“Goodbye Summer” salad

When I think salad I don’t necessarily think “entree”. That’s not true thought, is it. Many restaurants serve salads as entrees and done right, salads can be filling and satisfying. For me, the most important part of a salad is the PROTEIN. I am biased, because I cannot go one day (or one dinner) without protein, be it chicken, beef or fish. It’s a must for me, as simple as that. My whole family is like that. We are meat eaters. So when I found this recipe I was delighted.

Don’t get me wrong, I love eating salads for lunch. But I always put either chicken breast, tuna or eggs in it. It’s just not satisfying to me without it.

This is really a very simple recipe. Minimal cooking (if you go the rotisserie chicken route that I do everytime), just some chopping and mixing.

Chicken Salad

1 rotisserie chicken

1 large cucumber

1 green or red bell pepper

1 can of corn

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cup greek yogurt

3 green onions (scallions)

Dill (handful)

salt, pepper

Chop everything and toss in greek yogurt and mayo.

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Mix. Cover and refrigerate. That’s it. No fuss, no cooking. Easy and delicious.

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The Beauty of Roast Chicken

There is nothing more satisfying than roast chicken, cooked just right. It’s both a simple and a complex dish. Simplicity in it is that it doesn’t require over the top ingredients or techniques to prepare. But the beauty of this dish is in the little details, which give it complex and delicious flavors. The truth is that there are about dozens (if not more) ways to make this dish. You can use minimal number of ingredients or go crazy and bring out the Ina Garten in you (I love Ina).

That’s the beauty of this dish, it’s totally up to your taste buds and the flavoring you prefer. I think that’s a pretty awesome way to cook. And I also think that if anyone is trying to “learn” how to cook, they absolutely must perfect Roast Chicken first. If you can let your imagination run wild and succeed with this dish, you can pretty much take on any recipe (feel free to correct me).

A word of advise for this recipe, or any chicken-oven related recipe: Be Patient. That’s right. If you take it out too soon, even if the bird looks like it’s roasted to perfection and the coloring is just right, you are running the risk of it still being under-cooked. But at the same time, you have to watch for it not to dry out. And that is where stuffing the chicken with fruits and/or vegetables helps. The juices that will run from these, will keep the bird moist, and add amazing flavor to it.

To ensure the golden crust, you have to rub something all over the bird. What I’ve always used, without a fail, is a combination of whole milk plain yogurt,good ol’ mayo and/or melted butter. That’s right. That’s what my grandmother used, and that’s what I’ve been using for as long as I’ve been cooking. For this particular recipe, I used butter and yogurt, It doesn’t only add great color to the bird, it also makes the skin crunchy and of course adds flavor to the whole thing.

So, in conclusion, to get a great bird you need : imagination and patience. The rest is easy 🙂

Stuffed Rosemarie Roast Chicken

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1 whole chicken

2 melted butter

2 tbs plain whole milk yogurt

½ tsp of salt

½ tsp of pepper

1 large garlic clove, crushed

optional: dried oregano, cilantro, dill any other herbs you’d like

1 medium onion, cut up into quarters

1 orange, cut up into quarters, not peeled

A few branches of fresh Rosemary

 

Preparing the rub:

Combine the melted butter and the yogurt in a medium bowl. Add salt, pepper, crushed garlic and any other dry spices/herbs. Mix well.

Rinse the chicken, remove the giblets, place the chicken on a tray and pat try (I just use paper towels and then toss them right away). Rub the chicken with the butter/yogurt mixture all over. Make sure you get it under the wings, even under the skin a little.

Place the cut up onion and orange into the cavity. Sprinkle some Rosemary leaves over the chicken.  Just a FYI, Rosemary tends to have a strong flavor and becomes even more evident while cooking, so if you don’t like that, skip the Rosemary. It does add  heavenly flavor to this dish though.

That’s pretty much all the prep.

Ready to go

Ready to go

Roasting the Chicken:

Preheat the oven to 400F; place the chicken into an over proof pan, I use a glass one, and place into the oven for about 1-1.5 hours, until the juices run clear. The only way I am able to tell, is I use a meat/poultry thermometer that has a guide as to when the chicken is ready. The internal breast temperature should usually be around 165-170. Again, this depends on your preference of readiness and what kind of oven you have.

Out of the oven

Stuffed with oranges, onions

Stuffed with oranges, onions

I served the chicken with some orzo in tomato sauce and carrots sauteed with honey and olive oil. I also served the onions that were inside the chicken. It was delicious!

Dinner is served

Dinner is served