Thursday, April 2, 2009

CHEAP Quick and Simple meals:

If you ever want to cook a meal that seems elaborate but is really simple to make, roasted chicken is the way to go. Seriously. It's probably easier to make than a simple pasta dish because it's one, two, three, and voila! A totally home cooked meal that makes any day feel like Thanksgiving (err...sorta).

Edit: This meal came out to about $8, give or take a few. The whole chicken (Perdue) was about $4, and the rest of the veggies and fixings, come out to about $4 ( you probably have a lot of it in your kitchen already).

Juicy Roasted Chicken Recipe

- 1 small whole chicken
- Salt (Sea Salt or Kosher is fine)
- Pepper (freshly ground or lemon pepper is perfect)
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1 Lemon or orange
- Butter / Olive Oil
- Veggies to stuff the chicken with. My choices are usually onions, celery, and carrots.

I'll try to make this as simple as possible for you, but a few things to remember. Poultry can actually be poisonous if not treated well. As in, don't leave your chicken out for long when uncooked, make sure to clean everything your chicken touches with disinfectant soap, and remember to always wash your hands. Oh and, don't forget to take out the gizzards and such out of your chicken's body cavity before cooking.

Step 1: Make sure to quickly rinse the chicken under cold water, cleaning inside the cavity, outside, under the wings, etc. You don't have to scrub, just rinse briefly and place on a tray. Take a paper towel and pat the chicken as dry as you can.

Step 2: For a very crispy and juicy skin, rub some butter all over the exterior of your chicken. This creates a thin sealant so that the chicken can retain all its moisture while baking. After you've rubbed butter all over, sprinkle some salt and pepper generously all over your chicken skin. Sprinkle some into the body cavity as well.
If you don't want to use butter, you can use a little bit of olive oil.

Step 3: Cut your lemon/orange in half, and put the halves into the cavity of the chicken. Make sure to squeeze the fruit so that the juices soak the inside of the cavity. Then stuff the garlic, celery, carrots, and onion (I cut the onion into halves or fourths). Remember to have cleaned your veggies and cut/peeled them to fit.

Step 4: You don't have to do this, but I like to do it to keep all the veggies in. Take a piece of twine or cooking string, and tie the two legs together to close the cavity.

Bake this in the oven at 450 degrees for 50-60 mins, but make sure to check to see if your bird is fully cooked!

Check out Saveur for an excellent instructional on how to properly carve a chicken. (btw, I love this site!)

I also made this yummy banana bread for dessert! Perfect recipe for a very simple and traditional (read, non fancy) banana bread. Leave a comment for the recipe!

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