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!

Easy Party Hat Headband Tutorial

easy party hat headbandsI love a good party hat, don’t you?  But I thought they could also be cute when done as headbands.  These could be made before a party, ready for the guests, or done as an activity at the party.  And I love the versatility that fabric gives you in terms of look and texture but you could easily do these with paper.  The next question is, which one do you want to put on your noggin?

easy party hat headbandsAll of the supplies were found at my local craft supply store that carries fabric (Jo-Ann).  If you haven’t worked with Phoomph yet, you HAVE to!  I freaking love it!  (see it in other tutorials here {the HBD sign} and here).  It really gives body to fabric making it work in all kinds of new ways.  Genius.  So pick up your favorite fabric combos, some elastic and Phoomph, then grab your scissors and glue gun and you are all set.

using phoomph with fabricPhoomph is sticky on both sides.  All you have to do is peel the backing off and it is ready to go.

gold and blue batik fabricSmooth on whatever fabrics you want for your party hats then cut off the excess material.  Since the hats rise a bit over the crown of the head, I did a different fabric on the back side as well.  You could easily get 8 hats out of one sheet of Phoomph.

draw on party hat shapeNext you get your talented friend to draw the hat shape son free hand.  If you are like me and you can’t draw to save your life (no, quite literally, if your life ever depended on me winning a game of Pictionary – well, it was nice knowing you, friend) then just find a template online that you can trace.

different party hat shapesAnd just about any shape would work.  I kind of have a thing for crowns.  That is why there are so many of that kind.  But I also really love the simplicity of the triangular party hat shape.  The choice is yours.  You can get with this, or you can get with that (old school rap reference, anyone?…)

adhere party hat to head bandYou make the headband part by hot glueing the elastic ends together, totally easy.  Except for that because of the open weave elastic the hot glue came oozing out all over my fingers.  Whoops.  And ouch.  Since that part looks messy, that is where you will want to glue the crown or party hat shape.

leopard print stripes and goldAnd there you have it.  I probably should have shot these hats in more of a party situation.  But what says party time better than not wearing a shirt?  And if you have children, or have ever tried to take a picture of children when they don’t want to then you know what a feat getting this shot of three little boys together was.  I even decided to let my son’s hideous DJ tank top slide.  Pick your battles, people.

leaopard-crown-head-bandCute, right?

n-jumpingThese hats totally make your fly.  (*Disclaimer:  These hats don’t really make you fly).

 

black-and-white-striped-crownLook at that wonky front tooth!  He would absolutely not let us touch it, even though it was pointing straight out!

party-hat-headband-with-rhinestoneSo, in conclusion, you should totally make these easy Party Had Headbands.  The head’s of your party guests will thank you.

Easy Microwave Applesauce

Microwave Applesauce RecipeThis is one of my favorite recipes.  Ever.  It is so easy and fresh and have I mentioned easy?  I make extra of this Easy Microwave Applesauce so that I have more of it all to myself.  The green apples make it a smidge more tart than normal applesauce which I love.  I usually make it for Christmas dinner.  Well, I make it a day or two ahead so that I don’t have to do anything on Christmas day.  That is reserved for lounging, eating yummy foods and spending time with the family.  I came across a recipe in Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food magazine (which I can’t find online to link to) years ago and have been making it ever since.

ingredients for applesauce recipeI know that Martha got some bloggers in an uproar recently.  I was not one of them.  I don’t totally disagree with some of the things she said.  She is absolutely correct that I don’t test my recipes until within an inch of their life.  If I had a million dollars, a test kitchen and support staff, then yes, I would test my recipes more.  But she is wrong that I am not an expert.  I am an expert in anything I do in my home.  Because that is where I am free to make whatever I do completely my own and put my spin on it.  I choose to share some of those things with my readers to give them inspiration.  If they make one of the recipes that I share and then make their own changes to it, that is amazing.  There is always room for improvement.  Which is why I made Martha’s recipe better.  OH SNAP!

lego-break-while-cookingSo once you have all your ingredients out and are just about to really get going, you are going to need to stop and listen to a Lego set review.  My oldest creates his own themed sets from the Legos he already has.  And then, like his fave, The Brick Show, he goes on.  And on.  And on about the Legos.  This is where you can feel free to make some changes.  Maybe you don’t have someone to requesting your attention and that is ok.  These are the types of things that happen in my “test kitchen.”

peel-and-chop-applesPeel and chop the apples.  Don’t forget to cut two extra apples for your kids.  If you don’t they will take the ones that are meant for your recipe whenever you turn your back.  I’m sure Alexis did the same thing.

add-spices-and-lemonHere is where I go rogue on Martha’s recipe.  I add a bunch of different spices that I love.  Like ginger, and cloves.  I’m sure Martha is clutching her pearls at the mere suggestion.

mash-applesOnce you mix everything together, you cover the dish and put it in the microwave.  About halfway through you mush the apples with a fork.  I like to leave it really chunky though, but this is totally personal preference.

cinnamon-apple-sauceAnd then you eat it.  It is yummy warm but I think it is even better cold.  I know sometimes tone doesn’t transfer well over this here internet and I want to make sure that you all know how much I respect Martha.  She has built an empire, amassing the most talented people under one company.  And you have to respect someone who is comfortable in her cold, sometimes harsh, persona.  She makes no apologies for being who she is.  And while not everyone will like her, and she may make lots of people angry, she is always herself.  As we all should be.

Easy Microwave Applesauce

Ingredients

  • Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe
  • 6 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into roughly 1/2" chunks
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/16 tsp clove (use more if you like it, but it is a really strong flavor)
  • coarse salt

Instructions

  1. In a 2-quart microwave safe dish with a lid, combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, spices and salt
  2. Cover and microwave on high until very tender, 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through
  3. Mash apples with a fork (leave larger chunks for an overall chunkier texture)
  4. Serve warm or cold
  5. Store covered in refrigerator for up to a week.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/easy-microwave-applesauce/

 

Guest Post : Reusable Plastic Garland for Dry Erase Markers

reusable diy plastic garlandDid you see my guest post on You Are my Fave with a fun DIY garland.  It is plastic, reusable and you can use a dry erase marker on it to write whatever message you want.  Go see!!  This is one of my favorites!  Super versatile.

DIY Birthday Pennant Banner on YAMF

birthday pennant banner DIY

My latest DIY tutorial, DIY Pennant Banner, is up on You Are My Fave.  Go see!

I am so grateful that Melanie lets me share my crafts over on her site.  She’s the bee’s knees.  I heart her.