing you can put in your oven on a Sunday afternoon. Why? Well I’ll just tell you.

A roasted chicken is super hands off. Prep it the day before you plan to roast it by spicing it up a bit. Put it in the oven for an hour to an hour and  a half. That is it!

If you are one or two people a whole chicken will feed you for at least a week. This makes the cost worth it. Chicken on salads, chicken in enchiladas, chicken on pasta….endless possibilities. Get creative with your leftovers!

Chicken parts (bones, innards, the back) are great for homemade stock. Freeze that business and use it once you’ve gathered enough chicken parts and vegetables.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner (how in the world did that even happen already?!) and maybe you don’t celebrate with a large group of people. A chicken is a great smaller alternative to a turkey.

Now, where do you get a whole chicken? I suggest you get yourself to a local butcher or venture to a nearby farmers market and make friends with a chicken farmer. Either of these places will sell you a lovely local whole chicken. Whole Foods or Fresh Market are also excellent options.

Michael did a great job with this recipe as a beginner cook. He even proudly pulled legs and a breast off of the cooked chicken, and was amazed at how the breast looked just like a boneless chicken breast he’d buy at the store.

I roasted some seasonal vegetables (oh so frickin fancy, let me stick my nose in the air, lalala)—cauliflower and potatoes. Put them in the roasting pan with the chicken when there’s about half an hour of cooking time left. Just sprinkle some salt, pepper, and olive oil over them! I also happen to like a little curry on my cauliflower.

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Easiest pizza you ever met

There are days when I really, really like my job. Tuesday was one of those days. Today was not one of those days. Today I worked pretty much every minute (minus the minutes I chatted about movies with a coworker). I also missed pilates because traffic from work to my gym was awful. My gym is really about 10 minutes from work. Today I got halfway there in 15 minutes. I blame the Colts game. My route runs very close to Lucas Oil Stadium. So tonight, I say screw you, Colts! Tonight I am not proud to live in a city of Super Bowl winners. But just tonight. I’m OK with today being entirely exhausting though because tomorrow we’re going to Chicago and I can hardly wait.
But back to Tuesday, which did not suck. Every issue of the magazine I pick a recipe that I tell the kids is awesome and tasty and easy to make. For this issue (that’s November/December, and let’s not talk about how working on Christmas stuff in August fucks up my clock) I went with pizza. Jen, the magazine’s art director, and I make these recipes in the kitchen at work and do photo shoots. Tuesday, we made this pizza, which took about two hours total (that’s not how long it’ll take you, I swear. Taking pictures adds minutes.) and made for a very pleasant morning.

mmm chicken, pineapple, and barbecue sauce!

The recipe for this pizza should probably be written on bar bathroom stalls everywhere, that’s how easy it is. You should probably make lots of batches of the crust dough at once and put them in your freezer. Then, whenever you get a pizza craving (which is like once a week for me), you can defrost one of them and have pizza in 15 minutes. You can also let the dough rise all day in the refrigerator in place of the one hour rise. I do this sometimes if I make the dough on my lunch break and want it for dinner. So, on to the recipe! I’m going to give you the two topping options that we made, but really the options are endless. Be creative! Recreate your favorite restaurant’s pizza! Make one up with the seasonal veggies available at your farmer’s market!

Roast Chicken with Fennel and Veggies

Sundays are good days to bake. Sunday nights are not always my favorite nights to cook a big dinner. I know this seems weird. Most people use Sunday night to make a good, sit down meal. But by Sunday night, I’m just so exhausted that I can hardly convince myself to make some pasta.

This Sunday, though, I’d planned to make roast chicken. The recipe calls for barely any ingredients, has very little prep, and so I figured it’d fit the bill. Of course, last night rolled around, and Adam, who was recovering from a camping bachelor party the night before, announced he was eating leftover pizza. Oh how tempted I was to join him. But no, I made my roasted chicken damn it. And it was good. Juicy, flavorful, tender….mmmmm. In fact, I gave Adam a bite, and his reaction was, “Oooh I like how you do chicken.” He then finished his pizza and disappeared into the kitchen to make himself a plate of my dinner.

Tragically, I did not take any pictures of this recipe. Note to self: bring camera into kitchen more often. Blog readers will surely appreciate photos of raw chicken parts.

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Today’s Letter is "M"

I think today’s Wednesday. I kind of don’t care to keep track anymore because I’ll only be reminded how many more days stretch ahead before the weekend. And once the weekend gets here, how few days are left before the inevitable return to work on Monday. Sorry, that’s kind of negative, I know, but seriously. We’ve gotten a bunch of snow in the past five days. Every morning this week I’ve woken upon hoping for too much snow on the road to go into work, but the damn city has kept our roads snow-free. So I’ve been spending most of my week daydreaming of North Carolina. Oh and yesterday I spent my day watching the Bonnaroo line-up be slowly and painfully announced on Bonnaroo’s MySpace. Who does that? Anyway, it looks pretty good. I usually feel that Bonnaroo’s line-up is a pretty good preview of Lollapalooza’s. Hopefully will get to at least one festival this summer!

Mira was somewhat suspicious of the tiny snowman we met on one of our walks.



The snow did kick in a serious hibernation switch on in my head over the weekend. I decided that I needed to cook and bake a lot just in case I could never leave my apartment again. Friday night I made these bombtastic baked chicken meatballs. My only problem was that my tomato paste had been in the fridge for awhile, and some nice fuzzy, white stuff was growing on parts. I just went ahead and used the non-fuzzy, white parts. A few hours post-meatball consumption, I felt off. Amazingly enough, still ate leftovers the next night, and even more amazingly enough, felt slightly off again. HAH. Anyway, the meatballs are super tasty for few ingredients (which is my favorite. The less money I have to spend, the better.) I made them bigger (got about ten balls I think), and ate them with spaghetti. I bet they’d be the perfect party appetizer if made smaller.


Then came the muffins. These whole wheat apple muffins have been my go to when I’ve had extra apples lying around this fall and winter. They are DELICIOUS. Nice and warm spicy (you know, like cinnamon), moist for days after, and partially healthy. This was probably the fourth or fifth batch I’ve made.

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Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup and Edward

One of the best perks of my job is the free stuff. We have a product review page called Cool Finds in Jack and Jill. Companies email us about reviewing their products, we say “sure, we’d love to! But we have to see the product first.” The company sends us their product, we decide if we like it or not, and then we fight over who gets to take it home. I’ve gotten an air popper for popcorn, a Paul Frank winter hat, a pair of fuzzy slippers, and a rice cooker. The rice cooker came with a recipe book. We figured if we were going to take advantage of this free rice cooker, we might as well give the company some publicity in return, so we featured one of their recipes for chicken tortilla soup. The U.S. Kids Test Kitchen made it and all employees were fairly impressed. I thought it needed just a bit more kick. Last night we made it at home with a few spicy additions.

I’m just going to say that this recipe is firstly fairly cheap. Canned ingredients, rice, chicken, and broth. Secondly, it’s a ONE POT RECIPE. So few dishes!! Thirdly, it’s pretty easy to throw together.

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