Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hot Chick

One of the nice things about having a blog is that clicking on my link today made me realize I hadn't called Colony Tire back to order a part. The good news on Monday was, the hammer-out-dents dude was able to fix the rim to the tune of $140 (yay!). And the tire was ok! (extra yay!). But then when I sensibly went to get an alignment done, I was told I had a rusty tie rod (boo!). So that will be a couple hundred bucks to fix, plus the cost of the actual alignment (*sigh*). But it could've been worse, so I'll stop talking about it now.

I've been in a super-shitty mood this week and am not sure why. I think my hormones are messed up. It's been this way for a few weeks now - skin all crazy, some severe emotional shifts, irrational irritability. No wait, that last one is TOTALLY rational, I live with a toddler. But still. I don't need to be snarking at her the way I've been. I can feel myself doing it. I almost burst into tears this morning when she wouldn't keep her damn head still to braid her damn hair. Damnit. She's two, give her a freaking break. SHE DOESN'T NEED BRAIDS! As long as it doesn't look like there's a squirrel nesting in there, who cares what the preschool teachers think? So yes. The mood. Has got to change. I can't blame it on the hilarious-because-it-won't-stop rain, because I've been like this for even longer than that, if possible. Diet? Exercise? (hahahaha, this is me falling off my couch laughing and almost knocking over a bowl of chips and a Pepsi). Dunno. Have to do something.

The beach trip this weekend is a definite no-go. So that's sad. I actually looked at a few local hotels for Saturday - a friend of mine said that during the winter she and her husband sometimes do that, find a cheap place with a pool and take the kid and go. I think it's brilliant, plus you don't have the travel hassle! With the car stuff I can't get past the price tag though. I need to come up with something else that's going to be cheap, relaxing, and fun for both of us. I'll keep working on it, but let me know if you have any brilliant ideas. There are a few local festivals, so that's a last option. My aunt and uncle are hosting their annual Oktoberfest, but as much as I love my cousins I can't take my car that far, and can't be on their schedule for rides. I looked at the train but times don't work out, and SEVENTY FIVE DOLLARS. For the two of us for a 3-hr trip. Um, ick. Plus, you know. My mood. Rawr. I'd like to hide and not talk to anyone, please.

Changing tracks (get it, a train joke, you know, to ease the transition), I took some pics last weekend when I made a totally delicious roast chicken dinner. 5-6lb roasters were on sale for $5, you can't beat that. Especially when it lasted for 3 dinners, 2 lunches, and there's a bag of meat in the freezer for chicken pot pie. Mmm... pie.

First, start off with a nice plump little bird. I get what's on sale, I am very fancy that way. In this case, they were marked as 'Cajun Seasoned'. There was very little of that, but that was fine. Seasoning a bird means you are limited with what you do with the leftovers; for example, I've learned that Rosemary Chicken is really, really gross in enchiladas.

Hi, poultry. Meet my friends; garlic, lemon and fresh thyme.
I had never used fresh thyme in a chicken before, and OMG was it ever freaking delicious. Salt the inside and outside of the carcass after pulling out the gizards, rinsing it, and patting it dry. I read this weekend that patting dry was actually very important, because it helped the chicken to roast instead of, you know, steam. Science! Stuff some cut up lemons, halved garlic bulbs, and herbs in there. If you have room (and, uh, aren't out of them), I usually add cut up onion as well. Some people say you should butter the skin, but when you scroll down you'll see how unnecessary this is. Tie the legs together, tuck the wings under (I never manage to get that part right), place it in a roasting pan breast-side-up. It will be plenty moist, I promise you.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Yep, nice and hot. Because the a/c is still on in my southern kitchen, guess what I used?

Look how cute! A little chicky in a little toaster oven! Ok, in all honesty my toaster oven is kinda big. But that's why I bought it. I have used my oven only twice this summer, everything else has been cooked in here. I love the thing. If you don't have a digital thermometer yet, stop whatever you're doing and go get one. Mine has a little pager, it's great. Remember not to have the thermometer tip touch the bone. See the wings there, totally not tucked under or whatever? Sigh.

Cook for about 1 1/2 hours. I think the recommendation for internal cooked temp for poultry is 165 degrees. However, my thermometer has a well-done option so I let it get up to 174. I grew up in a home where it was more acceptable for my mother to sleep with another man than to undercook chicken, so I'm very sensitive about it. Plus, pink chicken, ew.

Since you have some time to kill, you might as well make some mashed potatoes and gravy. I have tried instant potatoes twice now, and they just don't cut it. Peel some potatoes roughly, quarter 'em, cover them in water with some kosher salt (the only kind I use in cooking - but don't get me started on my collection of 'finishing' salts), bring 'em to a boil and let them do their thing for about 15 minutes, depending on your definition of 'quarter'. Drain them, saving some of the water.

My mum was a hand mixer-potatoes kind of gal, so that's what I am. Nice, fluffy whipped potatoes - ahh, heaven. Drop in a generous chunk of butter (think Paula Deen) and a few dollops of either milk or half-and-half or (gasp!) cream, and start to blend. Since I had made my gravy prior to this step (was experimenting, and poured off some of the chicken fat early), I added a little gravy - I highly recommend doing this if you can.
Some people add garlic and other stuff, but again, I like to have leftover options so I leave them straight up. Fried mashed potatoes are great with eggs for breakfast.

Now, please don't be a-scared of making gravy. It is a hundred billion times better than what comes out of a can or envelope or a waitress's hand. Start with fat from meat drippings. If you're a better person than me you do some sort of intricate let-it-sit-and-pour-off or whatever, I don't bother. Stir a few tablespoons of flour into the hot fat. Add some broth (homemade if possible, or something from a really good bouillon base). Add a little milk. Add a little salt and pepper. If you're making turkey/chicken gravy, I boil the giblets for about 15 minutes, mince some of them, and add a little of that. I also add some of the water, and some of the potato water. My mother could probably give you much better instructions, sorry.

When the chicken is done, hopefully it looks like this:
Can you smell what the Jellybean Mama was cooking?! Don't you want to just reach into that pic and get yourself a hunk of white or dark, whatever your preference? (JR is a dark meat girl, I'm a white, so it's nice).

Serve with potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls, steamed corn, and dinner rolls if you're my mum. If you're me, it's just meat and potatoes. Hello, I just did all that work, I'm exhausted, plus it's only two of us so that's plenty of food. As mentioned we ate this for dinner Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday evenings. Plus I ate it for lunch a day, and packed a cold chicken leg for Jelly for preschool (which she devoured, although not AT preschool). And there's leftovers in the freezer. Oh, and I served her Sloppy Joes on the mashed potatoes one night, she LOVED that. Yes, I make a lot of potatoes, I can't help it, I grew up with 6 people in my family. And that gravy? SO good on fries. A great cheap, filling, easy dinner.

Now I'm going to go look up pot pie recipes...

3 comments:

Sarah said...

I've used your oven once this summer. Did you count that?

MommieV said...

I totally wrote about hormones today too. I didn't follow it up with an awesome chicken post, though.

Simply Potatoes makes a prepared mashed potatoes thing that is pretty good. Works for weeknight stuff, but the real thing is what you need for that chicken. At my grocery it's with the refrigerated stuff, like near the butter and eggs.

The pizza I had for dinner is sitting in my stomach rotting, and now I want to bake a chicken. Thanks a lot.

Jellybean Mama said...

@Sarah - Yep, I did!

@MommieV - Good to know (potatoes tip), thanks! And sorry.