Roasted chicken is one of those things that, when done well, is insanely good. It doesn’t seem possible to not do roast chicken well, but I’ve had my fair share of recipe flops – flavorful skin but bland meat, skin that’s not crispy enough, a chicken that is cooked through in some parts and not in others. I made a roasted chicken a couple years ago that I love, but that one has since been dethroned by this one. Enter spatchcocked roasted chicken, aka the only roasted chicken I’ll ever make.
This meal is the epitome of what I always imagined Sunday dinners would be like. Those weren’t something I had growing up, but I remember knowing people that did and lusting after what I assumed to be an idyllic meal. The foods I remember most from my teenage years range from Totino’s pizzas and Bagel Bites to those boxed meals that you just add chicken to and bake in one dish. Not exactly Sunday dinner worthy. While we may not ever have those perfect Sunday dinners I longed for when I was younger, I hope that Clara will still be able to look back on her childhood with lots of good memories of us cooking and eating together. And hey, I did make this on a Sunday, so I guess we’re on the right track.
Let’s talk about this chicken. It’s got crispy skin, juicy and flavorful meat, and it cooks in 45 minutes or less. How’s that for a perfect roast chicken? Even better, the potatoes cook while the chicken does (and with chicken fat dripping on them, they’re especially awesome), so you’ve got an instant side dish. Roast some broccoli or toss together a quick salad, and you’re set. One thing to note: don’t skimp on the salt. There’s very little seasoning on the chicken, so make sure to salt it generously. The same goes for freshly ground black pepper. You can do a ton with your leftover chicken – taquitos, chicken pizza, chicken salad, etc. – so this meal will go even further.
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My winter wish came true, and we got a few good snow days in before spring. Sadly, we also got colds. What is it with a cold that makes it linger so long? As usual, I turned to comfort foods to make us feel better, and this soup was one of them. A change of pace from chicken noodle soup, this soup has a creamy base and is filled with wild rice and crisp bacon.
Soups have been showing up pretty regularly on our weekly menus this winter. They’re hearty, warm and comforting – everything I could want in a winter meal. This one was insanely good, but I will admit to not being totally focused on enjoying it the first night we had it. Clara has been in an independent phase for a while now, and that often translates into her not wanting help with eating. This usually isn’t a problem, but she sometimes struggles with using utensils. It’s hard to know how much of that is just normal development and how much is a result of her thumb hypoplasia. We usually just tell her to use her fingers, which she does quite well, but obviously that doesn’t work with some foods.
Maybe it’s because her birthday is coming up, or maybe it’s because I have so many friends that have had babies recently, but everything we experienced with her in the first several months of her life has been at the forefront of my mind lately. It hits me at different times – in this case, it was watching her eat this soup. Most days, I don’t even think about her thumb hypoplasia because it’s just a part of who she is. For some reason, though, I was already thinking about it before we even sat down for dinner that night. She was actually doing a pretty good job, considering this soup is on the thinner side, but I don’t think she was going as fast as she would’ve liked, and that frustrated her. It must be hard being a toddler – stuck somewhere in between wanting to be independent and still needing Mommy and Daddy’s help.
Parenting is a tough world to navigate, and I imagine Clara feels the same way about toddlerhood. It’s nice to have things we can count on, and good food is certainly one of them. If I find myself feeling too distracted or emotional, making a meal centers me. The sizzle of the bacon, the smell of melted butter and vegetables, the way flour and cream make this soup velvety smooth. I cook so we can eat, obviously, but sometimes cooking and eating are about so much more than nourishing our bodies; they also nourish our minds and our hearts.
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I love breakfast foods. Sweet, savory, doesn’t matter. I like pretty much all of it. Since Clara is ready to eat the moment we get downstairs every morning, our breakfasts are usually on the quick and easy side. On mornings we want to cook something that takes more than a few minutes, Clara usually has a piece of fruit to eat while we make breakfast.
Because I don’t want a hangry toddler, I like having something homemade in the freezer that I can simply pop in the oven each morning. Enter these breakfast taquitos. They’re a nice change from our typical breakfast, and they bake quickly enough that Clara is happy reading a few books with me before we eat. I made this batch on a Sunday night and ended up with several days worth of breakfasts for us.
This recipe is highly adaptable, so you can create a filling combination that sounds good to you. I knew I wanted a vegetarian version, so I swapped black beans in for the bacon called for in the original recipe. Clara loves black beans (it sounds like “bubble” when she says black bean, which is seriously adorable), so including them was a no-brainer for me. Really, any type of meat/bean + cheese combination could work here.
If you’re worried about freezing and then cooking the taquitos, don’t be. The eggs are slightly undercooked so that they finish cooking in the oven. This leaves them perfectly fluffy and delicious. We didn’t notice any change in quality cooking them straight from frozen. If you’re looking to change up your breakfast routine, this is a great recipe to do just that. These certainly beat my typical weekday morning breakfast of yogurt, and they actually keep me full until lunch time.
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Remember that time we started a half bath renovation toward the end of our kitchen renovation? Fun times. Needless to say, dinners around here have been on the quick and easy side. Our work starts as soon as Clara is asleep, so that means we try to make dinners that require little prep and little cleanup so that we can clean the kitchen and get to work on whatever project we’re hoping to finish that night. Honestly, there have been nights where we totally ignore the dishes and get straight to renovating.
Having simple dinners on our menu plan means that we aren’t tempted to get takeout, though it still happens on occasion. We had Chipotle a few nights ago, when we were scurrying to finish the bathroom before the weekend ended (it didn’t happen, but we’re almost there). With a better idea of what we needed to do this week, I was able to plan our menu around the projects we have going on.
This pasta fits the quick and easy bill, but it’s also something I would eat even if we weren’t in the middle of trying to renovate our entire downstairs before Clara’s birthday party in three weeks. Even though pasta is one of my favorite foods, a lot of the recipes I love are filled with heavy ingredients. That’s fine sometimes; everyone needs comfort food now and then, but it’s not something I want us to be eating on a regular basis. This pasta, though, is filled with avocado, Greek yogurt and lots of spinach. Topped with roasted tomatoes, it makes a healthy and delicious dinner, just the thing we need to fuel our late-night renovation projects.
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A few days ago, we decided to start a half-bathroom renovation. No, our kitchen is not done. We have a few more things to finish before I can officially call it done, and part of that involves us waiting for the pendant kit for our DIY light fixture to come in. So, in the meantime, we decided to completely gut our downstairs bathroom and redo it.
After having serious déjà vu while ripping up flooring, finding water damage (which we were somewhat expecting) and pulling up staples, all I wanted was a big bowl of comfort food. Instead, we had stovetop popcorn and whiskey sours. Even this food blogger doesn’t feel like cooking sometimes.
Had we planned better, I would’ve saved some of this soup from last week so that we could’ve enjoyed it for dinner during the bathroom renovation. If I’m being realistic, though, it would have been hard to save because I wanted to eat the leftovers for lunch every single day (and I did).
This soup is our current favorite winter meal. I find this time of year uninspiring in the food department, and I crave the kind of freshness that’s hard to come by in February. Thankfully, this soup has a healthy serving of greens, which quenches my desire for something super fresh. It’s hearty, comforting and just the thing we need to get through another
renovation cold weather snap.
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