Thursday, March 24, 2011

My favorite way to cook vegetables.

This year I learned the most AWESOME trick to cooking vegetables from my friend Holly. She enlightened me to roasted cauliflower and then I suddenly heard buzz everywhere about roasting vegetables. Since my family loves roasted cauliflower, I've tried roasting TONS of other vegetables, all with great success.

Favorites I've roasted:
butternut squash (for soup)

The formula is easy and consistent. Toss your chosen vegetable (cut into bite-sized pieces) in olive oil with a little salt and pepper and pop in a 400-425 degree oven on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan for 20ish minutes. Turn the veggies halfway through. And then? EAT.

The easiest way to cook chicken ever in history.

You won't be surprised to hear that I use Antonio Banderas, aka my beloved Crock Pot, to cook chicken. This method is an easy, cheap way to cook up chicken for many uses! If you want a "roasted" or "rotisserie" chicken this is NOT the method to use, but if you need some chicken for chili, chicken salad, etc. this is PERFECT!

Step 1: Get a whole chicken. The chicken in the photo above is a fryer, but I'm pretty sure this would also work with a larger chicken (a roaster, etc.).

Step 2: Rinse the chicken inside and out and discard all the extra included goodies (the, uh, innards that are in the cavity YUCK).

Step 3: Spray your crock with cooking spray.

Step 4: Plop the entire chicken in and add a little salt and pepper if you want.

Step 5: Put the top on the Crock Pot.

Step 6: Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Step 7: Remove the chicken, let it cool if you have time, and pick the meat off the bones. You should be able to get both breast portions off whole because the thing is just moist, perfectly cooked, and falling apart. Discard the bones.  Eat the meat/use it in your recipe that calls for cooked chicken.


I have a lot of ideas about variations you can do on this recipe! You could probably add a cut up fresh lemon or an onion or some fresh rosemary/herbs to the pot if you want to experiment with flavors. You could also add a cup or two of chicken broth or water if you want to use the strained juices later as the base for a soup or as broth or if you're nervous about cooking the chicken without anything else in the pot. I assure you, however, that by the time the chicken is done that there is PLENTY of liquid. The crock pot seals in the juices from the chicken and doesn't let them out as it cooks.

Verdict? YUM.

(I got this idea from an old friend. Hi Lisa!! Thanks for the tip!)

I'm a dork for sporks.

I mentioned to a friend recently that I thought the Spork is one of the triumphs of human ingenuity and admitted that I often grab a few spares whenever I'm (very rarely anymore) at Taco Bell. About a week later, these arrived (it was actually super awesome ... he put them in the bottom of a cereal box for us as "the prize"!).

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Titanium Spork!

No more Taco Bell runs required! I guess I'll have to find another excuse...