DIY roasted peppers

dsc_5302-e1326737962210Ah yes, ye olde bell pepper. This post may seem a little random at the moment, but this skill is necessary to complete my next post. So today, I give you a tutorial on how to roast red peppers. Don’t worry, it’s easy :)

Preheat your broiler or grill to high heat. If you’re using your oven, place a sheet of foil on the rack below the one you’ll be placing your pepper on. If you want the process to be faster, place it closer to the broiler. My short attention span tends to favor having the rack lower in the oven, so that my pepper doesn’t just turn into flames and smoke.

Take one (or more) beautiful red pepper(s) (or whatever kind of pepper you wish to use). Washed and patted dry. Then, rub said pepper with oil. I used olive oil. Place this now oiled pepper into your oven or onto your grill and cook until the skin starts to blister and char, rotating as necessary until all sides are done.

Remove the pepper and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Once cooled, uncover and peel the skin off. Don’t worry, it’ll come right off. Slice or dice into desired pieces and,  Voila – you now have roasted peppers!

Too lazy? Of course you could always purchase the pre-roasted peppers in a jar, but where’s the fun in that?

“BUT WHAT WILL I USE THEM ON????”

Um, everything? Inside sandwiches, atop pizzas, blended into soups, added to pasta or tacos or as part of an antipasti… the possibilities are pretty much endless here. You can even use any kind of pepper you want, here I used red peppers, but I’ve used poblanos in the past, hatch chiles, etc…

kitchen update (and a chicken recipe)

spatchcock

I’m not going to pretend this post is about the delicious roast chicken I made. This post is about the kitchen. I took some new pictures from more angles, and yes I know I’m like some moron who went on vacation and comes back yammering on about how much fun they had and waving around pictures that you couldn’t care less about. I do promise this will be the last post filled with kitchen pictures until something significant changes. I’m looking for a new wall color or a backsplash for the kitchen area FYI, if anyone has suggestions…

Our tired, old kitchen…

Our sparkly, new kitchen can be seen below!

The cabinets are Ikea’s Adel Medium Brown, the counters are Silestone’s Silve Nube. The stools – super cheap Target stools. Not bad for like $25 a piece or something like that. Those canister lights have really gotta go, though…

not the best light, I know

The sink is some overpriced stainless steel sink from the company “Blanco”, BF says it’s “a really good sink”, and that we got a great deal on it though. I’m no sink expert, so I’ll have to take his word for it. The faucet is one of Ikea’s stock faucets, it has a weight at the bottom so it can never wear out like some extendable faucets tend to do.

Sofa will be changed out, eventually… walls will be painted, floor will be re-done (possibly hard wood? or possibly stone). All of these things are in the future… for now, I don’t want to do anything else that would keep me out of the kitchen.

Since it is a food blog after all, I give you simple roast chicken. Although you might not think it’s as glorious as pulling a whole bird in-tact bird out of the oven, butterflying your chicken is a great way to prepare your roasted chicken. Lying it flat keeps it all at one level for even cooking and air circulation, which means all the skin gets nice and crispy. You can serve it whole (as pictured here) or even cut it into pieces on a smaller platter. I actually like the way it looks once it’s all cut up, but you could leave it whole like this.

Butterflied Roast Chicken

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  • 1 whole roasting chicken (appx 4 pounds), butterflied (if you have a butcher, they will do that for you. If not, here’s a helpful video)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic and Onions (optional)
  • Whatever veggies you desire for roasting (notice I chose broccoli and cauliflower, because they come together in one pack at Trader Joe’s :-))

*Preheat your oven to 450F

1. If using garlic and onion- cut your garlic bulb in half cross-wise, and quarter your onion. Place these on the sheet under where your chicken will sit.

2. Pat your chicken DRY… really dry. You don’t want any moisture on there! Set on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

3. Generously salt and pepper both sides of your chicken – rub it in nice and good. Wear gloves if touching the chicken grosses you out- you must rub the seasonings in! Once you’ve given it a nice massage, set it on top of the onions and garlic, skin side up.

4. Roast in the oven for 45 min to an hour, until cooked through (breast should read about 150, carryover cooking will finish it while it’s resting). If the skin browns to quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

5. Once done, remove to separate plate or cutting board, and let it rest. While the  chicken is resting, toss your chosen veggies on the baking sheet with the chicken drippings. Use the drippings – trust me. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on them and roast for 10 – 15 minutes until browned. (More brown than this cauliflower – I can’t help that I got hungry)

Easy Weeknight Dinner

roast-chicken-2

You know those days when there’s nothing you want more than to just sit on the couch under a blanket in your PJs? Who cares if it’s only 4 or 5:00? You just want to get home and RELAX- Those days used to mean a frozen dinner or carryout were the only options.

Imagine, now, that you could have a delicious home-cooked meal for dinner on those days… without all the time and effort of laboring over the stove. Amazing, right?  This dinner allows you (after a little bit of prep) to change straight into your pajamas and sit on the sofa relaxing while you let dinner cook itself. You just need a couple ingredients, a nice, hot oven, and patience.

Patience to not rip open the oven door when your mouth starts watering from the smell of garlicky roasting chicken. Patience to not start eating everything within reach because the smell makes you so hungry you don’t think you can take any longer. Patience to let the chicken rest to redistribute its juices (that’s the hardest part for me) and cool to a palatable temperature.

I had had originally planned to make mashed potatoes, but it would have interfered with my sitting-around time, so I opted to roast them alongside my chicken instead. Much easier. If you choose to roast a veggie, any vegetable you would use with a regular roast chicken you could use with this. Think “root veggies”- potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, parsnips, etc… You could use broccoli, cauliflower, or other faster-cooking veggies as well. Just add them later in the cooking process.

roasted red skin potatoes

This almost always yields enough leftover chicken to use the next day in another dish. You could always roast additional as well, though, to ensure extra chicken for another dish. (Cook the meat for two dinner in one night, all while sitting on the couch? That’s what I’m talkin’ about…) You can chop or shred the chicken for tacos, pasta, salad, or any other dish that calls for chicken.

how tasty does that look? seriously!?

You’d be amazed how much flavor you get from roasting the breast with bone/skin attached! And while this preparation will yield a skin that is crispy and delicious, you may remove to save yourself the added fat and calories. DO NOT, however,  substitute boneless/skinless chicken breast. Don’t even think about it. Bad idea.

Roast Chicken Breast & Root Vegetables

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  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (mine were just under a pound each)
  • 2 large potatoes
  • ½ tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1 tsp each: minced fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and kosher salt
  • Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Remove chicken from refrigerator while the oven is preheating to bring it up to room temperature. Mix together the spices, herbs, salt, and pepper in a separate small dish. Wash & dry the potatoes. I have a handy scrubber that does all the hard work for me!

2. Chop potatoes into even wedges and put into a bowl. Drizzle with a little oil (1 – 2 tsp should do) and sprinkle with about 1/3 of the spice mixture.

3. Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil (again, 1 – 2 tsp) over the chicken breasts and sprinkle with half of the remaining herb mixture.

4. This is the gross part- Rub half of the spices into the top and bottom of the chicken breasts (I use gloves if I have them- I’m weird like that).  Using your fingers, separate the skin from the breast meat. Sprinkle the other half of the spices under the skin of the breasts and rub it in using your fingers.

5. Sprinkle the potatoes (or vegetable of your choosing) around the chicken. Sprinkle one last bit of salt and pepper over everything and place it in the oven.  Go sit down and relax, you’ve had a hard day.

6. After about 30 min take the sheet pan out of the oven & brush some of the chicken juices onto the chicken breasts. Flip the potatoes to brown the other sides. Try to do this quickly—it’s better to take it out of the oven to do so that you don’t lose a lot of heat having the oven door open while you fiddle around with the potatoes. If you’re not so worried about your potatoes browning on all sides, you can just brush the juices onto the chicken skin, or skip this part altogether.

7. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken breasts. Once the chicken has been cooking a total of about 50-60 minutes, it should be done. If you have a meat thermometer, check that the chicken has reached around 160F. If you don’t, just make sure the skin is browned and the juices run clear. Tent the chicken and let it rest for about 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Serve with potatoes.

Tips:

*If you ever don’t have one of the seasonings (rosemary, thyme, garlic, etc), using just salt and pepper will still make a fine dinner option!