How to Roast a Whole Chicken Without Throwing Up

roast-a-chicken-title-imageI resisted cooking whole chickens for YEARS.  Like, my whole adult life.  It felt too grown up/soccer mom but also sounded super grody due to the fact that you basically have to get to 3rd base with a chicken.  My mom finally talked me in to learning how to cook them when I was really working on keeping my grocery budget down a few years ago.  I can’t believe it took me so long to learn to roast whole chickens!  You really need to do this.  It is super easy, really inexpensive and tastes amazing!  This is my normal, untrained person way of preparing and roasting a whole chicken.  Because that is what I am.  Just a gal who cooks for her family.  No special training needed.  Well, I mean, probably a little bit more training would help but whose got time for that?

whole-chickens-for-roastingYou can buy whole chickens year round in your meat department at your local grocery.  But I know when I see the ads and they are $0.80 cents a pound, that is a great sale and you want to pick up a few of them then.  And I say pick up a few of them because since you are going to be roasting something in the oven for an entire afternoon, it makes sense to make more than one at a time and make twice as much meat without hardly any extra work.  You can see from the package the one on the right says the total cost is $3.25.  Just think of how much you pay for a package of chicken breast fillets!  When I buy two whole chickens and pull all the meat off the bone, I have enough chicken for at least four meals for my family of 4.  Crazy, right!

remove-the-gross-stuff-from-a-chickenSo yes.  It is gross.  And the very first time my mom had me do this I was super squeamish.  But it does get easier.  Remove the chickens and clean them one at a time.  I’m a super stickler for germs and such (I’m straight risk management, people) so I like to handle one bird at a time.  I also keep a double ply plastic grocery in the sink to place the discarded pieces, such as the bag and grody inside bird parts.  You can see my handy kitchen shears in the sink but the only thing I needed those for was to get the bag open.  And I guess you could wear gloves, but you will still feel squishy things through them…

innards-from-a-chickenOk, so here we go.  To stick your hand all up in there feels a little bit like jumping in to a pool that you know is ice-cold.  You know you are going to do it, but it isn’t going to be entirely pleasant, but then it will get better and then you will be done.  Take a big deep breath and stick your hand in the cavity.  Grab a handful and immediately stop thinking about it.  Don’t think.  Sing a song.  Really loud.  Create an out-of-body experience and go watch some Real Housewives in your head.  Do anything but think about what you are touching.  This is how you don’t throw up.  Then you remove it and throw it in the grocery bag and don’t look at it again.  Repeat until you have everything out of the bird.  It really isn’t that bad.  But trust me, I was right there with you a few years ago.

rinse-the-chickenOnce you think you have most of the “stuff” out, give the cavity a rinse.  There is stuff that comes streaming out that isn’t gorgeous.  Continue your deep breaths and non-thinking.  So after about five minutes of mild discomfort, you are finished cleaning.

roasting-chickens-is-funYeah!!!!  Whole chickens are fun!

beer-and-lime-for-roasting-chickenThe basic recipe for roasting a whole chicken, at least according to my mom, is chicken stock, maybe some lemon and maybe some cut up onions.  At the very least, you need a few cans of chicken broth with the other things just being flavor agents.  But I came across this recipe for using a Mexican beer and lime (one for you, one for the bird) that I modified a little bit.  YOU GUYS!  The house smelled freaking ridiculous while these chickens were roasting.  And while the meat was flavorful, it didn’t make it taste so much that you would be unable to use the chicken in other kinds of dishes that were not of the Mexican variety.  Because that is the point of cooking whole chickens.  You get a meal the night you cook them, but then with the leftovers, you can eat the chicken plain or work it in to other recipes.  So versatile.

pour-beer-on-the-chickensFor this recipe you mix the beer and chicken stock.  You will want to baste the chickens every half an hour or so throughout the cooking process to keep it moist.  It is not as tedious as it sounds.  I am a super lazy cook and I was even ok with this step.  You will want to put the chicken, breasts down, in a roasting pan.  I used to have the hardest time knowing which side had the breasts.  But you can tell from the picture above that if you look at them more like a person than a bird, you understand where things are.  See their elbows?  I mean, their wings look just like arms.  And their legs look just like, well, legs.  So butts up, breasts down.  Sometimes when I write things I giggle.  But only because I think of the people searching for a term that I used.  And this is what they find.  Oh the disappointment they must feel!

roasting-whole-chickens-with-limeAdd your spices, salt and pepper, paprika, whatever feels good.  Gosh dang do I want a Pacifico with lime right now though!  It’s totally fine, although this posts at 3 am in the morning, it is really about 4:30 pm as I’m writing this so its ok for me to want one.

pan-of-roasted-chickensRoast them in a 325 degree oven for about 3 1/2 – 4 hours.  What?  Are you crazy?  No.  Do it.  I try to do these on a Sunday afternoon when we are being lazy at home.  But you could easily put them in right after you get home from school pick up.  The slow cooking helps them to stay really moist (and I’ve never had a problem with the leftovers being dry either).  If the birds start to get a little too brown for your taste, just tent them with foil.  I’m not a skin person so I kind of just ignore it since I’m just going to remove it anyway.

pull-chicken-from-the-boneOnce they have cooled a bit, remove as much of the meet as possible.  I discard the rest.  I know others keep the bones to create their own homemade chicken stock.  But I’m not that much of a hippie.  I have a meal sealer machine thingy that I use to freeze the rest of the chicken in meal sized portions.  It makes it super easy to grab one to thaw out the night before I need it.  I really feel like I was missing out by not knowing how to roast a whole chicken.  I promise you the cleaning part is not as bad as you think it is and will be done super fast.  Best.  Thing.  Ever.

Big thanks to my husband for taking most of these photos for me.  We did this in our old house right before we moved.  I wasn’t sure the photos would even come out because this was my old camera and I had a hell of a time taking photos indoors with its extremely low ISO!  The pictures may not be the prettiest but the info is good.  And I know you won’t be disappointed!

A Little Help for the Holidays from Kraft

*This post is sponsored by TapInfluence on behalf of Kraft®. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe that is the week of Christmas?! December really smacked me upside the head. Between all the holiday craziness at school, getting all the gifts bought and wrapped, plus the birthday party I am throwing on the 29th, I’ve had to really simplify other areas in my life. Dinners are old favorites that I can make without putting too much thought in to it. Same with entertaining. And this Peanut Butter Pie Recipe is a real crowd pleaser. I’ll save the new recipes I want to try out for the new year.

The holidays are the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane with old family recipes. This peanut butter pie recipe came from my grandmother and is DELICIOUS! I actually had already photographed this post and then found her recipe card for it. That made me really happy. It is one thing to have the recipe but completely something else to have it in her own handwriting. Gah. Almost makes me weepy. On account of the peanut allergy we have in my household, I asked my sister-in-law to help me make it at her house. When my youngest son asked if he could help too, I couldn’t say no!

I’m sure, like me, you have made about a zillion trips to Target this season. I freaking love that they all have groceries now. I was able to do some holiday shopping and pick up the ingredients for this recipe all at the same time. Boom. If that isn’t time saving, I don’t know what is. And with the Kraft coupons available at Target, I can save money too. I don’t hate that. This recipe doesn’t take many ingredients but tastes amazing. You must try it.

This is a pretty great recipe to make with kids. There is very little that can go wrong. You just need one bowl, a hand mixer and a spatula. Easy as, well, pie.

My grandmother used creamy peanut butter, but I like a little crunch in my pie. She also used a graham cracker crust while I prefer a chocolate cookie crust.

The best part in all of this is that I didn’t realize that my son was still wearing his pajamas when we left the house. Oops! This is a fantastic recipe to take to holiday parties. The crusts come in a disposable pie pan which makes transporting super easy and then you don’t have to worry about picking up the pie plate from your party hostess at a later time.

The pie just needs to chill out in the freezer for a few hours and then it is ready to eat and share. I hope you will make this recipe with friends and family and eat it with them too.

Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk

3 oz. cream cheese (softened)

1/2 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter (preferably Planters®)

1 container Cool Whip

3/4 cup powdered sugar

Pre-made graham cracker crust or chocolate cookie crust

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together well with a hand mixer. Pour ingredients into the crust. Freeze for several hours to set. Eat up!

Kraft makes tons of products that make easy weeknight meals possible and holiday entertaining a cinch. From their shredded cheeses to Kraft Recipe Makers® Meal Starters they really do make life easier. And you can save up to $20 on participating Kraft products at Target. The Kraft product coupons are redeemable exclusively at Target. Check them out here.

From shopping for gifts to planning family dinners, it’s hard to keep up with all your holiday to-do’s. This year, Kraft is helping out with great weeknight meals and entertaining ideas to make the season a little bit easier. Plus, Kraft is offering up to $20 in coupons, redeemable exclusively at Target, to make food shopping easier and to help you have a happy holiday season.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.

Homemade Cinnamon Hard Candy

homemade-cinnamon-hard-candy-for-christmasGrowing up there were a few things I could always count on my mom to make during the holidays.  One of these things is her Homemade Cinnamon Candy.  Aside from working with boiling hot molten sugar lava, the recipe is pretty easy to make.  I had my mom make it with me (for me) for this post.  Side note, she also fed me and my son lunch while she made the candy.  I think I may make my mom a full-time blog partner.  It works out really well for me.

ingredients-for-cinnamon-candyYou just need some light corn syrup, straight up wonderful white sugar, water and cinnamon oil.  You can find the cinnamon oil at your local craft store.  Oh yeah, my mom also bought all the ingredients.  The cinnamon oil came in a pack of two, each bottle being 1 dram.  We only used one bottle, but if you like you cinnamon light-your-tongue-on-fire hot, you may want to use some of the other bottle as well.

stirring-sugarYou mix the sugar and corn syrup in a sauce pan.

candy-thermometer-and-bat-manThen you add a candy thermometer and wait for the sugar to get up to 300 degrees. I think this may also be known as hard ball stage, can anyone confirm?

making-hard-candy-for-christmasIt will take a while for the sugar to get to the right temperate.  I think it took us about an hour.  And can we talk for a moment about how freaking clean my mom’s stove top is?  Gosh I wish I got her cleaning gene. [Read more...]

November Loves

abuelita-hot-chocolateI LOVE cinnamon in my chocolate and I’m not sure why I have never tried Abuelita before.  I’m in love.  I’ve always felt like instant hot chocolates just totally miss the mark and are bland.  But this!  This has flavor.  I’ve also put the powder in my coffee to make a half-assed mocha.  Also delicious.  Have you ever tried it? glass-etching-creamI had come up with a cool holiday craft using glass etching.  Turns out the craft totally failed but now I’m obsessed with etching cream.  Watch out glasses everywhere!  I’m coming for you!

grandmas-recipesMy husband and I did some light reorganizing of the garage a few weekends ago and I moved my cookbooks to a plastic tote to keep them a little more protected than the cardboard box they had been in.  I don’t have anywhere to keep them in the house but this way they are a little easier to get to.  I came across my grandmother’s recipe cards that I got when she passed away.  I haven’t sat down to go through them all yet but I just feel so blessed that I get to keep this special piece of her in my home.  I don’t want to get all sappy on you but I can’t wait to copy them and pass them down to my nieces when they are old enough.

ted-baker-bagAnd you guys!  I’m totally a winner.  I won this rad Ted Baker handbag from a contest on  I Can Style U.  It’s gorgeous!  I die for this bow and little gold details.  It also comes with a detachable strap so I can wear this cross body.

ted-baker-liningAnd could the lining be any cuter!?

#disneyholidaysThis past week my family got to preview the holiday features that Disneyland and California adventures has right now.  While I will be doing a full post to recap I simply had to mention Haunted Mansion Holiday in this November Loves post.  You guys!  The old Haunted Mansion has been decked out in Jack Skellington’s version of the holidays.  And the prints, patterns and colors are freaking amazing!  This was the best photo I could grab while the ride was moving and while I was also snuggling my 5-year-old who had been a little apprehensive to be on the ride in the first place.  If you are local you HAVE to ride this!  And I am going to subtly start coaxing my husband in to letting me decorate our house like this year round…Wish me luck.  See my post on all the rad holiday features at The Disneyland Resort over on Savvy Sassy Moms.

Two Pork Chop Recipes for National Pork Month and a Giveaway!

The giveaway is now closed! 

*Mmmm, pork.  This is a sponsored post from One2One Network and The National Pork Board.  All opinions stated are my own.

natl-pork-board-logo

Mexican style recipeI’m so excited to share two of my favorite pork chops recipes with you guys today!  I love to cook and eat pork chops and I make them at least once a week.  This first recipe for Relleno Style Pork Chops is ridiculous!  It is something that my mom used to make for us growing up that I absolutely loved!  She always made them in an electric frying pan and they would simmer away filling the house with this amazing aroma and I knew that they were going to be moist, cheesey, delicious and soul satisfying.  They don’t photograph all that pretty but trust me, you need to make these for your family.  I think it is one of those perfect fall recipes.

porktober-imageDid you know that October is also known as Porktober?  And to celebrate Costco has weekly deals on specific pork products throughout the month.  When One2One Network reached out to me to help promote this event I jumped at the chance to showcase pork chops and roasts.  Chops are so versatile and this might sound funny to say, can be dressed up or dressed down.  I’m not taking about adding earrings and pumps, I’m just saying you can make these fancy for guests or as comfort food for your family.  The cooking time depends on the thickness of the chops you are using.  I also like to cook with pork roasts which are super easy to  roast or barbecue on indirect heat.  I usually swap cuts of meat pretty interchangeably in recipes, probably because I just don’t know any better, but the recipes I am sharing today work best with the chops.  Roasts tend to fall apart when cooked with moist heat so they wouldn’t hold up with the ingredients and methods I am using.  You can see all kinds of great info on cuts of pork, cooking times and even recipes from the National Pork Board.

Porktober-Special-at-CostcoI love to buy meat at Costco.  The quality of their meat is amazing but you don’t feel like you are paying top dollar for it.  It is the only place I buy my short ribs and after using the pork chops it looks like it is now my go-to pork product location too.  With my family of 4, I only need to pick up one pack of chops and I can get two meals out of it, with a little bit of leftovers even!  For National Pork Month, Costco is offering weekly savings of up to $2.50 per package.  Don’t miss out on these deals!

Deals run from Monday until the following Sunday:

October 7 – 13 : Boneless Pork Chops and Roasts

October 14 – 20 : Boneless Sirloin Tip Roasts (this cut is only available at Costco!)

October 21 – 27 : Whole Boneless Loins

Mexican style pork chops recipeAnd now the recipes!  It is amazing that you only need a few ingredients but you get so much flavor out of them.  Those are my favorite kinds of recipes.

brown-chops-and-saute-onion-and-garlicBrown the chops and remove from the pan.  Add the garlic and onion and saute until softened and browned.

[Read more...]