roasted

Roasted Ranch Chicken

So I am a New York girl, born and raised, and where I am from Ranch dressing was not really a thing. When I was 18 this New York girl went off to college in a new land called Pennsylvania where the bagels were rolls with holes in them and the pizza, oh the pizza, it was so bad you had to drench it in ranch dressing. I will never forget the first time I saw people putting ranch on pizza, I was floored, I was disgusted! But then I tasted the pizza and quickly found myself reaching for the bottle of the tangy creamy stuff just to mask the taste of the overly sweet, poorly spiced tomato sauce. To make a long story short, after years of consuming ranch dressing in college I began to love the stuff and according to Hidden Valley the rest of America is obsessed with it too. Here is a simple chicken recipe that utilizes dry ranch seasoning which is cheap and believe it or not, super flavorful! I never thought I would be cooking with that stuff, its a little bit of an insult to my culinary degree but I won't tell if you don't tell ;) 


Ingredients-

Preheat the oven to 400F.

1 Large oven roaster chicken (about 5-6lbs) (take out the pack of gizzards inside the rear cavity and rinse off the chicken with cold water)

1 Large Ranch Seasoning Packet (I used Lipton brand) It may be by the soups in a box

1 Stick of Unsalted Butter Softened Slightly

2 Medium Size Carrots Peeled and cut into 2 inch long pieces

2 shallots cut in quarters

2 Large Stalks of Celery

Salt and Pepper

Wondra Flour (very fine flour for the gravy)

Steps-

Place the chicken with the breast up on a roasting pan. Make sure it is dry and if not pat it down with paper towels. 

Stir the entire ranch seasoning packet into a bowl with the softened butter and mix until well combined. 

Stuff the cavity of the chicken with a few pieces of carrot, celery and shallot and then place the remaining mirepoix around the chicken on the roasting pan.

Loosen the skin of the chicken with your hands gently, being careful not to tear it. Then take the seasoned butter and rub it under the skin of the chicken generously. Make sure you get the thigh area and as close to the legs as you can. Take some of the butter and rub it on the outside of the skin as well, this will give it color and help it to crisp up. Sprinkle the skin with a little salt and ground pepper, not too much salt though as the ranch seasoning has a lot of salt. 

Place the chicken in the oven and cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear and the chicken reaches 165F in the thickest part of the meat. Make sure to take the temperature of the thigh as well since the dark meat usually takes longer to cook. 

Take the chicken and place it on a cutting board and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan in a pot and as the grease settles to the top, skim the oil off and discard, leaving you with just the juice of the chicken. 

Place the drippings back on the stove in a small pot, add a tablespoon of Wondra flour at a time and whisk quickly. Cook down and add more flour until you reach your desired thickness for the gravy.

Cut up the chicken and serve with the roasted veggies from the pan and the gravy. 



Butternut Squash- Two Meals 1 Ingredient

I am a woman with a very demanding full time job and a big appetite.  I love a good home cooked meal as much as the rest of you, but we all know that time is of the essence during the work week. Stressful business meetings, long commutes, squeezing in time at the gym and keeping up with emails seems to be the weekly routine for most of us living in Metropolitan cities, but I can show you how you can prep one simple ingredient at the beginning of the week, maybe Sunday evening, and have several completely different tasting meals all week long. 

1. Roasted Butternut Squash-

  1. 1 Large Butternut Squash (peeled, seeds scooped out and cut into 1 inch cubes) I like to but the pre-cut squash in the produce fridge to save some time!
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Fresh Sage (About 3-4 Leaves)- Chiffonade (finely chopped)
  4. 3 Small Shallots Chopped
  5. Salt & Pepper

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. In a roasting pan toss together the squash, sage, salt and pepper to taste and the shallots.  
  3. Drizzle on Olive Oil just to coat each piece of squash with a thin layer of oil.
  4. Roast in the oven for roughly 25-35 minutes tossing them mid way through the cooking process for more even cooking.  They are done when they are slightly golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside.  You want to be able to prick them with a fork easily.
  5. I like to eat the squash in a kale salad with a simple vinaigrette, dried cranberries or cherries, and chopped almonds or walnuts. You can also eat it as a side with any protein you like!

2. Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients-

  1. Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage (see above)
  2. Chicken Stock
  3. Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt (or Creme Fraisce or Sour Cream)
  4. Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

  1. Blend the Roasted Squash in a blender until creamy.  Add a heaping dollop or two of the Greek Yogurt and some Chicken Stock until you reach your desired texture.  If you like you soup thick put less stock, if you like it a little thinner keep adding stock a little at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat up in a pot or in the microwave and serve! Also good with toasted shelled pumpkin seeds as a garnish.