March 8, 2007

Lisa's Simply Delicious Roast Chicken with "Hmm, What's in That?" Mashed Potatoes

So basic a beginner would have no trouble.

I love the idea of eating food that makes one feel like a princess, so I will be picking up some full-fat (yum) Velveeta and giving these [see "Nancy Howard's Twice Baked Potatoes") a try. We could all (our taste buds included) certainly use a bit of royal treatment.

I love roasted chicken and although it's as basic as can be, it's the food I crave when I'm on the mend from a cold, as well as when I'm cranky and in need of comfort. It's so simple, so tasty, makes a nice meal for company or just yourself, great leftovers and the scraps are the base for soup.

1. Preheat oven to 325 or 350.
2. Buy a fresh whole chicken, rinse outside and in (lightly salt cavity).
3. Set in a roasting pan (rack is helpful but not necessary).
4. Insert a cut lemon and onion in the cavity.
5. Rub skin with soft butter, salt and pepper (use other spices if desired).
6. Place in the oven uncovered, approximately 15 - 20 minutes per pound (or more -- I like mine WELL done and crispy).
7. Baste with juices in bottom of pan periodically (if breast gets too brown, cover it loosely with foil).
8. Cook until the chicken juices run clear when pierced deeply in the thigh, or to 170 degrees if you use a meat thermometer.
9. Let chicken cool (loosely covered with foil) for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Great served with baked, roasted, or mashed potatoes, or...

Lisa's "Hmm, What's in That?" Mashed Potatoes

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add some salt for flavor.
2. Wash and peel any kind of potatoes, cut into chunks.
3. Wash and peel rutabagas cut into chunks (approximately 50/50 mix of potatoes and rutabagas).
4. Simmer until all are tender (approximately 20 minutes, depending on size of chunks).
5. Drain root veggies.
6. Pour milk into the saucepan, heat until just bubbling, add some butter.
7. Add potatoes and rutabagas to the hot milk and butter mixture and begin to mash.
8. Add more milk, butter, salt to taste if needed.

Serve nice and hot.

Note: Save the chicken carcass for soup (see, Daddy, your cries at the dinner table to "save it for soup" sunk in). Cut off good meat and wrap separately in foil to add back at end. Bones/meat can be frozen. Simply cover bones with water, add some carrots, onion, pepper. Simmer covered for several hours (at least 4). Skim off "scum" while bones simmer. Separate bones and veggies from broth, discard solids. Salt broth to taste (takes a bit). Add fresh or frozen veggies (endless combos) as desired (I buy a frozen "soup vegetables mix" w/okra). Add rice or pasta if you'd like, simmer until everything is tender (check salt/pepper again). At this point add back the cubed chicken meat that you've reserved (adding it earlier will toughen it) until warmed through. Mmmmm~ Enjoy! Soup can also be frozen.

-- Lisa

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