Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Recipe - Roasted Chicken

Sometimes it pays off to be a magazine hoarder. Case in point: Martha Stewart Living Magazine circa January 2011. I have kept it next to my recipe books in my new kitchen hutch for a while now. It is full of excellent basic recipes for roasted chicken, along with some fun twists on the old favorite to keep dinner interesting. It's also a good idea to (at the very least) keep magazines from holiday months because they're always full of great meal ideas and even decor ideas.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret... come in a little closer. Ready? This is going to blow your mind... CHICKEN IS CHEAP! Sorry. Didn't mean to yell in your ear. Seriously though. If you're on a budget (because here at D&D, we definitely are), chicken is the way to go! Back over the 4th of July weekend, there were some C-R-A-Z-Y deals on some bok-bok-birds for both the boneless, skinless boobs ($0.97/lb) and whole fryer chickens. I picked up a TON of boobs and two fryer chickens. Even though it's not the most enjoyable thing to do (I know Lani is cringing at this moment because she hates touching raw meat, especially on the bone. I know...she's weird.), if you buy family sized chicken breasts, open it when you get home, rinse them, and put them in freezer bags in twos, and freeze them. You will quickly have a stock pile. It's also easier to figure out how much chicken you need if you've got it by twos, and it defrosts faster than if it were in threes or fours. If you want to get really crazy, freeze them individually.

Now, secret number two... I promise I won't yell this time. BRINE IT! Haha! I lied. Yelling is just too much fun! So when you're working with a whole chicken, just like a turkey on Thanksgiving, the key to keeping it super moist and juicy is to brine it before roasting. I try to brine my chickens for at least 12 hours. 24 is better. You can brine it in anything. Here's what I've been using:

- Apple juice (because we buy it Costco size and always have it in our house. It also adds a little sweet undertone and if you're going to do BBQ sauce on it later, apples and BBQ go hand in hand.)
- Apple cider vinegar for a bit of a bite
- Water to finish covering the bird
- A couple tablespoons of minced garlic
If you have some whole peppercorns, toss some of those in. Use what you've got. Some orange juice is good too. You just want to make sure the bird is submerged in liquid so it will soak up as much as possible.

I double bag my bird in the brine & make sure she's in some kind of dish, just in case disaster strikes and the bag springs a leak. That would be awful all over the inside of my beauteous fridge.

The red substance in the baggie on the right is some lovely rub. It's the Tyler Florence (TyFlo) recipe I told you about here. The recipe makes a lot, so I freeze it in two batches. Since we are such a BBQ-lovin' family, I try to keep a batch of this on hand because it's oh-so-tasty on beef or chicken, or even fish. I lick the spoon like it's a salt-lick when I'm making it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. So good!

Chop up some veggies. Don't stress about it. Just make a bed of whatever veggies you have on hand. Celery, onions, carrots, cherry tomatoes. Sure. Why not!
Just make sure the veggies are the same size so they cook evenly. Toss them in some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Lay them at the bottom of your rimmed pan. I used a 13x9 Pyrex. If you have a rimmed cookie sheet, that works too.

Now it's time to get intimate with your chicken. This is only a half fryer chicken. It just means half the cooking time. You'd do the same for a whole chicken. Take the rub and rub it all over your chicken.

Now throw that bird (and veggies) in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes. Take it out, stir up the veggies, and put it back in the oven for another 20-25 minutes or so. You want the juices to run clear and the internal temperature of the thigh to be 165 degrees.

I love roasting chicken, or even just chicken breasts, because it's brainless. Cover it in something yummy, maybe set it on a bed of other yummy things, put it in the oven and set a timer. No stirring. And you can run off to read a magazine or vacuum or play cars for 25 minutes while dinner is cooking itself. And cleaning one pan afterwards...glorious!

You can serve this however you want! It's super flexible! You can just slice it, serve it with a scoop or two of the roasted veggies, and some rice. Or shred it for some tacos. Whatever you want to do!

The total cost of this lovely dinner is easily under $10. My last fryer chicken was only $4.34. For a WHOLE chicken! A couple bucks worth of veggies, some super cheap rice, and dinner is served! Dinner for 4 for probably around $7, and you've got leftovers.

Just make sure you save the carcass so you can make Chicken & Dumplings later in the week. Or some Sweet & Spicy Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken. Or even just some homemade chicken stock to freeze and keep on hand. I love dinners that can stretch into other meals later in the week, because seriously, the less I have to use my brain, the better it is for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Good idea! I've never roasted a chicken before (I have no idea why!) and now I'm thinking I need to do so! I'm ALL for saving time (and moneY!) Thanks for sharing!


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