Occasionally I come across a cooking tip that’s too awesome not to share.

Garlic Chicken RW

Roasting a small bird for dinner?

Don’t want to pull out the big roasting pan and rack?

Love roasted garlic?

Love roasted garlic so much you could eat it by the spoonful?

Then this tip is for you!

Instead of propping your bird up on a fancy schmancy rack that you’d just have to wash later anyway, prop your bird up on a few heads of garlic with the tops chopped off.  It’ll get your bird up off the bottom of the pan for more even cooking, provide aromatics to help flavor your bird and BONUS you’ll have heads of roasted garlic for dinner or just for snacking.  It’s genius.  Pure genius.

For this bird I used four heads of garlic.  I stuffed the cavity with fresh basil from the garden plus a cut orange (I was out of lemons).  I brushed the bird with melted butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Roasted for an hour at 375 degrees, then flipped the bird over and doused with more butter and seasoning.  Baked for another hour.

So simple and so tasty. From this one quick and easy recipe I got ALL of the following:

1) A four pound chicken to eat for dinner

2) The most delicious butter sauce for drizzling or making into gravy

3) Roasted garlic

4) A chicken carcass for stock made in the crockpot

So go forth and roast some chicken and garlic my internet friends, roast away.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What are your favorite roasted chicken seasonings?

The Husband integrated the babes with the rest of the flock.  Despite a little bullying by Mistress Billington (the bully-ee becomes the bully-er) and the hens knocking over the chicks food and water dishes repeatedly, it’s gone well.

I’m still working on my baby chick photography skills (they won’t stop moving and say cheese no matter how much I plead) but so far here’s what I’ve got.

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– Joanna

Question of the Day:  There’s been a lot of chicken talk around these parts lately.  In the interest of variety how ’bout we mix it up?  You pick.  What would you like to see next week?  Here are your options:

1) Family trip to the Aquarium

2) Marshmallow Peeps in cookies

3) A quick tip for under-ripe Avocados

4) Garlic Festival

5) Gluten Free Coconut Granola Banana Bread

6) Glazed Sour Cream Puffs

The new thing in the food blog world is over sharing weekly meal plans.  It takes the every popular WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) and expands it into WIAFD (What I Ate For Dinner) or WIAFDAWLAIYC (What I Ate For Dinner All Week Long As If You Care).

I have to confess . . . I care.  I like reading these posts.  Cooking dinner has become such a chore lately and I find myself preparing the same meals over and over as well as stressing all day over what I’m going to make and then tossing stuff into the oven last minute.

Trying to get dinner on the table with Sweetey Petey running around the house like a mad banshee was hard enough . . . with a new baby in the mix it’ll be nearly impossible without a plan.

So I made a plan.

Excel

I created an excel spreadsheet with spaces for meal plans, suggestions for daily protein and lists of the healthiest fruits and veggies that I think we should be eating on a regular basis.  It gives me the option of listing seven meals and crossing off food as we eat it.  As I get rolling with this system hopefully I can flip back through previous weeks to see that we haven’t eaten broccoli in a while or have been seriously carrot deficient or have eaten way too much spaghetti squash and not enough butternut.  Can one eat too much spaghetti squash???  I’m not sure they can, but you get the idea.

I’m also using this as a way to test out some of the cookbooks in my massive collection.  Most weeks I will just add a few new recipes so as not to overwhelm myself and the best recipes will be added to our family recipe binder.

This past week I tested out The Working Stiff Cookbook.

Woring Stiff Cookbook

I picked this up on clearance at a used book store many many moons ago . . . you know, back when I worked.  Out of the house that is because I clearly still work I just no longer get paid for it.

So here’s my week worth of dinners, in no particular order.  Food in purple and bold are recipes from the cookbook.

Meal 1: spaghetti (squash) with portobellos, prosciutto and cream with pan fried tilapia

Spag Squash RW

Tilapia RW

Meal 2: chicken breasts with artichokes and mushrooms over gluten free orzo pasta with steamed carrots and no sugar added apricot jelly 

Chx Artichokes RW

Meal 3: frittata rustica with Paleo coconut flour “cornbread” and roasted asparagus.

Frittata RW

Meal 4: butternut squash soup with salad topped with hard boiled egg, blackberries, parmesan cheese and leftover sliced chicken breast

Soup and salad RW

Meal 5: Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with leftover butternut squash soup

Sammy and Soup RW

Meal 6: Pulled pork and coleslaw (good friends made this meal and dropped it off to us)

Pig Title RW

Meal 7: burgers on gluten free bagels with homemade guac and GMO free corn chips and leftover steamed carrots with no sugar added jelly

Hamburger

There was supposed to be a salmon recipe from the cookbook as well, but I got lazy and bumped it for the easy grilled sandwich and leftover soup night.  I’ve bumped the salmon recipe to another week instead.

So . . .  what did I think of this book so far?

I give it a C+ and here’s why.

The spaghetti with cream sauce reminded me of a favorite dish my mom used to make when I was a kid.  So I will probably make mom’s dish instead of this one.  It’s simple yet decadent, although with heavy whipping cream as a main ingredient I wouldn’t suggest you make this dish every week.

The chicken breast was good . . . but I was not a fan of the artichokes.  I think it was the white wine sauce.  And the artichokes.  I don’t think I like artichokes, which stinks because they are good for you – iron rich and help ease digestion.  I have a recipe for artichoke meatloaf that I do really enjoy so for now I think I’ll stick with that to get my artichokes in.

The frittata was an excellent way to use up the eggs we’ve amassed since all seven of our chickens are now laying.  And breakfast for dinner (brinner) is always a win in my book.  This recipe is easily customizable with different veggies and cheeses as well.  But (yes, there’s a but) while it was good I recently made some omelet muffins that are a similar concept but were better.

The butternut squash soup was delightful and much easier to make than I would have thought.  The spices (ginger, coriander, cinnamon and clove) lent a sweet side to this dish which I enjoyed but I do think the soup could have used another layer.  Perhaps replacing some of the water with homemade chicken stock and maybe adding in an herb.  I think sage would be nice here.  Once I add a few things I think I’ll add this soup to our recipe binder.

My two complaints are one, while the recipes were good they were maybe a smidge “meh” and two, the recipes take longer than the book claims, especially those that need to be reduced like the artichoke and mushroom sauce (90 seconds my arse) and the soup.

We’ll see how the salmon recipe fares and for now I think the book will stay in my collection (I’ll revisit it again someday.)  There’s an interesting recipe for steak cooked in a paper bag I’m curious to try.

– Joanna

Question of the Day: How do you feel about artichokes?  Yay?  Nay?  Meh?  Do you like reading these sorts of posts?  It took too long to put together for me to make this a weekly thing right now but it was fun and I may do it again in the future.

Goats are awesome.

Scenes from a fair.

The Richard Simmons of sheep.  You can thank The Husband for that witticism.

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The poodle of sheep?  I dunno, he kinda looks like a poodle to me.

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From the front anyway.

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Midwestern Bite Foodie Pen Pals Soda Sauce Titled RW

Hello internet friends!

If you’re new here, let me fill you in on a not-so-secret secret,  The last day of the month on Midwestern Bite pretty much always means Foodie Pen Pals and the Chopped Challenge.  It’s my blogging claim to fame.  I love it.  My readers love it (at least Aly seems to like it anyway.)  The Husband who gets to eat what I concoct loves it.  He was especially fond of the brownie challenge.  The ice cream challenge ranked pretty high on his list too (even despite the giant plastic rat I posed it with.)  Oh, and Big Balls . . . cause it was funny and he got to pose for some hilarious pictures.  Wait.  No.  The really funny pictures of him, blindfolded, were in the caramel apple butter challenge.

I’ve clearly been doing this awhile.  In fact, you could even say I’m an expert.  The fact I’m the only one who does the Chopped Challenge at all is irrelevant to my expert status.

Here’s the Haps.  The Lean Green Bean organizes a cool program called Foodie Pen Pals.  You sign up and get matched with two other pen pals, one who you sends you a fifteen dollar foodie box… and one that will receive a foodie box you send.  That way you meet two new foodie friends per month.  My twist since I started the program over a year ago has been to take the entire box of random goodies I receive and create a recipe from it.

Yes, the entire box.

Yes, last month I totally combined dried mushrooms, chocolate, mint and coconut.  And it was totally tasty.

This month’s Chopped Challenge is actually from a box I received late a few months back.  I sorta forgot to sign up for the program in May.  Whooops.  I won’t make that mistake in June.  Luckily I had the late box from February to fall back on so I didn’t disappoint you all today.

Here’s what I received:

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Hey-O.  It’s Foodie Pen Pals reveal day where I show you all what masterpiece I created with my entire FPP box.

After reading through Foodie Pen Pals reveal posts last month I realized everybody says “It’s that time again.”  So I vow never to say that.  Or type it.  Or even think it.

Actually, I kinda wish it wasn’t that time again.  Time always always always gets away from me and while I have my posts all planned out in my head weeks in advance, sometimes I don’t execute them till the last second.  Take this month.  I knew exactly what I wanted to make using the contents of my FPP box, but waited till Thursday morning at 5:00 a.m. to do it.  That’s the morning before reveal day. This little fact will be important later.

My box this month came from Jessica, a fellow Midwesterner!!!!  Thanks Jessica, you are awesome and I was SO excited when I opened it.  I’ve loved all my FPP boxes but this one was particularly great.

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It’s Monday.  Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day,

Did you know my first thought for this blog would be that all post titles be lyrics?

Of course they would by mostly Cake lyrics.  Maybe some Johnny Cash.  Definitely some Jim Croce.  The Mama’s and the Papa’s never crossed my mind though.

Did you know that, in the blog world, there is such a thing as WIAW or What I Ate Wednesday?  A bunch of bloggers chronicle their every bite for an entire day and post it for the voyeur in all of us.  Most of them start with oatmeal.  We’ll discuss that another day.  The problem with WIAW is that it’s misleading.  What I Ate Wednesday is actually What I Ate Tuesday that I’m Posting on Wednesday or WIATTIPOW.  I guess that’s not quite as catchy.

Today I give you snippets of my weekend.  That’s right, Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day.

 

A failed recipe attempt.  I’ve warned you all, I’m not a chef.

Brussels Sprouts growing up.  Yay?

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GentlemanFarmerLogoSmaller

If you’ve taken time to read a little About Jo, you probably know she isn’t a chef, but she cooks.  Well, if that statement is our accepted measuring stick… I’m not a chef.  I’m not a sous chef.  I’m not even the guy they only trust with the pepper grinder.  I try to cook things that won’t make my family ill. Keep reading to see something that somehow came out really well.

Curry Chicken Plated

My lack of culinary skill is not really my fault.  Now that I think about it, it’s easy to see where blame should be placed.  Joanna is so incredible at whipping together delicious meals out of anything and everything that happens to be in our pantry, we’re all better off if I play babysitter and stay out of her way.  Yes, as I physically type these words, it’s all becoming clearer and clearer.  My hot-dog-grillin’, campbell-soup-warming skills have nothing to do with laziness or my sense of entitlement to incredible multi-course feasts magically appearing before me at least twice a day.  No Sir!  It’s her fault!

Well, it’s time I throw off Joanna’s repressive yoke that’s been holding me down all these years and spread my wings to mature into the beautiful butterfly gourmet I know is inside.

Here’s how I’m going to make it happen: Cast Iron

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11. April 2012 · 6 comments · Categories: Recipe · Tags: , ,

It occurred to me last night that I have mentioned this Greek Chicken Salad twice on the blog and my “recipe” for it is pretty much just a list of ingredients I dumped into a bowl without measuring. On top of that, I only snapped a few pictures (it was the night I mowed the yard for the first time and I was busy and hungry – hey, mowing works up an appetite.) Bad blogger, bad. In my humble, I have only been blogging for a week and a half now opinion, salads are pretty subjective. You take some ingredients you like, you dump them in a bowl and you mix them up.

I picked the Greek theme because the Husband has been complaining a bit about being bored with his Paleo diet. He doesn’t cook much so unless I prepare food, his eats are pretty simple. Trying to plan meals we will both eat is getting easier though. His Paleo diet allows for more fat and cholesterol than I am comfortable with, so I try to make healthy dinners for us both. I think this recipe fits the bill.

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