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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Best Chicken Ever

I hope you had a great Saturday!

I'm still working on getting ready for our game night, but in the meantime, I needed to make lunch for a family we know.  I made the Best Chicken Ever, green beans, and this cake that I shared previously. 

Even if you are not the best cook ever, like my grandmother, it is nice if you have at least one meal that you know you can cook for guests and it will be fantastic.  These are some of my go to recipes.  My husband says these are the best green beans ever.  I got the recipe from Publix Aprons Simple Meals, and so you can easily get it here, on their website.  The only things I do differently are to make a much larger batch (as in, the recipe calls for 12 oz. of green beans and my husband and I can easily eat a pound by ourselves, as these are so good) and I add 2-3 times as much bacon as the recipe calls for--doesn't bacon make everything better?

Now for the chicken. 

I learned the real secret of this chicken about seven years ago from my fantastic friend, Holly.  She has a similar recipe that she made once while I was visiting.  The secret to good chicken (and many other things) is patience.  It really doesn't matter if you have the freshest herbs, or the best oil, or expensive chicken.  To be really good, you need to cook it on a very low temperature for a very looooonnnnnnggggg time.  I'm serious.  I cook mine for 11-12 hours at 200 degrees.  It should also be covered.  I happen to have a stoneware casserole dish and the rectangular lid/bowl from Pampered Chef that I use.  (I bought them years ago when I wasn't married and had money.)  You could use a much cheaper version of casserole dish and tin foil or something similar.  

To make this chicken, you will need:

1 whole chicken (or 2, or a turkey--it's versatile!)
Olive oil
Pepper (I used a VERY light sprinkling of Chipotle pepper instead of black)
Any herbs you like--I used tons of rosemary, some thyme, oregano, garlic powder, and minced onions this time.  I've also used basil and italian seasoning in the past.

Rinse the chicken and discard the bag of "extras."

Place in your dish (I always put mine in so the legs are on top) and pour olive oil on the chicken.  Use a bit more than a drizzle, but don't douse it in oil.  I try to just leave a thin film of oil on the surface of the chicken.  Then sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs (you really can choose whatever you like).  I use enough herbs to cover the top of the chicken.  I think of it as a crust for the chicken.

Then, just put it in the oven on a low heat (like 200 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 8 hours.  To get a nicely browned skin, take the lid off and increase the temperature (try 300) for the last 30 minutes to an hour of cooking.  

Every time I have served this, my guests loved it.  A few things I have learned, though, are these--if you cook two chickens at once, which is twice as much yumminess, it makes a ton of juice, and you want to be careful of overflowing your dish.  Also, it is best to serve the bird in the dish you cooked it in, because as soon as you touch it with a fork, it will fall to pieces.  No one has ever complained about the presentation.  They are too busy asking for seconds ;)

I hope you'll try this chicken.  It is worth the effort.  If you do try it, leave a comment and tell me how it went!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It's Been Too Long...

Hello out there!

I have missed working on this blog, but so much has happened in the past year, I just couldn't keep up with it.  I don't know if I can now, but I'd like to try.

In the past year, I got a new full-time position at work and Tommy and I welcomed a fantastic new addition to our family.  He is 9 weeks old now, and is recovering from the flu.  I am typing this as he sleeps peacefully on my chest.  If I put him down, he will wake up.  He has learned to go to sleep in his cradle or crib by himself, but I'm just not ready to put him down yet.

I felt pretty awful for most of the pregnancy (pretty much from day 1).  I didn't do much of anything creative for the entire time.  I did make my husband an iPad sleeve, and I creatively wrapped a bridal shower gift for my sister, but I didn't have the energy to even write about that.  Perhaps another time.  Most of the time, we were lucky to get dinner made before it was time to go to bed.  After the baby--well, recovery and baby care is quite a time-eater.  I still don't have the baby's room done, but he doesn't know that.  He just knows that I'm his mommy and I love him.  I hope to be able to share cool creative stuff that I do for him with you, but I'm also working on getting that worked out.

For today, this is what I have to offer.

I made several Christmas gifts using ideas from Pinterest (Looking at Pinterest requires little or no effort. Actually doing the things you pin does.  I haven't made too much progress on that.)  The only way I got those gifts done was to have my sister come over (on Christmas Eve, no less) and hold the baby.  I would work on the presents while he slept in her arms, and she would work on them while I fed him and got him back to sleep.  Actually, I just finished two more gifts yesterday (I know, it's late), and I have two more to make.  I want to show you what I did, but that will have to wait a bit longer.

I will tell you about this cool site I found while reading a message board.  It's  I used it to find out what adhesive to use for one of my projects.  You just pick the things you want to adhere from pull-down menus, and it recommends a product.  I chose fabric to metal and it recommended 3M 77.  I found it at Walmart, and I love it.  I told my husband that it was so fun I wanted to buy more stuff to glue.

So check out, and maybe some 3M 77 (but mind the fumes!)

Also, as I have been cleaning, and spending a lot of time at home with the baby, I realized that I wanted to have people over, but I needed to plan simple things, like hot chocolate parties (I think I got that from Randi over at Dukes and Duchesses.  She's always having people for simple parties.)  So I have decided to host a game night when everyone is flu-free around here.

I'm going to invite people for games, and ask them to bring an appetizer to share.  We'll provide the games and sundae bar.  Once the plans are set, I'll share it with you--to get your creativity going.

You don't have to be fancy, just do something!